Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Pressure point: Browns
By Jamison Hensley
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Examining who faces the most challenging season for the Cleveland Browns and why.
Hot seats in the NFL are typically reserved for head coaches and general managers. For the Browns, the heat is on team president Mike Holmgren.
The Browns added hope when they hired Holmgren as their top executive after he returned the Packers to prominence and guided the Seahawks to the Super Bowl. Rebuilding has been more of a challenge with the Browns, who have won nine games in Holmgren's two seasons. Instead of turning into a winner, the franchise has spun its wheels under Holmgren and the fan base is becoming skeptical.
This is a big year for the Holmgren regime because a potential franchise quarterback (Brandon Weeden) and star running back (Trent Richardson) were drafted in the first round to go with a top-10 defense. Holmgren has promised a "pretty good jump" for the Browns, so another four- or five-win season isn't going to cut it. It's time for Holmgren to erase past mistakes like keeping Eric Mangini around as head coach for a year and failing to trade up for quarterback Robert Griffin III in this year's draft.
Holmgren had a more immediate impact at his other stops. In Green Bay, he inherited a four-win team and led the Packers to the playoffs by his second season. In Seattle, he took over a team that hadn't been to the playoffs in 10 years and guided the Seahawks to the playoffs in his first season. The pressure is on Holmgren to show signs of a similar turnaround in Cleveland.