Giants hire Mike Shula to be offensive coordinator
Mike Shula spent the past five years developing a system to incorporate the fast feet and strong right arm of Cam Newton. For his next task, Shula will work with polished but slow-footed Eli Manning and, most likely, a hot-shot rookie quarterback prospect.
Pat Shurmur has finally found an offensive coordinator to add to his first Giants coaching staff, as on Tuesday he hired Shula, who has an extensive NFL résumé filled with experience on the offensive side of the ball.
Shula, 52, will also serve as the quarterbacks coach for the Giants, so this plugs the two remaining openings on Shurmur’s staff. Shula, the son of Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, was with the Panthers the past seven years, serving as Ron Rivera’s offensive coordinator since 2013. In that role, Mike Shula got to know and work with Dave Gettleman, then the general manager in Charlotte. Gettleman is now the Giants’ general manager and no doubt gave his endorsement. Shula and Shurmur have not previously worked together.
With the Giants, Shula will not be the play-caller on offense, as Shurmur will handle the dual role of head coach and offensive play-caller.
Shula was not Shurmur’s first choice. He wanted to bring in Kevin Stefanski, the Vikings’ quarterbacks coach, but the Vikings refused permission to let Stefanski go. Shurmur also had interest in Duce Staley, the Eagles’ running backs coach, but the Eagles — having already lost offensive coordinator Frank Reich to the Colts and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo to the Vikings — were not prepared to see Staley leave for a division rival. It is believed the Giants, seeing the handwriting on the wall, did not even seek permission to speak with Staley.
Previously, Shurmur named James Bettcher (Cardinals) as the Giants defensive coordinator and Thomas McGaughey (Panthers) as the special teams coordinator.
Ryan Roeder, an offensive assistant for Tom Coughlin and Ben McAdoo, will be retained and fill that same role for Shurmur.
Shula was the head coach at Alabama, his alma mater, from 2003-06. He has also run the offense for the Buccaneers and coached quarterbacks for the Dolphins, Jaguars and Panthers. Shula was fired by the Panthers following this past season, with Rivera saying, “I came to the conclusion that, going forward, I believed that the thing we need to do was bring a different perspective, different ideas.’’
The Panthers ranked 26th, 16th, 11th, 19th and 19th in total offense in Shula’s five years as offensive coordinator — though they did score an NFL-high 500 points in 2015. He helped mold Newton into a passing and running threat, and Newton won the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 2015, as the Panthers finished 15-1 in the regular season and made it to the Super Bowl. Newton regressed the past two seasons, though.
Shula inherits Manning, the 37-year old franchise quarterback, and Davis Webb, the 2017 third-round pick entering his second NFL season. The Giants, with the No. 2 pick in the April draft, likely will select a quarterback, and if that is the case, Shula will be responsible for the development of the rookie heir apparent.
Shula is the fifth offensive coordinator for Manning, entering his 15th season with the Giants. Shula takes over an offense that took another tumble in 2017, finishing 31st in the league in scoring (15.4 points a game), 30th in third-down efficiency (32.6 percent) and 26th in rushing (96.8 yards per game).
Shula was Alabama’s starting quarterback from 1984-86, playing for former Giants head coach Ray Perkins.