New York Giants

Former Eagles assistant named Giants head coach

AP Images

Former Eagles assistant named Giants head coach

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has been hired as the New York Giants head coach.

The Giants announced the hiring late Monday afternoon, less than 24 hours after Shurmur and the Vikings were beaten by the Eagles in the NFC title game.

The 52-year-old Shurmur replaces Ben McAdoo, who was fired in early December with the team mired with a 2-10 record and owners and fans upset with his handling of the benching of two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning.

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo took over for the final four games and posted a 1-3 record.

"He has an outstanding track record in developing young players, and it is clear his players respond to his guidance and direction," co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch said in a statement.

"We interviewed six talented and qualified candidates, and we feel like Pat, with his vision and experience, is the right person to lead our team."

The Giants won't officially introduce Shurmur until Friday. A winter storm in the Midwest is preventing him from coming to New Jersey on Tuesday and he will be at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, from Tuesday night through Thursday.

Shurmur returns to the head coaching ranks for the first time since leading the Cleveland Browns in 2011-12. He takes over a troubled team that posted a 3-13 record a year after making the playoffs.

Shurmur was interviewed on Jan. 6 by Mara, new general manager Dave Gettleman and assistant GM Kevin Abrams.

Following that meeting in Minneapolis, Shurmur had an hour-long phone conversation with Tisch.

"I can't wait to start working with Pat," said Gettleman. "I know he will provide the type of leadership we need to take our team back to where it belongs. I have followed Pat's career for many years, and he has had great success wherever he has been.

"What struck me during our conversation is that being the head coach of the New York Giants is not too big for him. He is made for this moment and this opportunity."

The Giants interviewed five other candidates, kicking it off with Spagnuolo three days after the season ended.

New York also spoke with New England coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia, Carolina defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and recently fired Broncos running backs coach Eric Studesville, who has since been hired as a running backs coach by the Dolphins. Wilks was hired as the head coach in Arizona on Monday

Shurmur has earned a reputation as a quarterback whisperer. NFC title game opponents Nick Foles of the Eagles and Case Keenum of the Vikings were tutored by him.

With the Giants, Shurmur will get to work with Manning and possibly the No. 2 pick in the draft, if New York uses the pick to pick an heir apparent.

But the Giants also had problems in the locker room. Three defensive backs -- Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple were suspended for a game for conduct detrimental to the team.

Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen said Shurmur constantly put players in position to contribute and he doesn't take anything for granted.

"He's not a stubborn guy. He's going to throw stuff out if it's not working, and he's going to find things that guys are good at," Thielen said Monday as the Vikings cleaned out their lockers.

"So I think as a head coach, he's going to do that on both sides of the ball. Special teams, he's going to find guys who can make plays and let them do what they do. So I think he's going to have a lot of success as a head coach."

Shurmur has been a part of teams that have qualified for the playoffs nine times and won seven division titles. He was the Eagles' quarterbacks coach when the Eagles played in the Super Bowl against New England in the 2004 season.

Shurmur is finishing his second year with the Vikings. He began last season as the tight ends coach and for the final nine games was also the offensive coordinator, the title he retained this season.

The Vikings finished 10th in the NFL in scoring (23.9 points), 11th in total yardage (356.9), and seventh in rushing yardage (122.3) this season.

Shurmur posted a 9-23 record in his two seasons with the Browns, going there after a two-year stint as the offensive coordinator with the Rams. He spent three seasons as the Eagles offensive coordinator after being fired.

Shurmur's NFL coaching career began with a 10-year run (1999-2008) with the Eagles. He coached in college at Stanford and Michigan State.

Jim Schwartz coy about head coaching interview

Jim Schwartz coy about head coaching interview

This is an important time for Jim Schwartz in a couple ways. He's trying to get hired for a second stint as an NFL head coach. And he's trying to prepare his Eagles defense to face the Falcons and their eighth-ranked offense in a conference semifinal playoff game on Saturday.

With the Eagles on their bye week, Schwartz was set to interview with the Giants for their head coaching opening over the weekend. But that interview was postponed for the time being because of scheduling issues, according to Newsday.

If the Eagles win Saturday, the Giants wouldn't be allowed to interview Schwartz until after the NFC Championship Game, which is Jan. 21. If they lose, he could interview anytime.

Monday was Schwartz's first media availability in two weeks, and he politely declined to talk about anything other than this week's game.

"I think it's not fair to our players or anything else to talk about anything else," he said. "I mean, we just talk about how urgent this is and everything else. I think that that's the respect that that game has from my point of view."

Schwartz was asked if it's difficult for him to balance preparing for the Falcons and trying to land a head coaching job.

"There was no balancing," he said. "We have enough work here. There were three teams that we could play (before Saturday), and we prepared for all three of them."

Asked why the Giants interview was postponed, he said: "I appreciate your guys need to ask stuff like that, but I'm just going to answer questions about the Falcons."

Schwartz was the Lions' head coach from 2009 through 2013. The Lions went 10-6 and reached the playoffs in 2011, losing 45-28 to the Saints at the Superdome. He had a losing record in the four other seasons.

Pat Shurmur, who spent 1999 through 2008 as tight ends coach and quarterbacks coach under Andy Reid and 2013 through 2015 as Chip Kelly's offensive coordinator, is among the other known candidates and has already interviewed with the Giants.

Shurmur was the Browns' head coach in 2011 and 2012 and served as the Eagles' interim head coach the last day of the 2015 season for a win over the Giants after Kelly had been fired.

'Good chance' Jon Gruden returns to Raiders

USA Today Images

'Good chance' Jon Gruden returns to Raiders

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Jon Gruden says he had a good talk with Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis about returning to the organization for a second stint as coach and believes there is a "good chance" it will happen.

Gruden gave an interview to ESPN Radio on Wednesday to discuss his pursuit of the Raiders job that opened when Jack Del Rio was fired after a disappointing six-win season.

Gruden has been out of coaching the past nine years while serving as ESPN's analyst for "Monday Night Football." He is scheduled to work the network's playoff game Saturday in Kansas City between the Chiefs and Tennessee Titans and could come back to the Raiders as soon as next week.

Gruden coached Oakland for four years from 1998-2001 before going to Tampa Bay (see full story).

Giants: Interim Spagnuolo interviews to be head coach
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants have started the interview process for their head coaching job by starting with the man who ran the team for the final month of a disastrous season.

Interim coach Steve Spagnuolo was interviewed by new general manager Dave Gettleman, co-owner John Mara and assistant general manager Kevin Abrams Wednesday, three days after the Giants (3-13) ended the season with an 18-10 win over Washington.

Co-owner Steve Tisch will meet with the candidates later in the process.

Spagnuolo posted a 1-3 record after being promoted from defensive coordinator to replace the fired Ben McAdoo on Dec. 4. He has head coaching experience, having guided the St. Louis Rams from 2009-11.

The likable Spagnuolo, who was promised an interview after being the interim coach, has had two tours as Giants defensive coordinator. He held the position in 2007-08 and helped the franchise win a Super Bowl. He returned in 2015 working the first year under Tom Coughlin and being retained by McAdoo (see full story).

Bills: McCoy (ankle) misses practice, uncertain vs. Jags
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Bills running back LeSean McCoy missed practice Wednesday because of a right ankle injury and it's uncertain whether he can play Sunday at Jacksonville in Buffalo's first playoff game in 18 years.

Coach Sean McDermott would only list the Bills' top offensive threat as day to day and declined to say whether McCoy would be able to practice at all this week. McCoy did not speak with reporters during time designated for interviews, as team officials said he was being treated by trainers.

McCoy was carted off the field after being hurt on the opening drive of the second half of Buffalo's 22-16 win at Miami on Sunday.

The win coupled with Baltimore's 31-27 loss to Cincinnati clinched Buffalo's first playoff berth since the 1999 season. As the AFC's sixth seed, the Bills (9-7) will face South Division champion Jacksonville (10-6) in a wild-card game.

McCoy leads Buffalo with 1,138 yards rushing, 59 catches and eight touchdowns, including two receiving (see full story).

Vikings: Bradford explains mindset on latest comeback
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The worst-case scenario fear surfaced in Sam Bradford's mind at midseason, in the aftermath of the 30-year-old quarterback's latest surgery on his left knee.

This procedure was an arthroscopic cleanup, not another reconstruction, but that didn't quiet the question about whether he'd be able to resume his career.

"That was a battle I fought for a few weeks," Bradford said. "But it seemed like each day where it got better, each week where it felt like I was making true progress and could do a little bit more, those thoughts started to leave my mind. I started to become more confident in how I felt on my knee and what I was able to do."

Bradford returned to practice with the Minnesota Vikings this week, the earliest he was eligible to do so after being placed on injured reserve on Nov. 8.

The Vikings can put him back on the active roster for the playoffs at any time, with a decision required by Jan. 23 if they advance to the Super Bowl.

Packers: Capers out as defensive coordinator
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers have announced the departure of veteran defensive coordinator Dom Capers.

Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac and inside linebacker Scott McCurley were also let go.

The moves made earlier this week were announced by coach Mike McCarthy on Wednesday.

Packers president Mark Murphy said on Tuesday that McCarthy has the authority to fill the coordinator position without waiting for a new GM. Murphy is leading the search for a replacement for general manager Ted Thompson, who is moving to an advisory role with the team.

Capers had been defensive coordinator since 2009. Green Bay was fifth in overall defense in the Super Bowl-winning season in 2010.

But the defense slipped to 22nd in each of the past two seasons despite being stocked with high draft picks. Injuries have plagued the cornerback position.

More changes to McCarthy's staff could be coming after the team finished below .500 and missed the postseason for the first time since 2008.

Raiders: Headquarters land deal offered by city near Vegas
HENDERSON, Nev. -- The Oakland Raiders came one step closer Wednesday to securing the land the team needs for its new headquarters and practice facility near Las Vegas, and at a steep discount.

Officials in suburban Henderson approved a resolution that allows the city to move forward with a direct sale of 55 acres (22 hectares) to the Raiders for more than $6 million -- half the land's appraised value. The city is using a Nevada law that allows for no-bid sales at under-market prices when they are considered to be in the public interest.

"This is an opportunity to take the city of Henderson to a new level," Assistant City Manager Greg Blackburn said during the city council meeting ahead of the resolution vote. "It's hard to put a dollar value to what this does to help us for the future."

The Raiders have promised that the venue will create an estimated 250 full-time jobs not counting players. The team will spend about $75 million to build the complex.

The team wants to kick off its 2020 season at a 65,000-seat domed stadium built partially with taxpayers' money across the freeway from the Las Vegas Strip. The team in May paid $77.5 million for the 62-acre (25-hectare) site and hosted a glitzy groundbreaking ceremony in November (see full story).