Broncos hire ex-Giants coach Pat Shurmur as play-caller
Shurmur becomes the Broncos' fifth offensive play-caller in five seasons and inherits an attack that features youngsters Drew Lock, Dalton Risner, Noah Fant, Courtland Sutton and Phillip Lindsay but also needs a major makeover to challenge Kansas City's supremacy in the AFC West.
Shurmur replaces Rich Scangarello, who struggled in his first season as an NFL play-caller in 2019 although the Broncos (7-9) won games behind three different starting quarterbacks, including the rookie Lock, who went 4-1 down the stretch.
Shurmur drew interest from several teams, including the Chicago Bears, after his firing two weeks ago by the Giants following a 4-12 finish in his second year.
In a statement, Fangio called Shurmur "an established play-caller with significant experience leading an offense as both a coordinator and head coach."
"Having coached against Pat for a number of years, he's always impressed me. His track record of developing younger players is outstanding," Fangio said. "Pat brings a collaborative approach to working with the staff as well as a flexibility to adjust the offense to our players and opponents. We're excited to add someone of his caliber to our coaching staff."
Shurmur is the second member of Fangio's staff with NFL head coaching experience, joining offensive line coach Mike Munchak.
A 32-year coaching veteran, Shurmur has 21 seasons of NFL experience, including the last 11 years as a head coach or offensive coordinator. He was head coach in Cleveland from 2011-12 and New York from 2018-19, where he fast-tracked the development of rookie QB Daniel Jones last season. He also served as interim coach for the Eagles at the end of 2015.
Shurmur also served as offensive coordinator with the Vikings (2016-17), Eagles (2013-15) and Rams (2009-10).
Fangio originally said he didn't plan to change any of his coordinators but changed his mind two weeks later after reviewing the Broncos' offense that managed fewer than 18 points a game and regressed in most categories under Scangarello's watch.
Denver was the only team in 2019 to finish the season in the bottom five in points scored, total offense, third-down success rate and red zone success.
The Broncos scored 16 or fewer points in half of their games and veteran QB Joe Flacco criticized the team's play-calling as too conservative following a 15-13 loss at Indianapolis that dropped the team to 2-6. Flacco went on injured reserve with a neck injury later that week and Brandon Allen went 1-2 before Lock took over for the final five games.
The Broncos were outscored 53-9 by the Chiefs in their two losses to Kansas City last season and knew they had to make great strides on offense to try to end a four-year playoff drought and reel in the Chiefs, who have won the AFC West all four of those seasons.
Fangio now has a more experienced coordinator who can add more downfield passing as well as the jet motion and modernized formations that Patrick Mahomes is operating so deftly in Kansas City, where the AFC championship will be played Sunday between the Chiefs and Tennessee Titans.
The Broncos' OC job has been as much of a turnstile of late as head coach and quarterback with Rick Dennison (2016), Mike McCoy (2017), Bill Musgrave (2018) and Scangarello all flailing in the years since the Broncos won Super Bowl 50 in Peyton Manning's final season.