Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Evaluating Holmgren's legacy with Browns
By Jamison Hensley
Mike Holmgren came to the Cleveland Browns in 2010 with a Super Bowl pedigree and aspirations of changing the losing culture of the Browns. According to ESPN, Holmgren will retire at the end of the season and leave the organization before his five-year mission was complete.
Since Holmgren took over, the Browns have the second-worst winning percentage in the NFL (.263). The Browns finished in last place in 2011 and were the last team to win a game in 2012.
Shortly after the sale of the Browns to Jimmy Haslam was announced, Holmgren said he wanted to fulfill his five-year deal. He is still owed $8 million a year through the 2014 season. "I've never quit anything in my life," Holmgren said in early September.
Those plans obviously changed after Haslam decided to name Joe Banner the team's CEO/president.
Here's a look at Holmgren's biggest decisions with the Browns:
COACHING: Holmgren's biggest mistake was keeping Eric Mangini around for the 2010 season. It essentially was a wasted year. He then turned around and hired Pat Shurmur, who shares the same agent. Shurmur has appeared to be overwhelmed at times after being put in a tough situation, beginning with the lockout in his first season. Where Shurmur has fallen short is calling plays that his players aren't ready to make. Shurmur's record is 5-17.
GENERAL MANAGER: This was Holmgren's best move. Tom Heckert has restocked the Browns with young talent. His fingerprints are all over a rebuilt defense with cornerback Joe Haden, defensive end Jabaal Sheard, safety T.J. Ward and defensive tackle Phil Taylor (who is currently injured). He also made a shrewd move in taking wide receiver Josh Gordon in the second round of the supplemental draft. This is one person that Haslam should strongly consider keeping around.
QUARTERBACK: Holmgren ultimately chose the package of Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson over Robert Griffin III. He acknowledged that the Browns spoke to the Rams about moving up for RG3 but decided the price was too steep. Holmgren then urged Heckert to take Weeden late in the first round when he could've been available in the second. RG3 has the look of a superstar with 1,343 yards passing, 379 yards rushing and 11 total touchdowns (five on passes and six on runs). Weeden has thrown for 1,519 yards with seven touchdowns and an NFL-leading 10 interceptions. While Weeden could develop into a decent starter, the Browns may end up regretting this decision.