July 31, 2014

Mike Holmgren changes Browns public relations course

Chuck Booms holding a birthday cake for Mike Holmgren? Who saw that coming? (Photo Chris Allen / 92.3 the Fan)

Up is down. Black is white. Dry is wet. Most importantly screaming is quiet. That’s what happened this morning when Mike Holmgren visited Kiley and Booms at 92.3 the Fan this morning for an interview. You know Booms as the screaming lunatic that has accused Mike Holmgren of not caring and just looking to collect his huge paycheck in his nicer moments. Is it safe to call Mike Holmgren’s strategy switch a complete success if even Chuck Booms can’t muster a guttural grunt of disagreement when he had “The Big Show” sitting a few feet away from him in studio this morning?

Look, I don’t want to be too hard on Booms. I know he is a fan of the Browns and I truly think he is a funny guy. The fact that Booms referred to Mike Vick as just, “The Dog Killer” to Mike Holmgren’s face made me laugh.1 Still, to think that this is the same guy who wanted to run every member of this staff out of town screaming about nepotism and everything else he could possibly think of, is astonishing.

In fairness to Kiley and Booms, Mike Holmgren walked into their studios today with something of an attitude adjustment. Long gone is the angry presser when he spoke of playoff tickets. Holmgren admitted that that whole presser was fueled by anger. He was angry that his team could not only be failing on the field but be steeped in controversy over something that he just couldn’t seem to get his arms around and control. I’m guessing that press conference was one of the key catalysts that led Mike Holmgren to his decision to change and really be out front more.

Make no mistake, Mike Holmgren needed to change course. He might have thought he was doing the right thing by staying back and giving his coach room, especially in the case of his inherited coach Eric Mangini. Ultimately though, he needed to use his high profile to put out fires and smooth the transitions that he needed patience to enact.

I wrote about the Browns’ P.R. missteps frequently last season. The Browns didn’t handle the Peyton Hillis situation well at all. They didn’t handle the Colt McCoy situation and the information around it very well either. The Browns basically seemed to elude the McCoy issue for an entire week as the NFL conducted an investigation. Rather than be out in front and let the world in on the process (at least a little bit,) the Browns chose to sit back and wait until the investigation was complete. By that point the presumed controversy had grown with the media and fans left to their imaginations. Then the angry presser occurred.

What a difference 24 hours can make though. Mike Holmgren is going to be out front talking more. He has cautioned the media ahead of time to not play “gotcha” journalism looking to put a wedge between he, Heckert and Shurmur. Without changing the course of his operation, he’s at least recognized that the sales job of what they were doing was lacking. Rather than being out front talking about the ins and outs of the season, all fans and media had to cling to were quotes about unacceptable win totals from Eric Mangini’s final season.

All this is great right now, but it absolutely must result in some identifiable improvement on the football field before it ever really matters. In some senses, this is all presumably a little bit late. In their third season as a front office and second season running their system, the Browns truly should be ready to at least look better week-in and week-out if not improve in the standings. They needed Mike Holmgren to buy them some time on their way to this point.

But maybe the rebuild isn’t over. Better late than never, right? At least for one day, it seems most in Cleveland are on the same page regarding the Browns. Doesn’t that have to be true on a day where Mike Holmgren and Chuck Booms are sitting in the same room taking pictures with a birthday cake for the coach?

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Footnotes:

  1. Of course Mike Holmgren had no reaction to the Mike Vick / “Dog Killer” reference. []
  • http://twitter.com/TheKardiacKid TheKardiacKid

    Holmgren has silenced the team’s two biggest critics Brown/Booms in 24 hours and it all it took was Holmgren talking. Seems like this could have been done long ago, but overall I glad the Browns are making these strides off of the field.

  • Boomhauer

    I’m still wiling to bet Holmgren decides he doesn’t need the stress after another 4-12 and heads off into the sunset.

  • NamedMyKidPrice

    Im thinking he likes were we are as a team.  He knew for the first two years that we had garbage to put on the field.  Watching Weeden hes thinking its time to get out there because we may actually be pretty decent and its time to take some credit.  Hey im all for it!  In Weeden We Win!

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    Those who defended Mike’s “I want Shurmur/Heckert to be the voice of the team” and “I want to run things behind the scenes and don’t want to be in the public very much” thoughts/ideologies, kindly come forward and receive thy prize of a giant crow pie.

    Step right up, ladies and germs!

  • Harv 21

    thing is, Holmgren never before ran a football org (like Savage was never a GM, Mangini never in control of personnel – thanks, Randy) so there had to be a learning curve. At least Holms recognizes that and is willing to shift gears. I do wonder who convinced him – his wife? Maybe he jusy got tired of the press beatings. 

  • humboldt

     Not just talking, but also showing a bit of humility and accessibility. In a town like Cleveland that goes a long way

  • humboldt

    Nice to see that The Big Show has some capacity for self-reflection and humility. The proof will of course be in the pudding this season to see if he actually plays a more visible role when the organizational blood pressure inevitably rises

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    The fan in me wants to believe that the outcry of anger over the team’s performance forced his hand in the matter.

    The more rational side of me pretty much can guess that Lerner woke up one day, glanced at the PD (or whatever) and saw the record for the Browns and made a phone call and…

  • http://www.redright88.com/ TitusPullo94

     But if Lerner is “always in England” and “doesn’t care about the team” then why would he be reading the PD and making phone calls to team headquarters?

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    I said “or whatever,” didn’t I?  He could have been reading the UK Times.

  • humboldt

    The Daily Mail would be the likely choice for a wealthy, out-of-touch white guy such as Lerner

  • cmm13

    Nice to see Mikey out there selling those season ticket holders on the new “friendly” Front Office.

    Please please please still fill the stadium when we are 2-6, I promise to be nice this time and not yell at you!  ;)

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    I’m considering adding a section to the commenting policy about inviting anyone to eat crow. 

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    Taking a page right out of the Cleveland Frowns book, eh?

    Aside:  I don’t see why its super terrible to hold people accountable for what they say.  I thought Holmgren would revolutionize the Browns and bring us into respectability by AT LEAST year 2.  I was wrong. There’s something liberating about admitting one was wrong.  You should try it.

  • Steve_Not_Chad

    I’m sure this won’t stop all the crybabies from throwing temper tantrums because the team president doesn’t give a vague, non-informative presser exactly when they demand one. This whole thing has been an overblown black eye on the city.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    So you’re saying I need to eat crow on this issue? Interesting.

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    Isn’t it?  I’m surprised you didn’t go all Comrade Commissar and make a rule prohibiting all instances of the letters o-r-i-b-i-a-s-i in comments. =0)

    As far as I am concerned, I would love the be utterly wrong about this Browns regime.  I’d love for them to blow the AFC North out of the water each year and go to the playoffs.

    Trouble is, I’m not wrong.  And, I have the 5-11 and 4-12 records to prove it.

    So lighten up.

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    Those dumb crybabies, always wanting “more than 4 wins” and “a competent head coach.”  What a bunch of pansies!

  • Henry Brown

    Wait, because Cleveland’s fans and media are so pathetic they require the team president to constantly keep them apprised of every bit of Browns minutiae someone should be eating crow? For the record, I am a pathetic fan that eats up the minutiae, I just don’t care who provides it.

  • Henry Brown

    You’re not only wrong, you’re a fool if you think the mess of the last decade can be turned around in a year.

  • Henry Brown

    Well, not so much wanting it but demanding it when they want. That’s what babies and children do, they demand and expect what they want, when they want it. Adults usually realize that success requires hard work and patience over a long period of time.

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    Tell that the 49ers.  They went from no success and almost giving up on Alex Smith to the playoffs.

    It can be done, Henry.  We’re moving at glacial speeds here.

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    Who said it takes a year only, knucklehead?  I mean, it did for the Niners but no one likes that example because it doesn’t fit the GroupThink image of the NFL.

    But, in a thread earlier on this site, it was revealed that of ALL the first year coaches in 2012, only Shurmur had less wins than the previous year’s results for their team.

    You should see improvement each year.  Did anyone see improvement?  And, if you say the pass defense I’m going to scream.  No team had to pass on us; they ran it right down our throats.

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    Shurmur looked/sounded like an idiot in almost ever presser.  Holms needed to come down from the tower and relax his CUSTOMERS (also known as fans, Henry) or risk losing the ship. It’s not pathetic; its what a mature, adult does when things look dire.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    Overnight success indeed. http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2011/10/the-illusion-of-overnight-nfl-success/

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    It didn’t take a year. They had great players who were underserved by Mike Singletary. http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2011/10/the-illusion-of-overnight-nfl-success/

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    That theory is just that, a theory.  Plenty of people disagree with it.  Plenty of people agree with it.  I happen to think you make some good points but ultimately come to the wrong conclusion.  I think you want to believe (hey, so would I) that Shurmur can still succeed and that selecting him as a coach can still work out.  That Holmgren has some master plan that we’re all too dull to figure out.  That we’re playing the long-con.  (and, that’s sort of true, although not in the way you think).

    You ignore the one major different factor because you’re afraid to make the statement that a single competent, strong and intelligent head coach can literally change the fortunes of a team in one year.  It didn’t hurt that they had a good roster, of course not.  But the main change from one year to another for the Niners was Harbaugh.  You make statements like this:

    “The fans of the 49ers were probably frustrated because they knew they
    should be better with an offense led by Frank Gore and a defense led by Patrick Willis.”

    Or really?  How do you know this?  Are you a Niners fan?  Did you live in San Francisco?  You make a grand assumption and then hinge your entire argument on it.

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    Incorrect/at best:  your opinion.  See my above comment.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    It didn’t take the niners a year. That’s what you said. It’s intellectually dishonest or just flat out wrong.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    Ha. Grand assumption? Wow.

  • Henry Brown

    The niners are starting 8 first round draft picks on their offense. I guess they drafted all of them last year.

  • Henry Brown

    You cannot be serious with this? Look at all the Niner first round picks they’ve been accumulating through the years that they are starting. Just like the Texans, its taken years to accumulate the type of talent to become consistent winners. The problem with the Browns has been they’ve been really quick to give up on their players if they don’t make the pro bowl in their first 2 years. If anything you have to give the HHS crew credit for believing and developing the players they drafted.

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    Oh, it’s not an assumption then?  You are deeply imbedded in the 49ers organization?  And I thought you sold insurance, you spy, you.

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    Where were all of these first round players last year?  Were they picking their noses all season long? With all this insane Super-Bowl talent, you’d think they’d be the next dynasty.  What kept them down and out?

  • porckchopexpress

    So you use your eyes and what you read about the Browns to draw a conclusion that Shurmur is incompetent. 
    I use those same things to draw a conclusion that Singletary was incompetent.
    I would call you stupid and incompetent at arguing this topic but that would demean those words. 

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    If you can’t see with your eyes that Shurmur is incompetent then you should see an eye doctor immediately and please don’t operate heavy machinery.

    Also, personal attacks, eh?

    And finally, when did I say that Singletary wasn’t incompetent?  Of course he was; that’s part of the point.  But the addition of a smart, intelligent coach was what that team needed.  Throwing some rookie like Shurmur on that team wouldn’t produce much better.

  • porckchopexpress

    You’ve taken to calling people knuckleheads, I assume that this means you are comfortable with some level of “personal attacks”.
    On one hand you use the standard “use your own eyes”.  On the other you claim that if we “weren’t in the building we don’t know what goes on in SF”. 
    You’re so pathetic you can’t keep your screwed up criteria straight from one post to the next.

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    I’m not going to keep feeding the troll, but what I took issue with was the “fact” that Craig seemed to “know” what all Niners fans felt like regarding Mike Singletary and their poor results in 2011.  That was nonsense.  There is no way he could know that.  There is no way he could even guess that.