This will be boring for those of you who follow along on Twitter, but that’s the way it goes.
This morning I listened for a few minutes as Kiley and Booms broke down (over) the Mike Holmgren press conference and I was left with a few thoughts, namely there was absolutely nothing that Mike Holmgren could have said yesterday for some people. I would love to know what the perfect press conference from Holmgren and Heckert would have sounded like assuming there is one. Sure, I bet the first choice would be for that “cash-checking, money-grubber who pines for his retirement in Seattle” to just not be here anymore, but let’s be adults and just go into it knowing that isn’t an option.
On the wide receivers, Holmgren said that Greg Little was a guy that he thought they could build on. He said that they were going to “add to the pile” or bring in more players. Can’t you just read between the lines with that? They cut Brian Robiskie mid-season. Is that not enough of an admission of guilt on pre-season evaluations of the roster? Holmgren used the wide receiver question to say that the team needed to upgrade at every skill position on offense. What else could you possibly want to hear him say about this horrible offense?
Should Mike Holmgren come out and say, “You know, all these guys, including the ones under contract who need to improve in the off-season if they hope to make it through training camp cuts with us next year? Yeah. They all suck and if we had the chance, we’d replace them all. Mohamed Massaquoi? Total disappointment.”
Would that be the perfect answer for the most negative among us? What purpose would that serve?
As I said yesterday, criticism is an art. It takes creativity and effort to do it effectively and compellingly. Otherwise it is worthless and snide. If your whole point of reference begins and ends with the fact that the Browns don’t win enough games, then I really fail to see any reason to continue to talk about the team throughout the season. We all can see the standings.
As far as the constant need to bring up five wins not being good enough for Eric Mangini, it just needs to stop. I’ve heard it for probably ten weeks now on that radio show. The burden of proof for a guy who was not selected for the job by Mike Holmgren running systems different than Holmgren and Heckert are used to with a roster that leans more heavily toward veterans is different than the burden of proof for a hand-picked, first-time head coach with a younger roster coming off of a lockout.
That doesn’t mean that anyone needs to be satisfied with four wins, and I am guessing Mike Holmgren and Heckert had no designs on this season turning out as badly as it did this year. That being said, blowing a coach out after one year is really stupid. We already know that Mike Holmgren doesn’t believe in it as a member of the coaching fraternity. That’s a large reason why Holmgren made the decision (mistake) to give Eric Mangini a second season in Cleveland. Talk to me this time next year if Shurmur and his staff have only produced four wins. We will have a real debate on if he deserves a third year at the helm and Holmgren will have some “‘splainin” to do.
On to the draft…
Our own Andrew points out that the Browns could once again be in the unenviable position of just being out of the lottery winnings this year. The Browns always seem to be a pick or two away from the real “can’t-miss” prospects. The trade last year took place because A.J. Green went to Cincy. Joe Haden has turned out well, but he wasn’t quite the same marquee name as those that preceded him at the time. Again this year, it seems like even if the Browns get a chance at RG3 there is a pretty massive drop-off from Andrew Luck, Kalil and Blackmon. At least that’s the way Andrew and I see it. If it falls that way and RG3 is there, I probably trade it to the Redskins or someone like that if I can.
Would I trade three first-round picks for Andrew Luck? Maybe. The Browns haven’t had a QB on the field with Andrew Luck’s football IQ since Bernie Kosar and maybe never. Being married to a Colts fan, I’ve seen too often what it means to have that skillset on the field. You have a guy who obsesses about the play clock, obsesses about the coverages and actively works to beat the defense staring at him over the line. If the Browns found it intriguing to bring that guy in to be here for the next decade, I’d gladly get on board. Tom Heckert would have to switch his strategy for the next few years and be far more active in free agency, but so be it. On-field coordinator types of QBs don’t come along even once per generation in all likelihood.
As for Matt Kalil, if he falls to the Browns, there is nothing wrong with taking a premier offensive tackle even though this team already has Joe Thomas. I’ve read over and over that you “can’t” take an offensive tackle that high unless you are replacing your left tackle.
What? Says who? Every team needs two offensive tackles. I wouldn’t recommend taking a second center, but let’s not pretend that just because a guy has a few fewer responsibilities as a right tackle that having one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL playing on the right side would hurt your team. It just means that pass protection should be ridiculously good and harder for pass-rushing teams to exploit no matter where they line up the Dwight Freeney type guys in the NFL.
This isn’t even to mention the advantage that it should give you in the running game. Talk about creating a system where you can plug in any guy to tote the rock… Run right? Sure. Run left? Sure. Spend the money on the right tackle so you don’t have to spend it on a running back with a career expectancy of three seasons and multiple knee injuries.
As Joe Lull pointed out this morning a lot of this is just wasted breath because there are so many moving pieces at draft time. Still, I get a bit tired of hearing some of these fake “rules” thrown about what you can and can’t do because other teams have never done it before.
Doing things that other teams have never done before when it comes to acquiring premier talents onto your roster isn’t a bad thing. It might even create a competitive advantage that will have the rest of the league chasing for a few years. The NFL is a copycat league, but the Browns haven’t been the ones being copied since Bernie Kosar started dropping his foot to cue motion.
Would it be so bad to innovate?