Pat Shurmur won’t be looking to dramatically change the scheme of the Minnesota Vikings offense.
At this point in the season, that would be a difficult task, especially with the basic tenets of most NFL offenses – pass protection up front and running the ball – being so difficult to find consistently this year in Minnesota. But Shurmur, the new offensive coordinator who takes over after Norv Turner’s resignation on Wednesday, has an interesting influence as he tries to increase the production on offense.
“Chip Kelly was an out-of-the-box thinker. We went into the first meeting and the first thing he said was, ‘We’ve done it this way always is not the right answer,’ so we were always willing with Chip to try to think a little bit outside of the box,” Shurmur said. “We stumbled into some really, really good stuff. But there are some things that have been done in this league for a long, long time for the right reasons. But I learned that from him. He was really all into football. He loved coaching football. So I learned quite a bit, actually.”
The Eagles offense ranked second, fifth and 12th in yards when Shurmur was the offensive coordinator there, but the players (besides Bradford last year) were different and the scheme was Kelly’s.
This offense will remain the one implemented by Turner, but choosing the plays and when they are called will now fall on the shoulders of Shurmur.
“We have a pretty wide selection of plays at our disposal. The key each week is to run the plays that give you the best chance to beat the opponent so we’re going to try to get our guys in the right position, get the ball to the guys we think can make plays and do what we think is best to beat Detroit,” Shurmur said.
“I don’t think you totally change what we’re doing offensively. There’s certain things that may look different. … I think what we need to do is coach better, we need to play better. If everybody on the field and everybody involved with the offense makes one less mistake, then we give ourselves the best chance to win.”
The Vikings will have to pass protect better, but that might not change just because of a change in coordinators. However, choosing different plays could help keep the opposing pass rushers off balance.
The Vikings also have to run the ball better keep the defense guessing and more concerned about the rushing attack.
Shurmur knows the priorities, and those haven’t changed with his change in job title and increased responsibilities.
What will change is the amount of scrutiny he will receive if the Vikings’ 31st-ranked offense doesn’t improve.
“The pressure? That comes outside in and I don’t worry about it,” he said when asked about the increased focus that will be placed on him as the new coordinator.
He knows the discussion about him, as the new offensive coordinator, will ramp up among fans.
“Yeah, they get a lot of advice, don’t they?” he said.