The Denver Broncos introduced new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur to the media and he shared why he chose Denver and some of his plans for 2020.
It’s amazing how quickly narratives can change in the NFL. It feels like it wasn’t that long ago (because it wasn’t) that Pat Shurmur was once again a coveted head coaching candidate after the masterful work he did in Minnesota with not only Case Keenum, but if you’ll recall, Sam Bradford as well. Just like that, Shurmur has been hired by the New York Giants as head coach, fired from that role, and hired by the Denver Broncos as offensive coordinator.
It’s a brutal league sometimes.
Shurmur was hired by the Broncos to replace first-year offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, who has now been hired by the Philadelphia Eagles as a senior offensive assistant.
Vic Fangio and John Elway have both expressed their pleasure at the idea of having an experienced play caller after one year of Scangarello, who had some brilliant play designs and scripts to open games but really struggled with calling an entire game and calling to the flow of the game.
Fangio has also noted he wants his offense, contrary to what he feels the perception is of defensive-oriented guys, to be aggressive. That’s something Pat Shurmur can certainly bring and will be expected to bring going forward.
Shurmur met the Denver media officially for the first time with his new orange and blue gear on.
What were the main takeaways from Scangarello’s first press conference with the team?
Let’s take a look.
On coaches who have impacted/influenced him
Shurmur opened with an interesting statement about how defensive coaches (such as Fangio) have impacted him through the years. He said working with guys like Nick Saban, Steve Spagnuolo, and Mike Zimmer have influenced how running the football impacts the entire team.
He also stated that he got his start with Andy Reid and that his appreciation for throwing the football and being efficient and explosive in that regard.
Of course, that note excites Broncos fans as Andy Reid’s offense is probably the best one in the NFL right now.
On picking Daniel Jones vs. Drew Lock in New York
"“Yeah, you’re right, last year we (the Giants) were in the quarterback market. And typically when you draft a quarterback high, those are organizational decisions. At that time last year, what we felt was best for the Giants was Daniel Jones. I will say this — we had a very high opinion of Drew Lock, and we liked him a great deal.”Pat Shurmur (press conference quote)"
Shurmur is reported to have preferred Lock in the 2019 NFL Draft process, and obviously Lock’s presence on the Broncos roster is one of the major reasons why he picked Denver over his other opportunities.
On QBs coach Mike Shula and bringing him to Denver
"“Number one, Mike’s an outstanding coach. Number two, he’s an even better person. I knew about Mike prior to going to the Giants. Having worked with him now, I think that the Broncos are really lucky that he was available and willing to come here. He’s an outstanding coach. He does a great job not only with the quarterbacks but also with the whole offense. You know, he called plays in the Super Bowl. I think the players here are very lucky that he’s here.”Shurmur"
Everyone who has anything to say about Shula to this point has had great things to say about him, and his track record certainly speaks for itself as he has developed young quarterbacks at every one of his stops through the years, including the Giants’ recent development of Daniel Jones.
On OL coach Mike Munchak
"“He’s an outstanding coach and person. He goes into that Mike Shula category for me. He’s had great success obviously first as a player, but he’s an outstanding person, outstanding coach. That had a little bit to do with me coming here. I think for an offensive coordinator being around a tremendous offensive line coach, that’s huge.”Shurmur"
On QB Joe Flacco as a player and what role he envisions for him this year
"“I don’t know, and I wouldn’t get into that in this setting. Again, I’m just getting to know the players, the ones that were here a year ago, and I’m not sure who’s gonna be here moving forward…I think he’s had an outstanding career. I think he did a lot of good things last year. Unfortunately he was injured and couldn’t finish the season. Like I mentioned he’s had an outstanding career.”Shurmur"
The telling piece of this quote is obviously Shurmur’s note that he’s not sure who’s going to be in Denver moving forward. At this point, it would be shocking to see Flacco in a Broncos uniform again.
On RB Phillip Lindsay and his ability as an all-around player
"“I think it is important for a runner to be able to catch. There’s three elements to playing running back. Number one when you hand it to ’em, they’ve gotta have good vision, balance, body control, collision balance — they’ve got to be able to run with the ball and score. You certainly need to be able to pass protect to protect the quarterback. If you can’t catch the ball out of the backfield or you can’t have an impact in some way — and it doesn’t mean down the field, maybe it’s a check down in the flat — then it’s hard to be a full runner. I feel like he can do those things. As I get to work with him and I get to talk with the offensive coaches more, we’ll find out what he can do and we’ll try to feature that.”Shurmur"
At this point, Lindsay’s pass catching has been his only flaw as a featured back in the NFL. Perhaps playing in Pat Shurmur’s offense will help give him a huge boost in that regard.
Shurmur also commented that he and the Giants had a high opinion of Broncos tight end Noah Fant in last year’s draft process and that he views him as a similar type of player to Evan Engram, who caught 89 passes in two seasons with Shurmur calling plays in New York.
The Broncos would undoubtedly be wise to get Fant out in space and utilize him for the weapon he is in the passing game more often.
Overall, this was a fun press conference just for the fact that we’re talking football a little bit again and moving ever closer to the Scouting Combine. Shurmur and the Broncos’ coaching staff are making free agency preparations and evaluating in-house players to determine the course of this team moving forward.