SJ_Browns Posted April 13, 2010 Report Share Posted April 13, 2010 While we may not yet know exactly how successful the new Browns regime is going to be, you can’t blame anyone for being skeptical. Lets face it, we’ve seen this dog and pony show before, and we’ve been burned by it before. Cleveland Browns fans have time and time again put their faith in new management, new coaches, new players, etc, etc, etc. The results have always been the same, though…..bitter disappointment. So if anyone is hesitant to jump on board with Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert, I’m not going to blame them. Personally, however, I am 1000% on board. I’m closing my eyes and I’m making the leap of faith. I’m not saying that I think Holmgren and crew are definitely going to turn this franchise around. It’s way too early to judge that either way. Instead, what I’m encouraged by is the change in culture that Holmgren has brought to town. No more secrecy, no more power struggles, no more chaos. Holmgren is open and wants to be accountable for everything. Furthermore, he seems to genuinely care about the fans and wants an open line of communication between management and fans. To that last point, The Browns did something pretty classy yesterday. They offered season ticket holders an opportunity to join together in a live conference call with the Browns front office. While I’m not a season ticket holder, I was fortunate enough to have a good friend who is a season ticket holder and who was unable to join in on the call, so he let me listen in with his info. The call was moderated by Mike Snyder and began with a brief interview with David Bowens. Bowens didn’t have much new to say, he just reiterated that the team was feeling good about some of the changes and the way they finished the season last year. He pointed out that nobody on that team wants to lose and every man on that team is preparing with the mentality of winning football games. Then, the main event came in on the call, the Czar himself, the Big Show, Mike Holmgren. I wasn’t able to record the call, but here are a few notes of interest from the call that I took note of: * Holmgren insisted his regime will do a better job of drafting than previous regimes in the Browns organization. He is very confident in both himself and in Tom Heckert’s ability to scout players and identify players who can “step in and start immediately”. Whereas in past years we have seen Browns GMs seemingly pick guys for depth, Holmgren proclaimed he has no interest in doing that. He is looking for impact guys who can make this team better from day one. It was refreshing to hear. * He is conscious of picking defensive players who will fit in Eric Mangini’s 3-4 system. For those conspiracy theorists who believe Holmgren intends to coach this team next year, I can just tell you that he sounds very sincere in his belief in Mangini. Holmgren mentioned that while he is 4-3 guy, Mangini believes in a 3-4 and therefore he will try to give Eric the kind of players he needs who will fit that system. Doesn’t sound to me like a guy who is building a team to take over next year. Holmgren also mentioned that the 3-4 is why he is building the defense as a linebacker-heavy unit. * When asked about what kind of offense he wants to see the team run, and whether he will consider the Cleveland winter climate when building a team, his answer was pretty fascinating. Holmgren said that for sure when the weather turns, the Browns need to have a reliable offensive line and a punishing and relentless running game. However, early in the season when it’s warm, he said the Browns need what he calls “strikers”. He said strikers are pure speed football players who can open up a defense and are constantly a downfield threat. It seems abundantly clear, to me anyway, that he is not satisfied with what the Browns have at WR. * When asked about his philosophy of drafting a QB every year, Holmgren backed down slightly on this. He said that while it’s his intention of drafting a QB every year, circumstances don’t always allow for that. He stressed that he will not reach just for the sake of taking a QB. They have some QBs they are interested in. If any of those guys are available within the draft slots they have them projected at, the Browns will take one. If not, they will wait and try again the following season. But Holmgren said that he feels it’s so rare to have a true franchise QB in this league, and so he will always be looking at ways he can improve that position on this team. * Finally, the highlight of the call was a particularly brave fan who took his opportunity to ask Holmgren a question to instead give him a piece of his mind. This fan was angered by the Jake Delhomme signing and he wasn’t afraid to let him know. Practically screaming over the phone, the fan yelled out “I don’t understand how you can make this move. JAKE DELHOMME HAS BEEN THE WORST QB IN THE ENTIRE NFL OVER THE LAST YEAR AND A HALF!!!” To his credit, Holmgren kept his cool, didn’t get defensive, and simply said “Well, I might have to agree with you there.” I chuckled at this response because of the seemingly oxymoronic decision to sign a QB that you know is the worst QB in football. However, a little while later Holmgren expanded on that a little bit by asking for fans to have some faith and give him the benefit of the doubt. Holmgren said fans aren’t involved in discussions with these players, and he has a lot more information on Jake Delhomme than we do. “[The fans] don’t know the reasons [for Delhomme’s recent struggles] like I know the reasons. Trust me on this.” He’s not saying Jake Delhomme is the answer to the Browns struggles and will instantly lead this team to the Super Bowl, but Holmgren seems to have infinitely more confidence in the Delhomme-Wallace QB tandem than he did in the Quinn-Anderson tandem, and based on the results we saw last year, it’s hard to imagine things getting any worse. So I’m willing to give Holmgren a chance on this. The draft is now just 2 weeks away, and both Holmgren and Heckert both sounded extremely excited to attack the draft. They sound like they know what they’re doing and they definitely have a plan on how to improve this football team. We won’t know how all of this will play out on the field until later this fall, but for now, things seem to be moving in a cohesive and unified direction for once. Baby steps for sure, but there’s no denying how refreshing even these small steps have been for a change. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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