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Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Thoughts on Holmgren, Seahawks, Browns

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Todd writes via Facebook: I am struggling with the reports of division and hesitancy on the part of the Seahawks with respect to bringing back Mike Holmgren. The Seahawks were a mediocre team for 15 years post-Chuck Knox. They might have (had) talent, but they always seemed to play beneath it. I think that was extremely true of the Erickson years in particular.

Mike Holmgren
Mike Holmgren reportedly met with the Browns for a second day on Tuesday.
Paul Allen ownership and Holmgren coaching and even his personnel choices made the Seahawks relevant. Holmgren is the most sucessful coach in Seahawks history and there are people in the organization that think it would be better if he were with the Browns? I can only think it might be better for those people as individuals. How can it not be beneficial to have someone with that degree of history and football knowledge with your team?

Mike Sando: Mike Holmgren is a credible leader. I think he is a good administrator. I think he could be effective as the top man running an organization. It's important to acknowledge and appreciate the many good things Holmgren accomplished in Seattle. It's also important to resist embellishing his record as general manager in the name of sentiment.

Seattle was 31-33 in four years under Dennis Erickson. Seattle was 31-33 in four years with Holmgren as coach and general manager. Holmgren was fired as general manager. He did not win a postseason game until he had completed seven full seasons as head coach. I believe most good coaches with sufficient resources will win eventually if given enough time. Seven years is an eternity in the modern NFL.

By comparison, Jon Gruden stepped into a far more dysfunctional situation with Oakland in 1998. He went 38-26 in four seasons, winning two playoff games and leaving the Raiders -- 28-36 in the four seasons before his arrival -- in position for a Super Bowl run. In Green Bay, Holmgren went 38-26 in his first four regular seasons, collecting four playoff victories and sharing the credit with GM Ron Wolf.

For Seattle, bringing back Holmgren under the right terms could indeed make sense. Holmgren would not be coach and general manager, so the dynamic would be different. Holmgren brings credibility. He could help the Seahawks find their next quarterback. He could hire a GM with a strong background to do the scouting grunt work (Ted Thompson was that man for him in Seattle).

But if the Seahawks are wary about turning over their entire operation to a "football czar" with grand plans, I can see why. They think the current structure and operation is not broken. They think the organization has grown to a point where it's bigger than any one person. They gave sweeping powers to Holmgren once already. They should consider their options and make sure the fit is right.

I do not think Holmgren will rush into a deal with Cleveland. If he does, he'll probably command more power than the Seahawks feel comfortable granting to any one person. Seattle would be staying true to its stated values, while Holmgren would be getting the power he craved.