BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren met with the media on Monday to discuss the offseason and NFL labor situation. Despite the lockout, Holmgren said he likes where his team currently stands.
The Browns are projected to be one of the most impacted teams during the lockout. They have to implement a new West Coast offense as well as a 4-3 defense, which the Browns haven't run since 2004. Holmgren understood those concerns but added he's confident his coaching staff should be able to get everyone up to speed.
"We've worked very, very hard to establish a program that will win and we are proceeding along those lines," Holmgren said. "It will be business as usual in the building for the Cleveland Browns organization."
For now, Cleveland's primary focus is April's NFL draft. The Browns own the No. 6 overall pick and have an opportunity to add talented players to their roster in an effort to close the gap with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.
Here are some additional thoughts from Holmgren:
The Browns have had no preliminary discussions with starting fullback and pending free agent Lawrence Vickers. Holmgren would not clarify whether the team would pursue Vickers once free agency begins. Cleveland will be transitioning to a passing offense, and Vickers, a power fullback, may no longer be a good fit.
Holmgren confirmed that injured Browns players such as tailback Montario Hardesty (knee) will have to rehab away from the team facility until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. Hardesty and others are working out with a third-party doctor, according to Holmgren, and the Browns will be able to communicate with that third party but not directly with the player.
Cleveland will visit with the maximum of 30 prospects before the NFL draft. But Holmgren said the team wouldn't comment on players coming to Cleveland for visits.
Holmgren does not anticipate Cleveland being as active in free agency as last season. With a new regime coming in, the Browns felt the need to drastically change the roster last year with free agents and draft picks. But this year Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert have more of their players on the team.