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.

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

“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?