At this point, Pat Shurmur is willing to consider anything to help his mistake-prone team get a win. Even a sportswriter’s suggestion that Daniel Jones might want to consider wearing a glove to improve his ball security.
Newsday’s Giants beat writer, Tom Rock, asked Shurmur on a conference call Monday if Jones could benefit from using a glove on one or even both hands to address a continuing problem with fumbles.
There was another Sunday in a 34-27 loss to the Jets — the Giants’ sixth straight defeat — as Jamal Adams swiped the ball away on a third-quarter sack and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown.
“A glove? I’ve never heard of that in terms of the ball security piece,” Shurmur said. “The ball got ripped out of his hand.”
He paused a moment and said: “I guess it’s something to think about. Since you brought it up, I’ll mention it to him.”
It’s been that kind of season for Shurmur, who is still trying to find the right formula to turn his team around. At 2-8, he is fighting for his coaching life.
The Giants aren’t likely to make an in-season coaching change the way they did with Ben McAdoo in 2017. But with a 7-19 record in Shurmur’s first 26 games, there is reason to believe that team president John Mara will consider a change after the season.
Mara was fuming after Sunday’s loss to the Jets and left the postgame locker room with an especially pronounced scowl. He’s never happy after a loss, but a loss to the team that shares MetLife Stadium and once prompted Mara’s father, Wellington, to fire Allie Sherman after a preseason loss in 1969?
It is simply verboten to lose to the Jets, even when you are in a rebuilding mode with a rookie quarterback.
Shurmur will use the bye week for inner reflection and hopes to come out of it with some answers, starting with the Giants’ Nov. 24 game in Chicago against the inconsistent Bears.
Despite problems on both sides of the ball, one thing Shurmur won’t do is shake up his coaching staff. Defensive coordinator James Bettcher has been a particular target of criticism, but he’s safe for now.
“I’m not going to make any coaching changes,” Shurmur said. “It’s important that we coach and play better, period.”
Shurmur won’t divulge whether he plans to sit down with Mara and/or general manager Dave Gettleman to discuss his future. “If I would’ve had that conversation, it’s not obviously something that I would share publicly,” he said.
At some point, those conversations will take place. If not this week, then certainly next month, when the Giants close out another season without a playoff berth for the seventh time in the eight years since winning Super Bowl XLVI.
Mara previously insisted he has “the right people in the building” in Gettleman and Shurmur to move the Giants in the right direction. But the team’s top decision-maker hasn’t spoken publicly since the start of the season, so it’s uncertain whether he still has that conviction about his general manager and coach.
If Mara does make any changes, Shurmur is the one most likely to go, because GMs historically have been given the chance to hire at least two coaches.
Shurmur’s greatest strength has been in developing Jones, who has struggled with fumbling but also has shown flashes of becoming a very good quarterback in time. He threw four touchdown passes Sunday for the second time in three games and has 15 TD passes and eight interceptions to go with an 88.0 rating. Jones has completed 63 percent of his passes, a solid number, especially with routinely inadequate pass protection. He was sacked six times by the Jets.
Jones might end up being Shurmur’s saving grace, but it’s certainly not guaranteed. A head coach must do more than develop his quarterback; he must be a leader of men who can fight his way through problems and come out the other side with a better team.