The impending hire of Mike Shula as the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of the New York Giants has been met with mixed reviews. He's a coach who had some success molding Cam Newton in Carolina and taking the Panthers to the Super Bowl just three years ago. He's also considered to lack innovation in the passing game (not exactly encouraging for Odell Beckham Jr.) and overall offensively.
"Their passing game structurally this year was very, very basic. Very basic," ESPN analyst Louis Riddick said after Shula was fired by the Panthers.
This is the good and bad of the other Shula, the son of Don Shula, the legendary Miami Dolphins head coach. Mike Shula struggled as the coach at the University of Alabama but resurrected his career by molding quarterbacks with the Jaguars and Panthers.
Shula is now Pat Shurmur's offensive caddie. He will help with doing the legwork and putting together the weekly call sheet and game plan and whatever else comes in the job descriptions of offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.
But make no mistake, this will not be Shula's offense. It wouldn't have been Kevin Stefanski's either, even if the Minnesota Vikings hadn't blocked that hire. This is Shumur's offense, with input from his offensive assistants.
Shurmur plans to call plays.
Giants fans and Beckham shouldn't panic or look too closely at what they saw from Shula in Carolina (run, run, throw to the tight end). What is on the field next season at MetLife Stadium is much more likely to resemble what they saw from Shurmur and the Minnesota Vikings last season than from Shula and the Carolina Panthers.
The Giants hired Shurmur for more than just his ability to act as an "adult," which general manager Dave Gettleman has stressed on more than one occasion. He was hired because of his offensive mind, and his ability to innovate and evolve schematically over the years after working under a variety of coaches.
Shurmur should be able to find ways to successfully blend Shula's experience and ideas with the offense he has in mind for the Giants. It should be a workable mix, even if the hire didn't blow away the insta-analysis pundits.
Shula's connection to Gettleman likely helped him land on his feet rather quickly in New York. They worked together for four seasons with the Panthers. Gettleman probably liked what he saw, especially when the Panthers went 15-1 in 2015 and reached the Super Bowl. They were the No. 1 scoring team in the NFL that season.
Certainly Shula did some things right as Newton won the MVP award and enjoyed a career year. Certainly he can coach a little bit, and didn't forget everything since that time. He also previously coaxed some serviceable seasons out of David Garrard in Jacksonville prior to joining the Panthers.
Shula's success with the Giants won't be judged by their offensive ranking this season or next. It will be contingent on how he works with and helps develop young quarterbacks. The Giants will have last year's third-round pick Davis Webb and potentially the No. 2 overall pick on the roster. The success of Shurmur and Shula's tenures will ultimately depend on how they groom Eli Manning's successor.
In the meantime, they will also be working with Manning. That shouldn't be a problem. Shula was known to have a strong relationship with Newton. He's respected and liked by his pupils.
And Shula should be a better fit with what the Giants and Gettleman are trying to build in New York. Shula never ran the read-option before coming to Carolina and working with Newton.
Gettleman appears intent on building a hard-nosed team with a more natural pro-style offense. Shula fits into that mix, right alongside Shurmur.