"The Sunday Five" is a loosely-titled piece where I talk about five NFL- or Browns-related topics related to this past week. In today's edition, we take a look back at a few of the things that were said by team president Mike Holmgren and head coach Pat Shurmur as the Browns begin their summer break.
So...Holmgren is going to become more visible this season to the media and the fans. When he was made the team president, the hope was that he would put the proper coaching staff and front office in place to build a winning organization. The Browns have not been winning very much since Holmgren took over. That does not take away from the work he has done, and it does not mean that he has been a failure. You can't always pull something out of a hat in one year and expect to overcome what Pittsburgh and Baltimore have had in place for a decade. It's a slow process, something that Holmgren has stated in the past. Many fans get irritated when the team loses and there is not a guy with a proven reputation calming the storm. If Cleveland hits more hard times this season, the idea is that Holmgren can calm a few of those storms so that Shurmur does not have to take the full brunt of negativity like he did last year.
I really like the comparisons that Holmgren made to his Seattle roster when he cited having Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Alexander, and Steve Hutchinson. The Browns got a quarterback and a running back in the first round of this year's draft, and they already have Joe Thomas. A lot of pressure still falls on Weeden to deliver. Holmgren noted that he didn't have an elite group of receivers in Seattle, and I think he sees a similar group in Cleveland. Greg Little is already one piece, and it sounds like they believe Mohamed Massaquoi is going to turn heads this year. Holmgren emphasized that in his offense, it is important to have a guy who has elite speed just so they can stretch the field on any given play, even if they don't catch the ball very well. That guy is supposed to be Travis Benjamin. Benjamin has reportedly been dropping a lot of passes, though, so hopefully something can be done to improve upon that.
Two interesting players are tight end Jordan Cameron and fullback Owen Marecic. It is hard to pinpoint where they stand on the roster. Both were fourth-round picks last year who were not utilized very much in the offensive gameplans. During the final set of organized team activity sessions, Shurmur praised Cameron, saying "he’s one of the players in my mind at his position that’s made the biggest jump in my eyes." How big of a jump can he make, though? Certainly it won't be past veteran Benjamin Watson, at least not yet. Could it be past fan-favorite Evan Moore? Regarding Marecic, Shurmur said "he’s kind of a steady-Eddie guy in my mind." By that, he means that he makes very few mental mistakes. That sounds like someone who Eric Mangini might be proud of. We saw how little Marecic was involved on offense last year. Will that change now that Richardson was drafted? Can a guy like Brad Smelley replace him? Tough to say. The person who loses out here is tight end Alex Smith. A featured tight end last year, he might be fourth on the depth chart at tight end, and Smelley/Marecic are probably more fit for fullback than him.
I understand that you do not want to hurt a guy's feelings, but sometimes that is part of the business. Right now, it seems like we've got a guy on the roster in Colt McCoy whose family thinks the Browns are doing him a great injustice. Yes, after Cleveland lost out on Robert Griffin III, I said I thought it would be better to improve the talent around McCoy rather than investing in another quarterback this year. Once Weeden was drafted, I jumped on his bandwagon because he will inevitably be the team's new starter. McCoy was basically given a full year to be the Browns' starting quarterback last year, something that hasn't happened very often in Cleveland recently. One year is a short leash, but McCoy also is not some prized possession who the Browns are disrespecting -- he's a former third-round pick who led one of the worst offenses you can imagine a year ago. When his father or his brother lash out at the organization, it's almost a turn off to wanting to keep the guy around for the extra baggage. In the end, I don't think it matters much who the Browns keep between McCoy and Seneca Wallace; the bottom line is that neither of them will be No. 1.
The Browns ended their OTA's this past Friday, so summer break is officially underway for the Browns. They will meet again when training camp commences in late July. Until then, what is on the agenda for Cleveland? They need to agree to contracts with Weeden and Richardson, which shouldn't be an issue. They may also want to search the list of free agents and bring in a body at whatever position they feel is lacking right now. For fans, there is not much to do but wait. There are two dead periods in football -- the one right after the Super Bowl, and the one we are entering now. Be sure to continue checking out DBN, though, because we can stretch things out to preview everything possible before training camp begins.