MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Mike Zimmer pulled no punches this offseason trying to improve an offense that ranked 29th in the league last year, hiring a pair of former head coaches — Tony Sparano as offensive line coach, and Pat Shurmur as tight ends coach.
Along with offensive coordinator Norv Turner, that’s three former head coaches on Zimmer’s staff. WCCO’s David McCoy talked to the new guys about fitting in.
Three former head coaches, and the current head coach too. That’s a lot of strong personalities on one staff.
“I think the good thing is, with Mike, everybody knows here who the boss is,” Sparano said.
Obviously Mike Zimmer didn’t hire Tony Sparano and Pat Shurmur to create conflict. He hired them to contribute their wealth of experience and expertise.
“We all have a general respect for one another. And we understand that we all have a job to do, and that’s first and foremost,” Shurmur said. “And then, as we see things, we draw back on our experiences. The wheel spins pretty well, just help it spin a little better.”
It is a little different when it’s no longer spinning around you. But in the years since going from head coaches to position coaches, Shurmur and Sparano say they’re comfortable with where their careers have taken them.
“I’ve had my turn, and it was fun,” Sparano said. “I think earlier on, maybe after the Miami situation there, for me it was a little bit humbling when you’re in charge of everything and you go to being in charge of maybe a room of 10.”
“I’ve learned over time right now to just worry about farming my land,” Sparano said.
“I think if we lose sight of the fact that we’re here to put together a winning football team, regardless of what it takes and regardless of the role, when guys start worrying about who did this and who gets credit and all that, then I think you start to get distracted, and that’s certainly not my mindset.
“We all want to be with a winner. We all want to dream big and I think we’ve got a team that’s got a shot to do a lot of really good things,” Shurmer said.
That’s why Zimmer brought them here.