Yesterday Tom Heckert spoke with Dustin Fox and Adam the Bull on 92.3 FM for nearly 30 minutes. Certainly that was far more than he spoke when he and Mike Holmgren held a dual presser together at the end of the Browns season. I thought the Bull and the Fox did a good job asking pretty pointed questions even if they didn’t get many answers. They asked about Colt McCoy, Peyton Hillis, Evan Moore, the wide receivers, Pat Shurmur’s performance this season and a host of other topics. In the end, despite some wide ranging questions, Tom Heckert didn’t say a whole lot. That’s just par for the course this time of year when the options are limitless and GMs prefer not to let anyone know which way they’re headed. It is also one of the worst times of year for fans because there is nothing to do but wait and speculate.
The Bull and the Fox did get one good bit out of Heckert. Adam leveled some heavy criticism toward the job that Pat Shurmur did this season with regard to the number of players on the field and some other gaffes unrelated to injuries or talent deficits. Predictably, Heckert disagreed vociferously, claiming that the effort levels and amount of adversity that Shurmur dealt with in his first year on the job were admirable. I know where Adam is coming from and I also understand why Heckert chose to defend his coach going into his second year on the job. Other than that exchange, we didn’t learn much except that we’ll have to wait and see.
Peyton Hillis? The Browns will talk to him and they’ll look at every other opportunity at running back in both the draft and in free agency. Quarterback? Colt McCoy is atop the depth chart right this second, but Heckert will explore every opportunity. When Heckert was asked specifically about drafting a QB high in the draft, he said he was open to anything even though he hasn’t been in a plush spot to draft that position highly in his career. Drafting is a lot about opportunity and Heckert didn’t have a lot of high draft picks in Philly, and certainly no needs at QB with Donovan McNabb in his prime for most of his tenure there.
I don’t think Tom Heckert was being disingenuous with his answers. Well, maybe he was a bit over-the-top making excuses for his head coach, but other than that, it seemed pretty honest. And that’s the point here. It is easy to be honest this time of year when a team needs as many parts as the Browns do. The Browns will be looking for lots of things this off-season other than left tackle, center and maybe five to seven starters on defense.
Even if you don’t like the overall philosophy of patience with the Browns, this time of year there is absolutely no other choice as we wait for all those pesky contenders to crown their champion. Then, and only then can the Browns get to work being the off-season champions.