The last time Eli Manning and Pat Shurmur spent time together on a football field, they had no idea how intertwined their careers soon would become.
It was last summer. Manning, coming off a playoff season, was at the 22nd annual Manning Passing Academy. Shurmur, the offensive coordinator for the Vikings, was there, too — not as a coach, but as a dad. His son Kyle, a junior at Vanderbilt, was serving as a counselor at the event at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
Shurmur will be introduced as the Giants’ 18th coach at a news conference Friday. He won’t have to be introduced to his quarterback, though.
“Spoke with him a little bit there,” Manning said of their offseason encounter in an interview with the Giants’ website that was posted Thursday. “So I know a little bit about him. I know a little bit about his past when he was in Philadelphia and the Browns and this season with the Vikings and what he was able to do as offensive coordinator. So I’m excited about that and excited to get back to work with him and see how we can improve this team.”
Manning is fresh off his endorsement as the Giants’ quarterback from general manager Dave Gettleman, who said Wednesday that Manning will be on the 2018 team. He will be playing under his third head coach with the Giants. Unlike the last time he went through the process, he has no on-field relationship with the new boss. Two years ago, when Ben McAdoo took over, he was promoted from offensive coordinator, so the adjustments were subtle. This time they’re starting from the beginning.
“[I’m] just excited to see how he calls games, how he looks at defenses, how he wants to pick them apart and just seeing his insight to that and learn from it,” Manning said. “So we can see things the same way, have great communication and figure out how to score some points.”
Manning said he’ll likely use cutups from the Vikings to aid in the learning curve with Shurmur, who will be calling the offensive plays.
“I think I’ll definitely look at the Vikings’ offense from this past year and see what they did as he’s installing his offense and plays,” he said. “You like to look back and see why they worked, why they didn’t work, and just learn if there’s some new concepts. It’s really just about getting face-to-face with him and learning how he goes through reads and make sure we’re on the same page.”
There’ll be plenty of time for the two to get to know each other better in the coming months. The offseason program begins in early April. There will be OTAs and a pair of minicamps in the spring, plus training camp over the summer.
Manning was asked what he’d like Shurmur to know about him as the two embark on their journey together.
“I’m here to work,” Manning said. “I’m here to learn and be studious and learn from him and just get the offense and the plays that he wants run and do it his way. That’s the best way to have an offense be successful.”