On Sunday, the Broncos and Vic Fangio made the surprising announcement that they would be parting ways with first-year offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello after the offense didn’t meet their expectations.
Almost instantly, longtime offensive coordinator and recently-fired New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur was connected to the Broncos playcalling job, which he is now expected to take over.
What does Shurmur’s past say about him as an offensive play-caller and what does that mean for the Broncos?
Everywhere Pat Shurmur has gone, the offense has taken an almost immediate leap.
In 2017, before Shurmur took the Giants’ job, the G-Men finished 20th in passing DVOA, 29th in rushing DVOA and 23rd in total offensive DVOA. They were in the bottom half of the league in total offense and passing yards and ranked 26th in rushing yards, 31st in scoring. Pro Football Focus ranked them as the 21st-best passing attack, the 25th-best offense overall and they ranked among the league’s bottom-five teams in receiving, rushing and pass blocking.
In 2018, right after Shurmur took over the Giants’ head coaching gig with Eli Manning still at quarterback, New York finished in the top half of the league in every offensive DVOA category. They also finished above average in passing and scoring while ranking 17th in total yards and 24th in rushing yards. Analytically, PFF ranked them as the 24th-best passing attack, the 11th-best receiving core, the ninth-best running back room and the 20th-best offense overall.
Simply, that’s a nearly universal improvement, even as Eli Manning’s depleted caliber of play became more and more apparent.
His last job as the offensive coordinator rather than the head coach saw even more success though. Pat Shurmur was most recently an offensive coordinator for the 2017 Minnesota Vikings, where he helped lead them all the way to the NFC title game with Case Keenum as his quarterback.
Here in Denver, we should be intimately aware of how impossible a task that seems.
The Vikings were the league’s third-best passing attack, 12th-best ground game, and fifth-best offense overall according to DVOA. Pro Football Focus graded them as the eighth-best passing game, second-best receiving core, second-best running back group, 17th-best pass-blocking line, 13th best run-blocking line and sixth-best offense overall.
Looking at improvements in the receiving numbers, especially from PFF, it looks like the addition of Pat Shurmur may surprisingly be even more beneficial for Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton than Drew Lock. Though, no matter who benefits the most from his coaching, the offense is primed to take a huge step forward in Vic Fangio’s second season.