• Author:
  • Published: Feb 5th, 2015
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on The Browns are not the train wreck that some believe.

The Browns are not the train wreck that some believe.

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haslam

Note: On NNR today Ziffles & I discuss the Browns situation, the NFL’s issues and the SB. The podcast is on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports wrote an article detailing his view of the Browns team issues. While I really enjoy reading his articles, I disagree on several points he made.

We disagree on the departure of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and QB coach Dowell Loggains. When Shanahan put in or was forced to play Johnny Manziel the OC tried to use the RG3 read option offense rather than design something specifically for Manziel. The problem was that Manziel had never run the read option at Texas A&M. Shanahan should have known that and designed something with which his QB would have been more comfortable.

Add to that the total disintregration of the mechanics of QB Brian Hoyer. Shanahan and Loggains were either unable to fix the problem or were unaware of the mechanical flaws. That is inexcusable. But I do think the Browns should have gotten a draft pick or two from whatever team signed them.

There was a comment about the firing of Mike Holmgren. As I said here before Mike was hired, he was the wrong choice. He had been stripped of GM duties in Seattle because he was terrible at drafting. He should have been prosecuted for theft for getting paid that much.

The Browns did blow the Josh Gordon issue by not providing a babysitter after the 2013 season. That could have prevented some of his problems. The new GM Ray Farmer missed on his 2 first round picks last year. Manziel is a disaster. Even if the Browns new staff fixes his mechanics, his lack of dedication to putting in the work that is required is a problem. Checking into rehab is the first thing he has done I can support. While I believe that new OC John DeFilippo has the experience to fix the mechanics of Manziel, I have very little faith in the rest of the offensive coaching staff recent hires.

Farmer also picked CB Justin Gilbert who was a problem child in college and continued his issues with the Browns. He also seems to have problems dedicating himself to improvement. Farmer should drafted a WR in 2014 because that position the deepest it had been in years. Even in the 4th round there were quality guys avaiable and he knew that Gordon was facing another major suspension.

The bottom line is that the Browns have a good defense and parts of a decent offense. The things they lack are an NFL quality starting QB and wideouts with speed and size. Hoyer is a quality backup but will likely not return. Manziel is a disaster but the Browns may not have a better option. No good free agent QB would want to throw to the WR corps the team has. There is no QB in the draft that is NFL ready that I trust although Brett Hundley is close and should be available with a late 1st round pick. The best bet for the Browns would be trying to get Hoyer back for at least a year.

So the Browns will likely start Manziel. With the 2015 schedule including the AFC and NFC west we are likely to hear the following: “With the first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select…”

That is what I think. Tell us what you think by commenting here or tweeting me @NNRonDSN

NOTE: News, Notes and Rumors podcast are BACK. Check out our thoughts on Fridays about the games coming up and Monday on the results of the weekend. My co-host is Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports. Podcasts can be heard on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/. Thanks for your support.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.

He also edits .

To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.

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  • Author:
  • Published: May 29th, 2013
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on I was right about Holmgren being a mistake.

I was right about Holmgren being a mistake.

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Browns2

 

In an editorial on Dec. 20, 2009 I reviewed the record of Mike Holmgren as GM of the Seahawks and ended by saying that he was not the right guy to lead the Browns back to competitiveness.  Now a respected former Brown, Reggie Rucker, said on 92.3 the Fan that Holmgren stole money from then owner Randy Learner.  Rucker said that Holmgren was “the last in and first out” of the building on the few days he made an appearance.

 

Let me make one thing clear.  In my opinion the fact that the team is better now than it was when Eric Mangini was running things is due to two factors.  First, it would be almost impossible to screw a team up any more than Mangenious did.  Trading the 5th overall pick to New York for a few used Jets was unforgivable.  Second, GM Tom Heckert made some good choices.  While I did not agree with the choice of Weeden, most of the rest of Heckert’s picks were fine.  Think about where the Browns would be if they had followed my advice and selected Russell Wilson as QB in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft.

 

Holmgren did nothing other than hiring Heckert.  Hiring an unproven and ill-equipped Pat Shurmur was just stupid.  Not only did he hire someone totally unprepared to do the job but then compounded the error by failing to give him the guidance to help him succeed.  The result was an offense that would have failed in an 8 year old league. 

 

Now Holmgren is gone.  I for one will add his name to the list of those against whom I will campaign if and when it comes up for Hall of Fame consideration.  The only other name on the list is Art Modell.  Neither of those two deserve to be in the Hall.

 

 

 

That’s what I think.  Tell me what you think.

 

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.  Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts.  You can hear the previous shows on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.

He also edits .  

To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.

 

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  • Author:
  • Published: Dec 19th, 2012
  • Category: Football, NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Josh McDaniel is the wrong choice to coach the Browns.

Josh McDaniel is the wrong choice to coach the Browns.

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Josh McDaniel is the wrong choice to coach the Browns.

English: Josh McDaniels at the 2009 Denver Bro...

English: Josh McDaniels at the 2009 Denver Broncos Fan Fair (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Those of you that have been reading this site for awhile know I am not a fan of Josh.

 

On Mar. 17, 2009 after Josh was caught trying to trade for QB Matt Cassel (NE) and caused his pro-bowl QB Jay Cutler to demand a trade, I wrote the following:

 

Bowlen blew it when he fired Mike Shanahan and blew it again in hiring the 32 year old McDaniels. McDaniels is not mature enough to be a head coach in the NFL. It was a bad hire and this is only the first screwup for which McD will be responsible.

 

I was correct.  Following that debacle, Josh was forced to give pro-bowl WR away for next to nothing and would have lost pro-bowl DE Dumerville to free agency if he had not been fired.  McD implemented a 3-4 forcing Dumerville to play OLB.  That is not the best way to use his talent.

 

To the credit of Bowlen (owner of the Broncos) his next hire was a good one.

 

Now the most persistent rumor about who will replace Shurmur is—wait for it—Josh McDaniel.  That would be a monumental mistake.

 

The history of the Bill Belichick coaching tree has been dismal.  Here are the results:

 

Josh McDaniels – Fired after less than 2 years

 

Eric Mangini Browns (2009-2010) – Was so bad at judging talent that he lost his GM control after a year and only got a 2nd year because Mike Holmgren wanted his boy Shurmur to get a 2nd year of OC before introducing the later as HC.

 

Romeo Crennel Browns (2005-2008) Chiefs (2012) – You would have thought that after the Crennel disaster the Browns owner would have had more sense than to hire another Beilchick clone. Not only did the Browns go for a clone but KC promoted Romeo after the team fired Haley.

 

Al Groh, New York Jets (2000) – Groh was lucky to survive a year.

 

Nick Saban, Miami Dolphins (2005–2006) – A much better college coach than pro.

 

Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions (2009–?) –  Jim has lost control of the team that has way too much talent to have this bad a record.

 

 

So my question is this:  What would make Jimmy Haslam even consider McDaniel for the job?

 

For one thing the 3-4 defense does not fit the Browns personnel at all.  The weakness of this team is at OLB.  And the strength is our DT rotation.

 

And don’t forget McDaniel drafted Tebow in the first round then did not develop his passing mechanics.  I wonder if he could not or just did not think it was a priority?

 

The biggest issue I have with Shurmur is that he is about as flexible as cement.  He seems incapable or unwilling to make adjustments during the game.  The same things have been said by players for McDaniel.

 

My experience has been those that believe they are the smartest guys in the room are usually not even in the running.  The Browns need a coach that will put the players in the best situation to take advantage of their abilities and help them win.  We did not see that with Shurmur and I doubt that McDaniel would be any different.

 

That’s what I think.  Tell me what you think.

 

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He edits .  

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Mike Holmgren’s legacy has been hurt by his job in Cleveland

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Mike Holmgren’s Legacy

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 21:  Cleveland Browns ...

NEW ORLEANS, LA – MARCH 21: Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren speaks briefly with San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner while attending the NFL Annual Meetings at the Roosevelt HotelÊon March 21, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite a NFL owners imposed lockout in effect since March 12, the league is conducting it’s annual owners meeting in New Orleans. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

When he went to Seattle he insisted on being both the GM and head coach.  In 2002 he was relieved of those powers.

On Dec. 20, 2009 prior to Mike Holmgren being named team president, I wrote an article entitled Is Holmgren the answer to the Browns problems?  I started the article this way:

Discussions of the Cleveland football guru position have reminded me of the movie “Joe and the Volcano.” The boss of a very young Tom Hanks is on the phone discussing a potential hire.

“I know he can get the job, but can he do the job?” I have exactly the same question about Mike Holmgren as the “football guru” of the Browns or any other team for that matter.

I went on to outline the draft picks that GM Holmgren made and how in 2002 he was relieved of his GM duties.  While there were indications that Holmgren might be able to do the GM job for the Seahawks, there were more reasons to relieve him of those duties.

His legacy in Cleveland will be based on the decisions he has made here as well as the results or lack of results that have been produced by those decisions.  The record of 10-28 under Holmgren is a black mark without question.  But beyond the record, there have been decisions that will impact the Browns and Holmgren’s legacy for years.

Team president is a very different position from that of GM.  A review of Holmgren’s primary decisions is necessary to see if he should be the second to go or not.

  1. The      first major decision by Holmgren was to give Eric Mangini one more year as      head coach.  It is possible that      Holmgren had already decided that Pat Shurmur was to be the HC of the      future.  But at the time Shurmur had      been the OC for the Rams for one less that successful season.  I have to wonder if Holmgren kept      Mangini to let Shurmur strengthen his resume?

I am sure that it was just a coincidence that Shurmur was represented by Bob Lamonte, same agent that Holmgren uses.  No matter what was the basis of the decision, Mangini failed and was fired at the end of the year.  The year was wasted and the team was worse off after than before.

  1. Holmgren      hired Tom Heckert as GM.  In my      opinion the grade for this decision is incomplete.  I have mixed feelings about Heckert and      will describe them in detail in a future post.
  1. The      next critical decision was the hire of Pat Shurmur as head coach.  I have already written about my view of      that decision.  In my opinion this      choice was a disaster.  It also      points out a major failing of Holmgren.

Hiring a young coach to lead the team is not necessarily bad.  However, Shurmur had very little experience at the job of OC and no previous head coaching background.  Given that, I expected Holmgren to spend a lot of time mentoring his young choice.  The lack of development exhibited by Shurmur was frightening.  If there was mentoring going on, it was not effective.  If not, Holmgren was not earning the millions the team was paying him.

  1. The      decision to allow Shurmur to be OC and head coach was a disaster from the      first snap.  It was a poor choice      because anyone new to head coaching in the NFL would be overwhelmed.  When Shurmur was appointed both as HC      and OC, he hid behind the OC function to the detriment of the HC position.
  2. The      next decision was the naming of the defensive coordinator Dick      Jauron.  He is the bright spot of      the coaching staff.  He has proven      his ability to hide weaknesses in the defense and overall has done very      well with the players he was given.
  3. The      next decision was the remainder of the coaching staff.  While some of these picks like Ray      Rhodes were fine, others have been disasters.  This group included weak points WR coach      Mike Wilson and special teams coach Chris Tabor.

By far the most damaging part of Holmgren’s Cleveland legacy is the total lack of urgency to win by him and his entire regime.  He seemed to care less about the long suffering Browns fans.  He also was willing to take full advantage of a disinterested owner.  In my opinion Holmgren stole the millions of dollars that he was paid by not doing his job.

I have been an opponent of any Hall of Fame consideration for former Browns owner Art Modell because of the theft of the Browns to Baltimore.  Because of the decisions Holmgren made, I will campaign against his election to the Hall as well.

That’s what I think.  Tell us what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He edits . Also listen to the best Sports Talk anywhere on the Internet and hear his sports show Monday-Thursday 6-7:30 PM EST on or http://mooheadradio.com/2.5/?page_id=21.  You can catch any interviews you missed on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.

 

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A plan for rebuilding the Cleveland Browns

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Where do the Browns go from here?

The Browns are now 3-5 and their chances of winning any more games are small.  They might steal a win from either the Jags or the Rams but the way they are playing there is no chance they can win any of their last 5 games.  Even the trip to the Cards on week 15 seems like an impossible win.

So the question is what do they do now and how do they proceed to prepare for 2012?  Here
is a plan.  The D has played fairly well despite being pushed around last week by the Texans.  The big issues are on offense.

  1.  The key issue is can the team win with Colt McCoy at QB?  I think they have decided that the QB must be replaced.  But this team is not likely to draft a QB in the first round.  The problem is this—When you pick a 2nd or 3rd round QB you get a guy with a great arm that could not hit the state of Ohio from downtown Columbus or a guy with good to very good accuracy but no stronger arm than McCoy’s.            Will  either of those guys do the Browns any good?   Probably not.  The Browns  have been the great arm 0 accuracy route with Anderson.
  2. They need to limit the playbook to the shotgun formations, go 2 TE 1 RB, and put Cribbs in motion as the flanker to  help Colt get a better pre-snap read of the D.  That will also allow him an additional half second to throw the  ball.  The WRs MUST run more accurate patterns and all plays that require the WR to stop and wait for the ball must  be eliminated from the playbook.  The West Coast Offense depends on hitting a moving WR with a short pass then  generating additional yards after the catch.
  3. Sign RB Hillis with FB money.  They MUST draft a RB high in 2012.  They let FB Vickers go and so far FB Marecic is a big time bust.
    He will not get any offer from another team because he is a one year wonder.  His injuries this year have eliminated
    any market value he might have otherwise had.  He is a victim of too many carries last season and the Madden
    Curse.  He is a good kid that has been in limbo all season due to injuries and his pending free agency.  If he refuses to sign a reasonable deal, the team should put him on IR and see what they can do next season.  He has been a valuable FB and can be
    again.  He catches the ball well and is an effective blocker.
  4. Promote RB Smith from the practice squad and start him.   He is the only back with any speed.
    He can be very effective running draws and sweeps out of the gun.  He has the speed to break a wheel route or
    draw for big yards as well.
  5. Put WR Massaquoi on IR.  He has suffered 3 concussive episodes in the last 2 games.  He needs to go on IR to protect his health.  I am not sure if he will ever be an effective WR but he must be healthy before the team can determine his long term ability to help the team.
  6. Put both WRs Norwood and Mitchell must get on the field.  Norwood has shown he can get open and catch
    the ball in the few opportunities he has had.   Mitchell is the only WR with great speed and size.  He must get a shot because this team has no one that can stretch the D.  They should  check on getting one more vet WR from those available.  Even WR Moss would help the team this year and help the evaluation of McCoy by providing a reliable guy that still has the speed to get deep and stretch the D.  A vet would also help develop the younger guys.  Say what you want about Moss.  He has a work ethic that no one questions.
  7. Most important, Pres. Mike Holmgren is going to have to take a much more active roll n the team.  HC Shurmur has proven that
    the combination of his duties of both HC and offensive coordinator are WAY too uch for him to handle.  He has held onto
    the job of OC because he is comfortable with that function.  He has failed to supervise the correction the pecial teams’ issues and the execution of the O has been abysmal.  Holmgren has to do the parts of the HC job that Shurmur cannot or will not do.
    Holmgren put his desire to be in the Hall of Fame on the line with his hire of Shurmur.  Now he has to step in
    to prevent the entire franchise and his hopes for election to the HOF from going up in flames.
  8. The team needs to draft a RB and a fast WR in the first round of the 2012 draft.  Given a 4 or 5 win season, they
    may be in a position to take RB Richardson of Alabama.  That would give them a combination of speed
    and power the team has not had since Hall of Fame RB Leroy Kelly.  They should take a QB with the 2nd
    round pick.  At this point it is possible that QB might be Griffin (Baylor) or Cousins (Michigan St.).  Both of these players have issues but would be a great improvement over the Browns current backup.
  9. The team MUST be more active in free agency in 2012.  This team has multiple needs on D and O that
    no amount of draft choices can fill.  Here is the problem with the draft only philosophy of the Browns.  By the time that you finally have enough good picks to fill the holes you will lose the 2009 and 2010 picks because they will be tired of losing and hearing “rebuilding is a process.”  If the team is not at least 8-8 by the end of 2012 it risks losing the fan base as well.   No team has been as inept and badly run over the last decade as the Browns.  Even the Bengals have won the division and gone to the playoffs in the last 5 years.  This fan base is dwindling because the team since its return in 1999 has been a disaster.

These moves will not do a lot of good in generating wins this year.  But this team is not going anywhere this season.  The one sure
full time job in sports talk in Northeast Ohio is the NFL Draft analyst.  Because within 2 or 3 weeks of the beginning of the season the fans are wondering what we should do with our early draft pick the next year.  The draft is the Browns fans’ Super Bowl because it is the only thing we have to look forward to.

 

That’s what I think.   What do you think?

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent.

He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on http://www.eBooks-Library.com/Contemporary/ and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/.  Also listen to the best Sports Talk anywhere on the Internet and hear
his sports show Monday-Friday 6-8 PM EST on
http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/
or
http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/.   You can be part of the show by calling our Herbalife Hotline at 216-539-0607.

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  • Author:
  • Published: Dec 20th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Is Holmgren the answer to the Browns problems?

Is Holmgren the answer to the Browns problems?

Tags:

t

Discussions of the Cleveland football guru position have reminded me of the movie “Joe and the Volcano.” The boss of a very young Tom Hanks is on the phone discussing a potential hire.

“I know he can get the job, but can he do the job?” I have exactly the same question about Mike Holmgren as the “football guru” of the Browns or any other team for that matter. According to all reports, he has been offered the job by Browns’ owner Lerner. He has said that he is seriously considering taking the job and will decide soon. That could be standing room only close (give me an offer now because I’m not going to be on the market long) on other jobs around the league.

If he is the president of the team (by the way, they already have one), fine. That means he will hire a GM that will have more of a chance for success drafting. However, Holmgren in the past has wanted the whole job and has not given up power easily. Does that ring any bells for another guy already in Brownstown?

But in 1999, Holmgren was hired by the Seahawks to be coach and GM. This was his first shot at “buying the groceries” in addition to cooking the meal in the words of Bill Parcells. To say the least, it did not go as well as he hoped.

Here are his 1st round picks for the Seahawks:

1999 R1 CH22 Lamar King DE Saginaw Valley State—King never developed as the pass rusher he was picked to become. He had just 12 sacks in 6 years, had some injury problems and was released by the Hawks after the 03 season.

2000 R1 CH19 Shaun Alexander RB AlabamaAlexander was a star that burned out way too soon. After an MVP season he faded quickly and was out of the league early in the 08 season.

R1 CH22 Chris McIntosh T Wisconsin—Mac was a can’t miss run blocker that did. He started 10 game in his rookie season and 3 more in 01 but was out of the league after that season.

2001 R1 CH9 Koren Robinson WR North Carolina State—Robinson developed nicely in 02 with 78 catches and had another 65 in 03. He would never reach 50 again in his career.

R1 17 Steve Hutchinson G Michigan—Hutch is one of the best Gs in the league but guards are usually 2nd or 3rd round picks. The Hawks lost him to free agency after the 05 season.

2002 R1 CH28 Jerramy Stevens TE Washington—Stevens is still in the league but had never developed into the weapon Holmgren though he would be. In 7 seasons through 2008 he had started only 32 games mostly as an injury replacement. He is at best a 2nd TE in a 2 TE set.

After the 2002 season, Holmgren was relieved of his GM duties. To be fair, he did have some notable picks in lower rounds but is this the kind of record as head draft guru that the Browns can depend on to turn the team around. I don’t think so.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Browns,NFL Football,NFL Draft,Draft results,Holmgren,Seahawks,Parcells,Lerner
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