Is Holmgren the answer to the Browns problems?



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 He has also published several novels on and edits .

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