New Vikings interim offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was an under-the-radar tight ends coach around 6:30 Wednesday morning.
“I was in the office kind of doing my work,” Shurmur said during a press conference earlier this morning.
Boy, did things change in a hurry. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner went to coach Mike Zimmer’s office, resigned and then went and told Shurmur.
“Like everybody, I was surprised by Norv’s decision yesterday,” Shurmur said. “Norv told us he was going to step aside. And then Coach Zim came down and asked if I would move forward and help get a plan together and call the plays as we move forward.”
And that began a very long day for the Vikings coaching staff.
“The last few months with Norv have been meaningful to me,” Shurmur said. “I’ve known him. I’ve admired him. He and my uncle [Fritz Shurmur] worked together very closely. I’ve learned a lot of football and I’ve enjoyed working with him. Yesterday was a different day.”
Asked how much he’ll tweak Turner’s offense and play-calling habits, Shurmur said, “I don’t think you totally change what we’re doing offensively. I think there are certain things that may look different. You’ll have to tell me after the game. But I think what we need to do is coach better, play better and if everybody on the field and everybody involved in the offense makes one less mistake then we give ourselves the best chance to win.”
He said having worked with quarterback Sam Bradford in two previous stints in St. Louis (2010) and Philadelphia (2015) will help. Unlike most offensive coordinators, including Turner, Shurmur said he will call the game from the sideline because he thinks that gives him better communication with the quarterback.
We’re at the halfway point of the NFL season, and Turner is the fourth offensive coordinator to step down or be fired. Buffalo, Baltimore and Jacksonville all fired their offensive coordinators.
Asked about the pressures of being an offensive coordinator, Shurmur smiled and said, “They get a lot of advice, don’t they?”
Asked about the challenges, he said, “You’re making decisions constantly and the situations change, so having the experience of having done it before helps you. Putting together a game plan that you can call the plays that are best for your players is important. And then being able to rep them so the players can execute them is the key. So that’s the challenge. You just have to go into it with a clear mind and as the game plays out, we have things we want to do in certain situations, and you try to give the players the best one. That’s the challenge.
“The pressure? That comes outside in, and I don’t think we worry about that.”
He says he never reads or listens to what’s being written or said. So we know he’s a smart fella.
“I’ve learned that over the years,” he said. “I frequently remind my mother to just quit reading that stuff.”
Asked if she offers him advice, Shurmur said, “No, because she keeps reading the stuff.”