Disappointed in Mike Holmgren’s Press Conference


DETROIT - AUGUST 28: Mike Holmgren President of the Cleveland Browns watches the action prior to the start of the preseason game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on August 28, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)Mike Holmgren just addressed the media in Berea. It was his first official press conference since the start of the season, and oh, do we have questions.

The most important topic on everyone’s mind? What else:

What’s the plan with quarterback moving forward?

You could almost copy and paste that sentence into a recap of every Browns season since 1999, it’s always the question.

Did our new straight as an arrow, credible, and confident leader want to actually answer that question however? No way.

Did he take charge and set the course for the team? Nope. He was ambiguous, calculating, vague, and predictable.

He was Eric Mangini, or LeBron James - He spoke with intentional misdirection.

Not that I am surprised, we all know Mangini will be wearing his FU Belichick suit Sunday against the Patriots.

But the franchise is always bigger than one game (unless it’s the Super Bowl), and Holmgren ran away from two questions he absolutely needs to answer for us, and was specifically brought in to address.

First shot right off the bat!

Question 1: “What’s the plan moving forward with [Colt McCoy]?”

Holmgren: “First of all I was proud of him. I thought he gave his teammates confidence, and I think it looked like the game was not too big for him. But as far as what the plan moving forward will be – I won’t answer that. That will be up to the coaching staff to decide. That’s a coaching decision.” 

Question 2: “When do you think the team needs to find out what they have in Colt?”

Holmgren: “That’s the discussion that we’ll have to have. As soon it looks like you have a choice to make, you’ll sit down, have that conversion, and then make the choice.”

How many things do you hate about these statements?  I’ve got at least five but whose counting:

  • 1) I disagree completely with the “coaches decision” statement. It’s the president’s job to chart the course, not the coach’s. The coach gets the team ready for Sunday.
  • 2) Those are total Mangini non-descript responses. Holmgren was brought in to be the Brown’s credible leader, so we didn’t have to listen to that garble anymore. WHAT’S THE PLAN!
  • 3) These are the first tough questions Holmgren has had to answer and he avoided them. He joked with the media the rest of the time, but when the stuff got real he was out. He’s like that boss who only wants to give employees the good news; take credit, but not the blame.
  • 4) It sounds like he isn’t in on these meetings, or watching tape with his scouts and Mangini’s coaches. Really? Again, what are you getting paid to do?
  • 5) This coaching staff is destined to make the wrong decision, and that sounds like Holmgren handing Mangini the rope to hang himself with. Way to be a credible leader. He is obviously not on the same page as Mangini, and is giving himself escape options for next year, to coach himself or hire someone else. I mean is this George Kokinis vs. Eric Mangini, or Phil Savage vs. Romeo Crennel all over again? Thought we were past all that.

Did he really think he could sit back and let this team run itself? Nope, not the Browns.

He was brought in to turn around, what is in my opinion, a cursed franchise. He hired some new scouts, brought in a new general manager, brought in a financial consultant, all good moves.

But the Browns needs his guidance now, on this issue that’s supposedly in his wheel-house, and he clearly intends to duck the storm hiding in the basement.

It feels like he makes $50-million to give us peace of mind, so at least it’s not Randy Lerner running the team, so we don’t bombard Lerner with e-mails and threats to boycott games.

Nah, this is not a Toyota Care commercial. Step in there and make a decision Mike.

Yes, choosing between Seneca Wallace/Jake Delhomme and Colt McCoy moving forward is an extremely tough decision. Wallace was playing OK when he was injured, Colt just played the previous two Super Bowls winners, in their house, and did a good job. He even won a game. He’s a rookie and Seneca is a veteran who probably gives you a better chance to win today. Colt might hold the keys to the future.

Guess what… every Cleveland Browns’ question is this convoluted. That’s the job. If these decisions came easy, we wouldn’t need Holmgren, and we wouldn’t be in the shape we’re in right now.

Trent Dilfer or Charlie Frye, Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson, Colt McCoy or Seneca Wallace/Jake Delhomme, or are we drafting a guy next year…  Same old, same old.

This is why the Browns aren’t getting any better, they routinely fail to figure out the most important team position in professional sports. The Browns are what they are because they’ve started 16 quarterbacks over the past 11 years. Don’t even ask how many QBs the Colts, or Packers have started in that time frame.

Good for him he can rip a salary-cap analyst away from the Dolphins, they don’t win you games.

Holmgren is here because this list is a joke: Ty Detmer, Tim Couch, Kelly Holcomb, Doug Pederson, Jeff Garcia, Trent Dilfer, Derek Anderson, Charlie Frye, Brady Quinn, Spergon Wynn, Luke McCown, Ken Dorsey, Bruce Gradkowski, Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace, Colt McCoy.

I am not going to get into who I think should be the quarterback for the Browns moving forward, or for the coming game against the Patriots. I liked watching Colt McCoy play, and I can see why they should go back to Seneca Wallace. I can see the advantages and disadvantages of playing both players. I admit it’s a very tough decision, one that could advance, or set the Browns back, years. I want no part of making that call.

But I am not president of the Cleveland Browns. Mike Holmgren is. It’s his job to make that call, we need him on that call. He was brought in to make this call specifically.

When the Browns are in a tough spot, and are facing their now annual game of Russian Roulette regarding their quarterback, he can’t be a talking head anymore.

Most importantly, this was Holmgren’s chance to prove he is the executive leading his lieutenants to success. It was his chance to show how different the Browns front office had become, to show us the turmoil and turnover, was over.

Instead, predictably, it was more of the same. He passed the most important decision of the Browns season off to Eric Magini, so he could fire him for messing it up, so he could coach the team himself next year, so he could be the one who wasn’t wrong.

It’s still every man for himself, instead of every man for the Browns.

  • Ray Seuffert

    Excellent article. Well written and accurate. To often in Corporate America are “leaders” selecting and promoting subordinates who will not put pressure on them to be accountable, but only be a scapegoat in the event of problems.

  • http://www.clevelandbrownsweblog.com Clayton

    I must be missing something. I see NO controversy, at least NONE that should exist. The only thing that matters, really matters, in professional sports is winning, whether pretty, ugly or indifferent. Colt got the nod in the most trying circumstances – against our arch rival at Heinz Field. He played decent and gave us a chance to win, notwithstanding the turnovers. Then he presided over our victory against the World Champs on the road. Yeah sure – Bowens stole the show, but why in the world would we change that without good reason? It is Colt’s job to lose, period.

  • http://orlandobrownsbackers.com Durante

    I usually don’t comment on another Browns Blog, but I felt compelled to point out a few things about the Press Conference. First, He specifically said at least twice that the meeting to resolve the starting quarterback decision for the New England game has not happened yet. Certainly you would not expect him to discuss the result of a meeting before the meeting. He also specifically stated that once that decision is made, and he was clear to state twice that “you have a meeting, you have a discussion, and then you make a decision”, then they ( the organization ) would announce the decision of that meeting.
    Secondly, I would be very curious to know if you have any references to which we could see video of a President of Football Operations publicly choosing the roster for the upcoming game. Not that I doubt that Holmgren could provide that type of leadership, but I just don’t think there is precedence for such a power-grab. If he is going to be true to his original master plan, which was to detach from Roster decisions and permit the Coaching Staff the opportunity to genuinely chart the course of that Roster, then it is a bit presumptive now to expect him to run in and start pulling levers and strings “because he has to lead”. Even if he said “I would prefer that McCoy played” that would be enough to prevent the true discussions from resulting in a decision that was unanimous amongst those in the room. Certainly anyone who feels they are better at making decisions about quarterback development than Mike Holmgren, I am certain your resume will be well received in Berea.

  • Terry

    I just do not understand peoples infatuation with Seneca Wallace, nor do I understand how he “gives us the best chance to win”. He has been in the league 8 years and has started as many games. Do ya think there is a reason for that? He is not smart enough to pour piss out of his boot with the directions on the heel. All smoke and mirrors from Holmgren, just like from Mangini, and the previous coaches and g.m.’s. The Browns do not need a quarterback that “plays ok”. They need one that makes plays and takes control of the game. Wallace does neither of these. He is a cheap backup, and nothing more. History has proved it.

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  • DK

    wow. you sound like your wife just left you. get over it. its football. they dont have to tell you anything.

    i love when fans feel entitled to anything other than what they’re given. which is whatever the heck they feel like giving us. its their team. dont like it? go buy your own and stop complaining.

    regardless of what anyone says, you seem to be the type to always complain. youre what give cleveland fans a bad name and why no one wants to play here. you do nothing to contribute to the team other than dissention. support them and enjoy the game itself.

    and stop whining.

    • Terry

      Who is that aimed at? How did I insinuate that they owed me anything? What are you “contributing to the team”? Why can’t you find the shift key or use correct punctuation? Is there an i and a c between the d and the k? I’ll bet there is.