Pat Shurmur's big moment in the spotlight will come at 11 a.m. Friday, when he gets his lone chance to make a first impression on New York. And while that impression may not matter nearly as much as how much he wins in the next few seasons, it's still important and many people will be watching.
Will he take charge with a Patton-style speech like Tom Coughlin did 14 years ago? Or will he become the punchline for the internet like Ben McAdoo did two years ago when he showed up in his oversized suit?
And just as importantly: How will he answer some of the key questions involving the Giants? Will he be direct like new GM Dave Gettleman was, seemingly confident he had a plan? Or will he speak in meaningless clichés, sounding like a man with no actual plan at all?
Whatever it is, and whatever he says and does on Friday, expect it to be dissected for days and weeks to come. In particular, here are five of the biggest topics and questions everyone will be watching when this coach, unknown to so many in the New York area, takes to the stage:
What image will he project to the public?
Don't get too caught up in this, but it matters. Coughlin set a tone in 2004 when he gave a long and memorable speech at his introductory press conference where he set fire to everything that happened under the Jim Fassel regime, claimed he could fix it all (including, incredibly, the Giants' injury problems), and vowed to restore Giants pride. By the end of it, several team employees in attendance seemed ready to run through a wall.
Contrast that with McAdoo's giant suit, quirky clichés ("evolution, not revolution") and unwillingness to provide details and that became an image that defined him. Coughlin was always seen as a general, the man who was unquestionably in charge, who was going to whip his team into shape or send them packing. McAdoo was always seen as someone in a little over his head, and a character a bit too small in stature to fill up the big suit.
Fair or not, that's the way it was, which is why Shurmur's first moment in the sun will be interesting. He's a blank slate to most in New York. Few remember him from his days as the Browns head coach, and he hasn't been a coordinator that generated a lot of buzz. He seems bland. The Giants are already trying to shape him as an "adult," as Gettleman called him, an all-business, professional football coach.
We'll see if that fits. Hopefully the suit fits, too.
What are his long-term thoughts about Eli Manning and short-term thoughts about Davis Webb?
We know Shurmur told the Giants he thinks he can win with Eli Manning, but Shurmur is also aware Manning is 37 and the Giants need a long-term plan. What's unknown is how much Shurmur thinks Manning has left, and what he thinks of Davis Webb.
Both questions are huge, and have to be answered before the NFL draft. It seems safe to assume Shurmur knows Manning is nearing the end and likely won't be a Giant beyond the end of his contract in 2019. And with the Giants sitting on the No. 2 pick they have what they hope is a unique opportunity to draft their next franchise quarterback.
Whether they do or not will depend on the Giants thoughts on Webb. Gettleman, at the Senior Bowl this week, told the media "I know nothing" about Webb - a bit alarming, though not surprising since Webb never played as a rookie. Webb was the heir apparent under McAdoo and former GM Jerry Reese. Shurmur undoubtedly scouted him last year while doing his pre-draft work for the Vikings. If he liked him, maybe he could be the Giants' future.
If he doesn't … Hello Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen!
Can he really call plays and run a team at the same time?
He seems to think so - at least that's what Gettleman said. And maybe he can. But it's an issue that needs to be addressed because it was a major problem for McAdoo. It also, by the way, wasn't a huge success for Shurmur in Cleveland. He called his own plays his first year, but the offense was terrible, so he hired an offensive coordinator (Brad Childress) to call plays for him the second year.
This is where Shurmur's experience comes in, and what the Giants hope are lessons learned from his first head coaching experience. If he wants to try calling his own plays again, it'll be interesting to hear how he thinks it'll work better this time and what went wrong the first time he tried it.
What's his Odell Beckham plan (and can he get Odell Beckham to buy in)?
Odell Beckham is a great player, a hard worker and his teammates and coaches love him, but he doesn't come without issues. From his on-field meltdowns (Josh Norman) to his bizarre and (one time) vulgar touchdown celebrations, to his post-game tantrums (banging his head against a door in Philadelphia, punching his fist through a wall in Green Bay), to his party boat trip to Miami to … well, you get the idea.
Will Shurmur do like McAdoo and Coughlin and take the bad with all Beckham's awesomeness and only make a half-hearted effort (if that) to rein him in? Or will he be the one who finally approaches him with a strong hand, reaches Beckham and gets him to grow up for the sake of himself and the team? Don't expect an answer to that on Friday, but listen to the initial message that Shurmur tries to send.
Bringing the young and fiery James Bettcher as defensive coordinator seems like a good start for Shurmur, but he's got some personality issues he'll have to address on that side of the ball. Also, Bettcher ran a 3-4 in Arizona. Will he convert the Giants from a 4-3? And do they have the personnel to do that? Olivier Vernon would probably make for a good edge-rusher in that scheme, but the linebacking corps might need an upgrade. Shurmur should shed some light on all that.