CHARLOTTE – The resumes of Norv Turner and Pat Shurmur both include stints as Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator.
Such a shared history isn’t that uncommon. What is uncommon? Both held the role during the same season.
When Turner resigned seven games into the 2016 season, Shurmur was elevated from tight ends coach into the role. They’ll reunite Sunday at Bank of America Stadium – Turner in his first season as Panthers offensive coordinator and Shurmur in his first season as Giants head coach.
“That was a very uncomfortable time, but Norv and I have still stayed close,” Shurmur said, adding that “other situations and other relationships” were a contributor to the midseason shuffle as opposed to his relationship with Turner. “I think the world of him. I would assume the same is true for him in regard to me.”
“I certainly learned a lot working with Norv, and I think he’s doing an outstanding job down there.”
In kind, Turner is a fan of Shurmur. Just not this week.
“Pat did a great job in Minnesota and earned that opportunity to be a head coach,” Turner said. “He’s in those beginning stages now where you’re trying to put a program together, put your team together. They had a big win in Houston that showed what they’re capable of doing.
“He understands players and understands how to put them in position to be successful. He knows how to attack defenses.”
Shurmur said there’s “carryover” from Turner’s offensive system in what is trying to implement as the Giants’ offensive play-caller.
“The foundation of what we’re trying to do, there’s a lot that’s very similar,” Shurmur said. “Norv is an outstanding teacher.”
While Shurmur and Turner have gone their separate ways, Shurmur is now working with several staff and players in New York who previously called Carolina home.
On Giants general manager Dave Gettleman, the Panthers’ general manager for the 2013-16 seasons who has been battling cancer: “He looks good. He’s in the office frequently. He’s battling it, and to this point all the reports have been very, very positive in terms of his treatment and his healing.
“He was involved with putting together a very, very fine football team – a team that obviously went to the Super Bowl. A lot of the same principles of roster building he’s trying to put into place here.”
On Giants offensive coordinator Mike Shula, who held the same role in Carolina from 2013-17: “I’ve been very impressed with Mike. We were friends in the profession prior to us now working together. He’s done an outstanding job of trying to teach the offense and the quarterbacks and putting a plan together so that we can go out and play well. That’s what you’re looking for. He’s an outstanding coach and an even better person. I think we’re very fortunate to have him here.”
On his interview for the Panthers’ OC job in 2013: “At that time I was looking for work (Shurmur was Browns head coach from 2011-12), so I went down there and interviewed. That happens to coaches frequently. I’ve made nine moves in seven states, so those things happen all the time. I know Ron (Rivera). Ron and I kind of got our break in coaching together with Andy Reid back in Philly, so it made sense for me for come down there and visit with him.
“They made a decision to stay in-house. That’s fine. I moved on. What I recall about that is that it was a good visit. Had it worked out, it would have been great, but you just move on.”
On Giants running back Jonathan Stewart, the Panthers’ all-time leading rusher: “He’s still an outstanding player. He’s got a foot injury that’s going to take a little bit of time to get right. So we put him on IR, but there’s nothing that says we can’t bring him back at some point after his eight weeks are up.
“He’s an outstanding player, and he’s an even better person. When you have a veteran player like that that has a chance to spend time from a rookie, the rookie can really learn from him. You can see that Jonathan has had an impact on Saquon (Barkley).”