New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur doesn’t yet have the résumé that one-time skipper Tom Coughlin has.
But what Shurmur does have is a vision about how he plans to build the Giants franchise up from its 3-13 ashes that, in many ways, mirrors Coughlin’s old approach.
That approach, which rests heavily on relationship building, is also all about looking, talking and acting like a professional.
“I think what’s important when I talk to the staff, when I talk to our current players is we want to teach our rookies the right way from the beginning,” Shurmur said after the rookies completed a morning walk-through.
“Here’s your iPad, here’s where your locker is, here is where you need to be, here’s how you need to dress, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ work, push in your chair—we want to really train these guys in the New York Giants way, and I think it’s every facet of their life and certainly, what’s most obvious, football.”
Coughlin, when he was here, was a notorious stickler for little details which many of the players at the time famously bristled against. Minute things such as wearing the right socks, arriving five minutes early for meetings, not wearing hats in team meetings, not bringing food into the locker room and cleaning up after themselves were among the many rules Coughlin implemented when he first took over the flailing program after Jim Fassel and the Giants parted ways after the 2003 season.
Shurmur, in many ways, is trying to do the same thing. Some of the practices that became a little too relaxed in the Ben McAdoo era included food in the locker room, playing games like Nerf basketball or cards, styling practice attire and, at times, crude behavioral outbursts.
Winning top honors for having the most professional and most polite team won’t necessarily guarantee the most victories, but it’s a start that Shurmur, who has been known to eat lunch with his players to keep abreast of what’s going on in the locker room, is hoping lays down a solid foundation.
“I think what’s important is to be very professional in every facet of your life we want guys who understand how important it is to have relationships, whether it’s in the building or being coachable,” Shurmur said.
“It speaks so much about the program,” said guard Will Hernandez about the structure and culture Shurmur is looking to build. “When you have attention to detail, a lot of things are going to go really, really smooth.
“I like how their attention to detail and how everyone is doing the same thing and everybody doing things right, I think that’s part of the structure you need to win games, and I’m all about it and I love it.”
Whether Shurmur’s tactics translate into an abundance of victories remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, and that is the Giants new head coach is doing everything possible to ensure that the fresh start he promised everyone when he was hired incorporates a systematic approach toward building a positive culture strong enough to withstand the good times and the bad.
“We want guys who are good teammates and certain guys who love football. So we’re looking for those kind of guys and we have to live our life in our building.”