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What Pat Shurmur learned from his tenure as Browns head coach

Head coach Pat Shurmur of the Cleveland Browns

Head coach Pat Shurmur of the Cleveland Browns signals to his players against the Redskins at Browns Stadium on Dec. 16, 2012, in Cleveland, Ohio. Credit: Getty Images / Jason Miller

When Pat Shurmur took over the Browns in 2011, they were coming off a 5-11 season.

So in that regard, the current Giants are in worse shape than that team was.

“I’m taking over a team that was 3-‑13, so we’ve got to own that,” Shurmur said on Friday as he was introduced as the 18th head coach in Giants history. “There’s a lot of work to be done. There’s changes that need to be made.”

Shurmur won nine games in two years with the Browns. More than that, though, he learned what it takes to hold the position. Much like making pancakes, one’s first job as a head coach in the NFL rarely turns out to be the best. That’s one of the reasons the Giants wanted someone with experience.

What did Shurmur take away from the Browns?

“Everything in Cleveland, I wish I knew then what I know now,” he said. “I think when you’re doing anything for the first time, there’s things that happen that you adjust to. Some of it’s really not specific. But obviously, once you’ve done it before, you have the resources and you’ve made those decisions. You’ve made those calls. You’ve done the things that you say, ‘If I do that again, I’ll never do that again.’ And I think I learned that.”

That was something that resonated with general manager Dave Gettleman, who was hired by the Giants last month after being fired by the Panthers last summer.

“We asked Pat, ‘What have you learned through your Cleveland experience?’ ” Gettleman said. “He was very detailed. He obviously was very honest with himself, just like I had to be honest with myself when things didn’t go right.”

Shurmur’s tenure with the Browns ended after two seasons, but it was more a function of new ownership for the franchise than anything Shurmur did poorly.

“I felt like we were on the right track,” Shurmur told Newsday of his time with the Browns. “We just didn’t get a chance to finish. There was a lot of work to be done there, and I just felt like we didn’t get a chance to finish.”

Gettleman, observing from the outside, also felt that way.

“I thought in the second year [in Cleveland], they were making strides,” he said. “As a pro guy, I’m watching film and seeing that this team was getting better and better and better with a lot of young guys.”

So how long will it take to turn around the Giants compared to, say, the Browns (who have never quite made that turn)?

“It’s hard to say,” Shurmur said. “There is so much I have to dig in and learn about this current roster. I feel like I know the players from watching them on tape and talking to people about them, but I can give you a better answer after I get to know the people and know the players instead of just watching them.”

New York Sports