The Giants publicly announced their coaching staff on Thursday. Behind closed doors, though, many of them have been grinding away for the better part of the past three weeks.
“We’ve been working on offense and defense, even though we haven’t been full,” coach Pat Shurmur said in the team’s release. “I’ve been directing the offensive part of it, as I will be involved throughout. And certainly they’ve been going on defense and special teams.
“ . . . I’ve been through this, and when you’re a new coach, the process of putting together your initial staff is time-consuming. There are many, many excellent coaches out there, but you want to try to bring in the right guys that fit.”
Shurmur said he believes he has done that with a mix of new faces (including coordinators Mike Shula on offense, James Bettcher on defense and Thomas McGaughey on special teams) and returnees (including running backs coach Craig Johnson and linebackers coach Bill McGovern).
“Some of the coaches I have a history with, some were on previous staffs here, and other coaches are guys I’ve known through the profession,” Shurmur said. “I took a good look at some of the coaches that were here, and we certainly wanted to make sure that some of the really fine coaches that were in the building a year ago had an opportunity to stay.”
Some even received promotions. Former assistant offensive line coach Lunda Wells is the tight ends coach. Rob Leonard, the assistant defensive line coach last year, is the assistant linebackers coach.
Tweaks also have been made to the structure of the staff. Instead of separate coaches for the safeties and cornerbacks, as the Giants have had since Tom Coughlin took over in 2004, Shurmur will have one defensive backs coach in Lou Anarumo. He’ll be assisted by Deshea Townsend. The Giants also will be without a dedicated quarterbacks coach. Shula will handle that responsibility along with being offensive coordinator.
The key positions, of course, are the coordinators. Shurmur has never worked with any of them, and Shula and McGaughey were on the Panthers’ staff as recently as last month.
“I’ve known Mike a very long time,” Shurmur said of Shula. “He’s done an outstanding job developing and working with quarterbacks. He was the offensive coordinator of a team that was recently playing in the Super Bowl. They’ve done an excellent job on offense in Carolina. We share a vision in terms of what we want to do offensively. We’re excited that he’ll be with us.”
Shurmur will call the offensive plays, but he said that’s about the only part of the job Shula won’t handle. “He’ll assume all the roles that any offensive coordinator would have,” Shurmur said, “and he’d obviously be in position to call it, if need be.”
Bettcher, 39, was the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator for the past three seasons. Shurmur acknowledged Bettcher’s hiring when he was introduced as head coach in January.
“James coaches a defense that’s hard to score against,” Shurmur said. “He had great success in Arizona, and we’re certainly glad to have him here.”
McGaughey is familiar to the Giants, if not to Shurmur. He was their assistant special teams coach from 2007-10. He also was the special teams coordinator and a defensive assistant from 2011-13 at LSU, where he coached Odell Beckham Jr. and Brad Wing. Since then he has been the special teams coordinator for the Jets (2014), 49ers (2015) and Panthers (2016-17).
“I knew Thomas in the profession, and after having a chance to visit with him, I knew it would be a perfect fit here,” Shurmur said. “He’s an outstanding coach.”
That, Shurmur said, is what he was looking for from all of his hires.
“They’re all excellent people, career coaches, guys who have had success in the profession developing players,” he said. “We’re excited to have them here at the New York Giants.”
Giants 2018 coaching staff
Coach: Pat Shurmur
Offensive coordinator/QBs: Mike Shula
Wide receivers: Tyke Tolbert
Offensive line: Hal Hunter
Running backs: Craig Johnson
Tight ends: Lunda Wells
Asst. offensive line: Ben Wilkerson
Offensive assistant: Ryan Roeder
Defensive coordinator: James Bettcher
Defensive line: Gary Emanuel
Linebackers: Bill McGovern
Defensive backs: Lou Anarumo
Asst. linebackers: Rob Leonard
Asst. defensive backs: Deshea Townsend
Defensive assistant: Bobby Blick
Special teams coordinator: Thomas McGaughey
Asst. special teams coordinator: Anthony Blevins
Strength & conditioning: Aaron Wellman
Asst. strength & conditioning: Markus Paul
Performance manager: Joe Danos
Dir. of performance nutrition: Pratik Patel