Giants tight end Rhett Ellison played under Pat Shurmur with the Minnesota Vikings in 2016. Now that Shurmur is New York's head coach, he is growing more familiar with Shurmur's approach.
"Since I've been in this system, I can help, I can answer questions to my group," the 29-year-old Ellison said on Monday. "But also, like I said, the coaches that he brought in, they are doing an outstanding job of teaching the system. So yeah, it helps that I know the system, but I'm not per se teaching, that's what the coaches are for."
When Shurmur was Minnesota's tight ends coach in 2016 and spent time as interim offensive coordinator that same season, Ellison's numbers were miniscule; he only had nine catches for 57 yards in 15 games.
But last year, Ellison's first season with the Giants, the Vikings ranked 10th in the league in passing yards per game and points per game, and seventh in rushing yards per game, en route to the NFC championship game thanks to Shurmur's offense.
"Shurmur, he is what you're going to get, like that's who he is," Ellison said. "He doesn't change around different people or in different positions, he is who he is. He's real, he's a great communicator and he's a great teacher. The speed that we're picking up this offense is really awesome and that's a credit to him and the coaches that he hired."
Ellison had 24 catches for 235 yards and two touchdowns in 2017 with New York, but having played under Shurmur's offense before, he is trying to help other teammates get acclimated as the Giants enter the final week of organized team activities.
"It's too early to tell exactly what this offense is going to look like," Ellison said. "It's, what, week three of OTAs, so we're just getting the playbook in, we're trying to do a little more move the ball and see where we're at. But yeah, its still just too early to tell what's going on.
"When I'm talking [about] system, it's really just the language of how the plays are called because obviously football is football and it's the game situations that are going to decide what plays you're running. But as far as the system, it's more number-based, but also concept-based. A lot of the systems are word-based and some systems are numbers, so it's just a combination of that. So, yeah, that's what I mean when I say different system."
Several other current and former players have been fans of Shurmur's style of coaching, including Phil Simms and Landon Collins. And Ellison, too, has said Shurmur has been trying to get the rest of the team to move forward from last year's 3-13 season.
"You have to look yourself in the mirror, you have to look at why we were 3-13 individually," Ellison said. "And then that's what the offseason is. You're building on that, you're trying to get better at your weaknesses, strengthen your strengths, make the corrections and just changing the culture. Because you obviously don't want that 3-13 culture to carry over into this season.