New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur knows that the heat is already on him and his players ahead of the 2019-20 NFL campaign. Very few former Giants coaches have had the luxury of a second season in charge of late. Even Ben McAdoo, who led the Giants to their first playoffs in five seasons, was shown the exit door before the conclusion of his second year in charge. Therefore, Shurmur will be under no illusions that his team must improve upon their 5-11 record of 2018-19.
But the biggest problem for Shurmur is that very few people believe that this record can be improved in 2019-20. In fact, both USA TODAY and Sports Illustrated have published their predictions for the Giants in the coming season, with the former forecasting another 5-11 campaign. Meanwhile the latter predicts a slightly improved campaign of a 6-10 record. Nate Davis of USA TODAY believes that by Week 12, the Giants will already simply be playing for pride. It just goes to underline the lack of positivity surrounding the Giants right now, with expectations outside of the camp at record lows.
The Giants are still something of an unknown quantity for 2019-20
Despite the negativity and pessimism, Conor Orr of Sports Illustrated warns that the Giants are actually “almost impossible to evaluate” at the present time. Orr highlighted several question marks surrounding the team, with Daniel Jones’ ambitions to take over at quarterback lingering in the background. Most predict that current starting quarterback, Eli Manning will pass on the baton to Jones towards the back end of the coming season, particularly if the Giants are out of playoff contention at an early stage.
Does Pat Shurmur have what it takes?
Another point of note to concern Giants fans is Pat Shurmur’s long-term record as head coach at NFL level. When you look back at his reign at the Cleveland Browns, along with his time with the Giants, he’s won just 15 of his 49 games – losing more than two-thirds of games he’s coached in. Fortunately, there is no-one more aware than Shurmur of his past record and his need to prove himself to the fans and the sport as a whole.
Shurmur has insisted at recent press conferences that he is more comfortable at the helm of the Giants than this time last year, when the franchise was in a state of flux. He admitted that he had a better feel for the character of not only his team but his coaching staff too. He concluded a recent interview at the reporting day for the team’s veterans by saying that the franchise feels like it’s “developing a winning team”.
Shurmur’s positivity appears to be rubbing off on some of his players. Linebacker Alec Ogletree said confidently that the Giants’ defense had the makings of a “top-five, top-10” backline. Ogletree insisted that the team’s defence was ready to “shock a lot of people” despite the departure of safety, Landon Collins and defensive end, Olivier Vernon.
It’s hoped that regulated NFL betting markets in New Jersey and Pennsylvania will ramp up the interest in the Giants’ fortunes this term. The people of New Jersey will have a new NFL betting platform to use in the coming months, with FOX Bet set to launch its new website. The merger between the Stars Group and FOX Sports is designed to create America’s first national media and sports betting partnership.
Interest in the New York Giants has been on the wane since 2012. Average crowds peaked that year at 80,495. However, the continual disappointment and frustration appears to have boiled over into the stands with crowds down by around 5% between 2012 and 2018, down to 76,940. That still might seem like a healthy figure to most, but there’s no doubt the franchise’s bean-counters in the commercial department will be increasingly concerned at the falling attendances and overall appeal of the Giants brand.