Disappointed in Mike Holmgren’s Press Conference


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.