MOBILE, Ala. — This week, New York Giants quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney got a promotion.
It was just for a week, but Tierney got to experience life as one of the offensive coordinators for the Senior Bowl. But, according to the players he coached on the National team, you would hardly know OC wasn’t already his title.
“Honestly, if I didn’t know he wasn’t a coordinator where he was, I would have thought he was,” Penn State tight end Theo Johnson said.
The 37-year-old Tierney joined Brian Daboll’s Giants staff in 2022 after working with Daboll in Buffalo for four years. He also spent time with Daboll at Alabama. Back in the state this week, he bounced around the field during three practices, running the National offense. Tierney had a front-row seat to the top prospects in this year’s draft class, including the three quarterbacks on the National team: Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., Oregon’s Bo Nix and Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman.
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“He’s been able to teach us a lot,” Nix said. “Him and (Senior Bowl quarterbacks coach Israel Woolfork from the Arizona Cardinals) both have done a really good job with us and the quarterback room. They both got a lot of knowledge that they are pouring into us and just appreciate their time.”
Tierney has also kept the mood light.
“He’s been awesome,” Hartman said. “He’s got a lot of energy, and he’s been really impactful because he makes it stress-free. I think that’s the big thing. This can be a very stressful environment. The entire coaching staff but obviously as him being the OC, he’s able to really dial everything up and then dial it back in a sense where we can go out and just execute and play our game.”
At one point in Wednesday’s practice, there was a punt return contest that featured Tierney. While his side lost, he completed the team’s losing pushups in good spirits. As he got up, Minnesota receiver Brevyn Spann-Ford dapped Tierney up, later saying it was “awesome” to see Tierney’s engagement with players.
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While Tierney embraced the lighthearted moment, he put a big emphasis on helping his players adjust to an NFL pro-style offense in a short period. Multiple players said Tierney made it easy as they tried to pack in as much as they could about what the league will expect from them. Tierney told Giants team reporter John Schmeelk that he initially put a game plan together but then opened up the process to other coaches on the team once they got together.
QB’s Coach Shea Tierney on serving as OC for the National Team at Senior Bowl pic.twitter.com/8DRwf5YI0j
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Woolfork said Tierney’s been great not only for the players but for the coaches, too, as they picked up the offense.
“His ability to give you the information, give you great coaching points, and give you a plan for success, I think’s been awesome,” Woolfork said.
“It’s been really fun to get around the other staff members first of all, and the people at the Senior Bowl did a great job of putting it together,” Tierney told The Athletic. “So having a good time with them putting the plan together and just kind of making adjustments has been a really cool deal.”
Hartman elaborated on the offensive plan.
“It’s enough to let us play and not be out there just running base concepts, but it’s not too much where we’re out there thinking and not letting it fly,” Hartman said. “I think all the quarterbacks kind of agree on the fact that we’re gonna go out there and play, and he’s gonna let us go play. He’s not making it about himself and not making it, ‘Oh, I got to do this and make this play.’ He’s like, ‘Hey, these are the plays, and you’re gonna go execute them.’ He gives us a lot of confidence.”
While Tierney interviewed for the Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator opening last season, that role went to Dave Canales who was recently named the Panthers’ head coach.
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This coaching cycle, Tierney’s name popped up as a potential in-house replacement if current Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka departed for a head coaching gig. Kafka interviewed with two teams this season (Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks) after going through the process with four organizations last offseason.
While Kafka did not get a coaching job and remains the Giants’ OC, Tierney made sure not to waste his opportunity this week. If there comes a time when he is asked to serve as an offensive coordinator, either with the Giants or another team, he’ll have valuable experience to draw from.
(Photo of Tierney: Gerald Herbert / Associated Press)