Three days into another boozeless, eight-week run, I have started to develop a bit of a sweet tooth. (This grows and grows as the eight weeks progress.) My go-to thirst quencher in this regard is the gelato from the fine folks at Talenti.
And they have flavors. Double Dark Chocolate is my favorite. Toasted Almond is incredible. Coffee Chocolate Chip makes your heart sing with the sweetness of an early-90s animated Disney heroine. Caramel Cookie Crunch takes you down a wild forest road where the squirrels whistle your favorite song and woodchucks protect your children as the family sleeps.
They also have Vanilla Bean. It’s steady. It’s reliable. It’s not going to make you pause that episode of Billions (starring Chicago Bears fan Chris Denham) you’re watching, turn to your girlfriend and say, “This is incredible!” But it’s not going to upset you.
Pat Shurmur is Vanilla Bean.
Shurmur’s career is interesting.
- He spent ten years in Philadelphia under Andy Reid, coaching tight ends, offensive line and quarterbacks. Two things about this. (1) How many coaches are in charge of three position groups during one stint with an organization? That kind of versatility is why Shurmur profiled as a successful head coach. (2) He coached Donovan McNabb to the most prolific passing resume in Eagles history.
- He left Philly to join Steve Spagnuolo’s staff in St. Louis. 2009 did not go well, with the team winning one game being quarterbacked by Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller. After drafting Sam Bradford – the last QB to get super rich on draft day – the team improved to 7 wins with the rookie putting together a solid (if conservative) 60%, 3,512 yards, 18 TDs, 15 INTs.
- The following season, before being hurt, Bradford’s numbers plummeted. (53.5%, 2,164 yards, 6-6.) His offensive coordinator that season? Josh McDaniels.
- Mike Holmgren hired Shurmur to be Browns head coach for the standard two years you get in Cleveland. He got a decent season out of Colt McCoy in year one and got nothing out of Brandon Weeden, because Weeden is terrible, in year two. Fired.
- His last two jobs have been nothing short of spectacular. Under both Chip Kelly and Mike Zimmer, Shurmur has led some of the most dynamic and productive offenses in the league and he’s done so with quarterbacks like Nick Foles and Case Keenum. Shurmur credits Kelly with changing much of his offensive philosophy. In 2017, Shurmur was the best assistant coach in the NFL hands down.
Listen, the Flip video was exhilarating. This video is…not.
Nobody could argue with Shurmur becoming a head coach in 2018, even in Chicago. He earned a second opportunity with his work in Minnesota this season. But in my mind, Shurmur is part of a long line of coordinators who are better served in that role. Some guys are great football minds but not great head coaches. Norv. Wade. Arnsparger. Buddy Ryan. Shurmur is a diet version of these guys.