Mara lauds Shurmur’s demeanor, says he is “very comfortable” with hiring him
Q: How heartened are you by the fact that Eli Manning will be your quarterback next season?
A: Obviously it’s something that we wanted. One thing about Pat was that he was very positive about Eli in the interview. Certainly that was a positive.
Q: What kind of day is this for the Giants’ franchise?
A: Hopefully it’s a new beginning for us and gets us back to a place we want to be. Establish a winning culture. Its been a rough five years.
Q: When in the process did you settle on Pat or start to settle on Pat as your guy?
A: He gave as good an interview, and I’ve interviewed a lot of coaches in my time, that’s about as good an interview as I’ve ever been involved with. Just the more Discussion we had about him and the more research we did, particularly with people who have coached against him, played against him and played for him. It was just all positive. We had a great vibe right from the beginning with this right through the end of the process.
Q: What was so good about that interview?
A: He just was so Professional. His philosophy on building a team. When he said, ‘you have to be able to block them,’ that is something that hit home with me. Obviously, we’ve had our issues there. He and Dave (Gettleman) seem to mesh very well together. You have to have that, too. You have to have a coach and general manager, they don’t have to agree all the time. In fact, you don’t want them to agree all the time, but they have to be able to communicate, respect one another and have similar philosophies. I think we have that now.
Q: The words “maturity, adult, professionalism,” those are things that have been thrown around. Why are those important at this time?
A: It’s such a tough job, especially coming off of a season that we came off of with all the issues in the locker room and everything else. You need someone who is a quote adult unquote. Someone who is a professional and has a certain demeanor to walk in there and start to straighten things out. I think he has all those qualities, but time will tell.
Q: You were advocating the point that Geno Smith started. You were advocating at least taking a look at Geno and Davis Webb. At that point, did you still have in mind that Eli was still your guy or have you changed?
A: I’ve always had that feeling. At the point where our season was, it made sense to at least see what we had in the other two guys. I want to forget about that, so stop bringing it up. It was something that was mishandled and I’ve taken responsibility for that. It falls on my shoulders. I wish we would’ve gotten a little more of a look at Davis Webb, but we have the opportunity to do that now.
Q: I just bring it up in the context that Eli seems more secure in his job now, or just as secure as he has at any time in the last 14 years, just based on what you, Dave and now Pat have said.
A: I don’t think that’s an unfair statement. I think both Dave and Pat are very positive about him and that’s important.
Q: We know you had six candidates. Did you explore anyone else beyond that?
A: I mean we talked about a lot of guys other than the six, but you have to limit it at some point. We had six guys that we could certainly envision being head coaches here and we ultimately decided on Pat, and I’m very happy with that. I just told him if he handles the rest of his tenure as smooth as he just handled his press conference, he will be very successful.
Q: It seems as though him and Dave, based on what he just said, are very compatible. Am I underestimating that?
A: That is important. I don’t think they have to agree all the time. I don’t want them to agree all the time. I want there to be healthy discussions between them, but they have to be able to communicate and respect one another. I think that will certainly be the case here.
Q: How early in the process did you realize not only that you wanted him, but that he really wanted you?
A: He made it pretty clear right from the beginning that he wanted this job. That really resonated with me. You want someone that really wants to be here and thinks that there is something special about this franchise, as opposed to just it just being another job. He communicated that very well right from the beginning. This was not the easiest decision. We had some great candidates and there was a lot of discussion back and fourth. At the end of the day, we all felt very comfortable with him.
Q: What about the sense that he’s not the flashy pick or a flashy guy?
A: I wasn’t looking for flash. I was looking for someone who I could envision leading us in the future. As Dave said, it was a professional and an adult. I think he checks all the boxes.
Q: John, is there still a spot for Spags (Steve Spagnuolo) in this organization?
A: I think that’s up to Pat. We let him fill the staff. We’ve hired a defensive coordinator now, so I’m not sure that anything less than that is going to be acceptable to Steve, but who knows?
Q: You stood here two years ago and thought you had the right guy. What gives you the confidence that this is the right guy?
A: Two more years of experience. Pat has had more experience. Not only has he had some head coaching experience, but he has had a lot of coordinating experience. He’s older, he’s more mature, I think he has learned what didn’t work in the past. I think you can see in there that everything about him just cries out that he is a professional. We have every reason to think that he’s going to be a head coach here for a long time.
Q: When you talked to Pat and all the coaching candidates, they had other jobs and weren’t following things as closely as we were or the fans were. Did you bring that stuff up or did you just say clean slate, we will leave the past in the past or do you say we will learn from those mistakes?
A: You want him to be able to come in and I like what he said in there that everyone starts with a clean slate. He certainly was aware of some of the issues that we were dealing with, although maybe not in great detail. We got the feeling very early on that he was mature enough and professional enough to deal with all those issues.
Q: Has Eli made it clear to you that if you were to take a quarterback at No. 2, he’s OK with that?
A: He said that to Dave, yes. I didn’t have that discussion. That was part of the discussion that Dave had with him, yes. Yes, he’d be OK with that. He’s a competitor and a professional. I don’t think that’s going to phase him in the least.
Q: Obviously you have the key pieces in place now. How do you move forward? Obviously Odell wants a contract in his fifth-year option.
A: We will deal with that at the appropriate time. That is not necessarily right now. I’ve said before many times that we want him to be a Giant. We will get something done at some point. I first want Pat to sit down with him and for them to have a good understanding of how we are going to act going forward. I have a lot of confidence that it will work out well, but we’ll see.