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Giants Q&A: Could Pat Shurmur be fired in midseason?  

Giants head coach Pat Shurmur talks on the

Giants head coach Pat Shurmur talks on the sideline during an NFL football game against the Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Is Pat Shurmur a goner?

If you had seen John Mara stomping out of the stadium after Sunday’s 34-27 loss to the Jets, you might think so.

However, it is unlikely that a team that went through the turmoil of firing a head coach at midseason 30 games ago would want to do that again at this point, even if the bye week does present a natural opportunity for such a radical change. Still, there is the question of what to do with Shurmur if this season continues to spiral the way it has the past two months.

What is the case for Shurmur staying?

He was asked just that on Sunday. And while he said he would save any defense of his position for conversations with management and ownership, he did say he thinks the Giants are on the right path.

“I think I’m seeing the things that will help us in the long run,” he said. “Certainly, we haven’t done enough in the short run. We’re all going to get to see now all of these young players, and we added a few more out there today. We’re going to get to see them develop as we go forward.”  

How about Shurmur’s coordinators and assistants? Any looming changes there?

“No,” Shurmur said. Of course, that was before any meetings with the aforementioned and rightfully foul-mooded decision-makers.

How did Leonard Williams do against his former team?

He did not have a sack, if that’s what you are asking. But he did come close, getting credited with four quarterback hits. “I hit [Sam Darnold] a lot of times,” he said. “I wish some of them were sacks, but I was getting back there fast, I was hitting him, I was affecting the game. We are enemies between the whistles, and I treated it as such.”

How about after the whistle?

“I hit him one time and he got rid of the ball as I had him wrapped up,” Williams said. “He still had the ball in his hands and then he got rid of it and I said, ‘Damn, Sam,’ and he started laughing. He was just like [expletive] or something like that. It was funny.”

Williams wound up trading game jerseys with former teammate and fellow defensive lineman Steve McLendon.

“I gave it to him because we both laughed that we wear 99 now,” he said, “and another reason is he’s been one of the oldest, greatest vets to me that I’ve been able to look up to and get advice from throughout my years, and I just cherish that.”

Why did Shurmur burn all three of his timeouts with more than four minutes remaining in the game?

The Giants trailed by a touchdown, so after they punted the ball to the Jets, he wanted to give his offense as much time as possible when they got it back. The defense did force a three-and-out that took only 33 seconds, and the Giants got the ball at their own 12 with 4:17 left. In the final two possessions, though, they never got past their own 17.

Why did the Giants punt on fourth-and-19 from their 3 with 2:40 left?

They could have attempted a play to convert there, given that there was no guarantee that they would get the ball back (though they did). “We were way behind in terms of the clock management part of it because we would only get the ball with 30 or something seconds left,” Shurmur said. “When you punt the ball, they could always fumble it, then they are going to run a few plays where we’ve seen something happen there. We felt like because we were . . . backed up and it was such a long fourth down, that was the right thing to do.”

Is this as bad as it gets?

No, actually. At least not according to safety Jabrill Peppers, who survived an 0-16 season in Cleveland as a rookie two years ago. “In my NFL career, I’ve been through some rough times,” he said. “This isn’t half as bad as some of the things I have been through.”

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