There is a reason it’s so hard to love the Browns
And it’s not the players ..OK sometimes when our 2nd round long snapper dribbles back an extra point attempt it’s the players, but by far my beef is with the front office. And its not necessarily Heckert as he has yet to put together a terrible draft. The real problem lies at the top with Mike Holmgren, because Mike Holmgren settles for complacency.
The Mike Holmgren era, est. Dec 21, 2009.
Mike Holmgren schedules a meeting to fire current head coach Eric Mangini, and instead ends up taking no action. If you’re going to get rid of your head coach, whether deserved or not, you do it year one and get a fresh start. You don’t waste a year with a lame duck head coach, effectively setting yourself back a year in forming the team the way you want it.
Moral of Year 1
Holmgren was not ready to make decisions as president.
Now less deserving of the ax, Eric Mangini is fired after a 4 game win streak, showing that Mike Holmgren intended to move on all along. The subsequent hiring of Pat Schurmur occurs hastily without much of an extensive coaching search. When pressed to explain his thought process, Holmgren hammered at creating a front office all on the same page. It seems to me that a head coaching position ought to be one of the most important and non-replaceable choices you make as a front office, not just one you dial up and see how it goes. But alas, Schurmur joins Holmgren and Heckert as West Coast pals.
I was leery of Schurmur due to his lack of success at his previous job at offensive coordinator in St Louis with Sam Bradford, and even less reassured with each Eric Wedge-esque press conference Schurmur presented, but I granted Holmgren his logic.
Then Holmgren decides not to hire an offensive coordinator for his rookie head coach. This oddity was even more peculiar when you consider the lockout prevented Schurmur from spending any time with his first set of completely new players. My suspicion of Holmgren’s logic began to grow.
Morals of Year 2
1) Holmgren’s retention of Mangini was indeed a year wasted, and not for any apparent reasoning (such as waiting for an A-list coach to become available).
2) The rebuilding process is delayed yet another year as a lack of urgency presents itself with the refusal to hire an offensive coordinator.
Now Mike Holmgren decides he should have hired an offensive coordinator. Fantastic, the right hire has the potential to do wonders for the Browns offense. A good offensive coordinator can squeeze the talent out of the players available as well as hide deficiencies in his scheme. After all, that’s what winning football games is about, at any level. So after a few interesting names are thrown around in comes the big news, We got!….. Brad Childress? Are you kidding me!? We hired Brad “how many times do I have to prove my vanilla offenses are incredibly ineffective” Childress? Mike Holmgren, why did you hire Brad Childress?! Oh was it because everybody needs to be on the ‘same page’. You and Brad Childress have the same agent (Bob LaMonte, again), and he is a ‘west coast’ guy.
Screw. The. West. Coast.
This is the NFL in 2012. This is not NFL2K1 where there is a loophole that allows your offense to repeat the same pattern over and over to find success. You need a football genius to out think, out prepare, and out smart your opponent. Brad Childress is NOT a football genius.
Here’s the ringing endorsements that came with Brad Childress from national media outlets between the time he was fired in Minnesota to hired in Cleveland:
Based on Childress’ play-calling track record in Minnesota, we’re skeptical that he’s an upgrade on Shurmur. The Browns’ top two choices were Childress and Mike Sherman, who is expected to get the Dolphins job.
Shurmur’s playcalling didn’t exactly evoke fireworks in 2011 (or 2010 with the Rams, for that matter), but the thought of Childress getting the nod is even less appetizing.
Childress is a surface fit in Cleveland because of his West Coast offense background, but there’s a lot to not like about this hire. Out of the league since his in-season firing in 2010, Childress’ Vikings offenses from 2006 through 2010 ranked 23rd, 13th, 17th, fifth (Brett Favre year), and 23rd in terms of yards. In points, they were 26th, 15th, 12th, second (Favre), and 29th. Toward the end of Childress’ Minnesota tenure, there was a feeling that the game had passed him by.
Childress’ lack of communication skills and willingness to publicly throw players under the bus don’t bode well for his chances of resurfacing.
The claim that Brad Childress is a terrible coach / offensive coordinator is not debatable, nor an opinion, it’s a fact. A fact proven by on field results and a truth commonly accepted by experts, head coaches, analysts, fans, and all creatures born with eyesight.
It would not matter if the Browns drafted RG3, Matt Khalil, and Trent Richardson all in the same draft. This offense is going to be about as effective as Pao Gasol trying to stop a Blake Griffin dunk.
I didn’t even get into the RG3 debacle.
Morals of Year 3
1) Any sneaking suspicion that Mike Holmgren was actually following any type intellectual plan is now completely out of the question.
2) It is, however, safe to question whether Holmgren desperately wants this franchise to win.
3) Its also safe to question whether current NFL players already feel this way, which could partially explain the lack of free agent signings the last 2 years.
As much as I want to walk out on this Bob LaMonte driven front office, I’ll never be able to. I love our players and our city too much to find another team. So to Mike Holmgren – for making it so hard for Cleveland to love the Browns – I Hate You.
The full article as well as other draft topics is covered at CleBrownsBlog.com