Vikings interim offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said he was "like everybody, surprised" that Norv Turner resigned as offensive coordinator Wednesday morning.
This came a day after quarterback Sam Bradford said he was "very surprised" and coach Mike Zimmer said he was "very, very surprised."
But should anyone be surprised anymore when an NFL offensive coordinator steps down, as Turner did, or is fired during the season, as Greg Roman (Buffalo), Marc Trestman (Baltimore) and Greg Olson (Jacksonville) were before the halfway point of this season?
So, welcome aboard, Pat. As you already know, your promotion could mean you're one day closer to being fired. Now go get 'em with the same struggling, injury-riddled, tackle-depleted 31st-ranked offense that drove Turner to hand over his badge when differing views of the offense's direction were exacerbated during an ugly two-game losing streak.
Shurmur knows the drill. He's 51 years old. He was a head coach for two years in Cleveland. And he's spent five seasons as an offensive coordinator in St. Louis and Philadelphia.
Half a decade as an NFL offensive coordinator is more than enough time to realize that darn near every fan and reporter thinks he or she can do the job infinitely better than the 32 men who hold down these positions.
"They get a lot of advice, don't they?" Shurmur joked when asked about the outside pressure on coordinators.
Don't ever run on first down, Pat. Unless your quarterback throws an incompletion or takes a sack. Then you should have run on first down because now you're in a predictable passing situation. What were you thinking?!
"You're making decisions constantly and the situations change," Shurmur said. "Having the experience of having done it before helps you. Putting together a game plan that you can call the plays based on what's best for your players is important. Then being able to rep them so players can execute efficiently. So that's the challenge. Then you've just got to go into [the game] with a clear mind."
"The pressure?" he continued. "That comes [from the] outside-in, and I don't think we worry about that."
But it's there. Boy, is it ever.
On Sept. 16, the Bills were 0-2 when they fired Roman. It came after the offense scored 24 points in a 37-31 loss to the Jets.
The Ravens started 3-0. Then they lost a game. Then they lost another game, 16-10 to Washington, and Trestman was fired Oct. 10.
The Jaguars won two consecutive games and were 2-3. But then they lost two in a row. A day after giving up 36 points in a 14-point loss at Tennessee, Jacksonville fired Olson.
When Shurmur got to work before 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, it was Turner who sat upon that hot seat. Shurmur, of course, had been hired not only to coach tight ends but to offer Turner his input as a disciple of Andy Reid's West Coast offense and a person who spent three seasons in Chip Kelly's up-tempo attack.
Turner wasn't forced out. He did indicate Wednesday that the coaches weren't on the same page in how to fix the offense, but despite the apparent absence of a consensus, Shurmur said, "The last few months with Norv have been meaningful to me.
"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. [Wednesday] was a different day."
And now it's Shurmur who becomes the focal point of social media volatility, the incompatible goals of Fantasy Footballers and the heightened scrutiny of the media and the analytics-based websites.
Shurmur doesn't seem to mind. He says he purposely avoids the outside chatter.
"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."
Mark Craig is an NFL and Vikings Insider. Twitter: @MarkCraigNFL E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org