Oct 16, 2011; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren on the field before the game against the Oakland Raiders at the O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Holmgren's Interview and the Name that Never Comes Up


Mike Holmgren went on Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle to discuss the trade of Trent Richardson with Dave Mahler and not only sounded bitter, but managed to make it clear why the Browns had to get rid of him as well as actually undermining what he did here.  Holmgren managed to underline just how bad he was here in what seemingly trying to cause an issue within the Browns front office.  Some of his points were understandable, but the way he presented them was so ineffective that it did far more harm than good.  It was also hard not to notice what name did not come up the entire interview, much of it about quarterbacks; Brandon Weeden.

“I struggled with it.  Philosophically, if I am the coach and someone came in anywhere and did that, I’d say ‘OK, fire me, or I’m going to quit. Or we’re going to both go into the owner and talk about this and the we’ll see who’s still standing.’ ”

They did fire you, Mike.  And it is certainly understandable that a head coach would be furious if the general manager made a move with one of their players without them being in on the discussion and ultimately signing off on the move.  According to the Browns, Rob Chudzinski was involved in the conversation and ultimately agreed.  Perhaps there are some that will call that Chud just going along with the company line, but that is what is coming from Berea right now.  Later in the interview, Holmgren acknowledged that he thought Chud was okay with the move and that he simply would not have been.  Of course not; Holmgren picked Richardson.

Did Mike Holmgren work in a situation in Green Bay where Ron Wolf would just make moves without telling him?  That is a bizarre statement to make.  Other than when he was working as the Packers head coach, he was his own general manager at the beginning of his run with the Seahawks.  So either he is just trying to stir the pot or he is revealing something about his past with the Packers that explains why he wanted total control in Seattle.  More than likely it is the former but there is definitely a question to be asked.

“How do you make your team better by trading your best player?” Holmgren said. “He’s the best offensive player. He’s a valuable, valuable guy.”

Is this a senior moment or is Holmgren legitimately trying to suggest that Trent Richardson was the best offensive player on the Browns?  That Joe Thomas guy is pretty good and at his size, he is tough to miss.  And while Richardson battled to get the 1,317 total yards and 12 touchdowns through the knee injury and then broken ribs, Trent, himself, would likely be the first to say he was frustrated with having an average of 3.6 yards per carry.  He had 950 yards rushing.  That was good enough for 18th in the NFL last year.  Accounting for people with over 100 carries last year, Richardson’s average was 40th in the NFL.

Yes, he was hurt, but saying he was the Browns best offensive player means the offense was terrible.  That is the offense you built, Mike.  So by saying that Trent Richardson is the best offensive player on the team (which is wrong), Holmgren admitting that he did an awful job building the offense here in Cleveland.  Maybe Richardson could have been and would have been the best offensive player, but he was not in the time he was here.

“To me, they’re putting all their eggs for next season,” said Holmgren. “They started off 0-2, they couldn’t score any points, I think it was a little bit of a knee-jerk reaction. There’s a little bit of a ‘what’s going on?’ I don’t know this for sure but I can sense it.

Yes they are.  The offense they inherited from you was not good.  They could not score points.  They may have a few pieces in Jordan Cameron, Josh Gordon (if he can keep his nose clean), and Mitchell Schwartz, but they need a quarterback, another wide receiver, and another tight end even if they kept Richardson.  You did not leave them those players, so they made a move to get themselves in position to address them, especially a quarterback.

Holmgren went onto discuss how he offered the entire draft to the Colts to move up and take Andrew Luck.  There is no reason to suggest he did not.  This came up when he was discussing how difficult it was to move up and that while the Browns would have ammo, they ultimately could not move up to get Robert Griffin III.  But wait a minute, Mike.  You drafted the Browns franchise quarterback in Weeden, right?  Weeden’s name never came up; not once.  Holmgren was there to passionately defend Richardson and that pick, but did not even mention the name of the quarterback he took in the first round; does not sound like he believes in Weeden any more than the current front office.  With all the talk about quarterbacks and this whole move being a knee-jerk reaction, he does not suggest the Browns should give Weeden more time, that Weeden has talent and can be a good quarterback in this league; he pretended Weeden does not even exist.

All in all, Holmgren showed sour grapes because the front office moved his guy, Richardson.  He said he was the best player on the offense, which is simply not true and only works to emphasize how bad the offense Holmgren built here was, which only made the decision to fire him that much more obvious.  And top of everything else, the so-called quarterback-guru did not even bring up the name of the guy he took to be the franchise quarterback of the team.  So what exactly did this interview accomplish other than highlighting how disastrous his attempt to build an offense was here?

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Tags: Brandon Weeden Cleveland Browns Mike Holmgren Trent Richardson

  • Largebill

    Holmgren set this franchise back with his incompetence. He felt a sense of urgency so he used a first round pick on an elderly QB. He got snookered into trading up to get Richardson. I love big strong running backs, but there is no need to draft one in first round let alone stupidly trade up to get one. They wear out quickly and scouting often fails to identify which ones will excel in pro’s. Holmgren should just count his blessings (Lerner’s $$$) and keep his fat mouth shut!

    • YourMother

      And you clearly are not a 2013 season ticket holder, paying for a product falsely advertised! Hell, you may not be much of a Browns fan at all, huh?

      • Pete Smith

        Personally, I don’t see the trade as a step back. Richardson was a very average runner while here in Cleveland. He might have gotten better and been the dominant player he should have been, but he was not in the time he was here. They can still get average production out of the running game with an extra 1st round pick.
        They made some huge strides with the defense. The front seven is incredibly talented with the additions of Kruger, Bryant and Mingo. It is a legitimate strength now.
        Coming into this year, the offense was loaded with question marks. Those questions seem to have been answered. The Browns need a quarterback, wide receiver, and another tight end. With this trade, they need a running back but they not have a 1st round pick to attack these needs and running backs are easily obtained after round 1. Now, if the front office blows the 2014 Draft and is unable to get a franchise quarterback, it is a complete failure.
        If they can get a franchise QB, having Josh Gordon with his noise clean hopefully, having Jordan Cameron as well as Davone Bess helps to get that player going. Adding another receiver, another tight end who can block inline and now a running back seem relatively easy to address and the Browns can be a legitimate contender. But it all comes down to getting that quarterback. 5 picks in the first 3 rounds, 10 picks overall.
        And that defense should only get better. It’s not a huge step back and it is not blowing it up in my opinion

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  • YourMother

    Pretty clueless you are huh? Either that or just selective memory. How can anyone feel that this was a good deal for the Browns? Especially after seeing what this new Regime is capable in draft situations! They came in knowing the status of the team they were taking over (or at least one would hope). And knew of the lopsidedness in favor of the defense. Yet they come in and basically ignore the offensive side of the ball during draft and off-season acquisitions. Makes absolutely no sense! Just take a look at what Holmgren has done for the Browns through the draft the last few years, and the players that are here playing instrumental roles because of him. How long they’ll be here though is of concern because of the massive egos in the front office today! Tell me.. in your most honest.. non-suckass opinion.. Do you feel as though this Regime.. with all the money they had to spend this off-season and the picks that were made or not made.. has played it’s cards right and have hit on “their” decisions they have made?? Undeniably the Browns were making strides before the changes.. now clearly we have taken a huge step back! Richardson was the Browns best offensive weapon and this is what Holmgren was saying so lets not make it something it’s not… you know.. like your writing career!

    • Ben Kowal

      You’re really dumb, so it’s hard to pick a point to begin at refuting your post. For starters, the new regime is smart enough to realize the draft class in April was godawful, and wisely loaded the rifle with picks. This is wise because of the talent level, but also because it would take a season to see what they needed to fix with the current coaching hires in charge. If you want proof this regime knows what it’s doing, take a look at our defense. What was a sub-mediocre defense before it was compounded by the switch back to 3-4 is currently a monster; mid top-10 in yards and points allowed in spite of the offense of this roster never staying on the field longer than 60 seconds at a time. Without the new regime’s personnel expertise, we don’t get Kruger, Groves, Mingo, Bryant, or the 3rd ranked rushing defense after being godawful against the run for a decade. In regards to Richardson, if you strip the name from the equation and just say “Indianapolis trades Cleveland their 1st round pick for a running back with an injury history and a 3.5 ypc average that doesn’t play third down” it sounds pretty damn good, and that’s exactly what you’re looking at. Name brand isn’t worth anything in the NFL – it’s all production, and while I like Trent and I hope he succeeds he was just another mediocre piece in a mediocre puzzle. Cashing him out for a new first round pick gives the current regime the ammo they need to build (note, not “rebuild” because there’s no damn offense left from the Shurmur era) an offense in skill and quality to match the defense. Lastly, if you want to bitch about egos getting in the way of making good decisions, do yourself a favor. Take a breath and ask yourself this question: “Am I defending Mike Holmgren in an argument about letting your ego get in the way?” If the answer is yes, shut the hell up.