Transcript: Mike Holmgren talks to Dave Mahler on KJR in Seattle 3-19-2012

Mike Holmgren joined Dave Mahler in Seattle this morning.

DM: I was worried about you last week. I’m reading all these articles on the internet that Mike Holmgren’s ticked off. Mike Holmgren’s mad. Mike Holmgren’s angry about the way the RG3 thing went down in the trade between the Redskins and the Rams. I was concerned about you, pal.

MH: (Joking) Well I really do appreciate your feelings about that, but no, I’m O.K. That, as happens on occasion with the media, was overstated just a little bit.

DM: Did it really? If you can, try to fill us in a little bit. I think the way everybody read it is that “Mike Holmgren’s ticked off because the Redskins and Rams have some pals in their front office. And that’s why that deal went down while we were offering just as good a deal if not better. Is that fair, or is that complete nonsense?

MH: Well, no I think there are parts of it… We were involved in discussions. Let’s put it that way. You know, and I thought we had enough bullet in the gun to perhaps make a run at that but it turned out we didn’t. So, I think trades are like games, you know. I mean you get competitive with it. At the time, we were kind of fired up about it. We were disappointed. Then you go on to plan B or plan C. That’s what happens in trades. That’s what happens in the draft. The one thing I’ve learned over the years, David, is that you can’t get so excited about a single transaction or a single draft pick or your position in the draft. Sometimes that guy doesn’t fall to you. Sometimes you don’t get him. If you let it bother you too much then you can’t regroup and do what you have to do after that.

DM: I don’t know if worry is the right word, but do you get concerned or do you have to address the guy that you still have there. A story like that gets out where clearly the Browns were trying to move up to get the number two pick and go after Robert Griffin III. And it doesn’t happen. Do you worry about the reaction of the guy you have there now in Colt McCoy.

MH: I really don’t. I think he’s a competitive guy. He understands this business. He and I had a really good talk before he left in the off-season. And he knew there was going to be competition coming into this next off-season and next training camp. I think if you’re just honest with him, then they’ll be able to handle most things. Is there a little side to any of the players that gets touched by something like that? In all honesty, there probably is. But, you know what? It’s a business and you gotta bounce back. And how you bounce back determines what kind of a guy you are. You remember when we got Matt (Hasselbeck) years ago. And then we didn’t start off so great and then I had to stick Dilfer in there and Matt didn’t like that very much. But it was part of the deal and he responded beautifully and became the player we all thought he could be. That’s the way most of these guys who are real pros handle it.

DM: No question about it. It does change, as you know, from player to player. You would think that’s the way it is for everybody, but sometimes it’s not. And the reason why I bring it up as well is not just to talk about Colt, but now we have this story that came out this morning with Peyton Manning going to go play for the Denver Broncos… What was your take on the news that Peyton Manning was going to be a Bronco?

MH: It didn’t surprise me. I think the teams that were involved in that all put their best foot forward and thought about it a lot, trying to get Peyton to come there.  But, he was only going to go to one place. If you were involved in that, you had to talk about that possibility of not getting him. Like I said earlier, life has to go on, because you don’t just take your ball and go home. He’s a wonderful player and Denver’s better right away. He’s a great player.

DM: They were a playoff team without him last year, Mike. Are they a Super Bowl contender with him?

MH: That’s hard to say Dave, because one guy can’t do it all by himself. But, you saw when he could not play last year what happened to a very proud Indianapolis group that had been very, very good for many years. So, he’s pretty important. You’re not going to go after a Peyton Manning at this stage of his career without the idea that this is why we’re doing it. You know, we’ re going for the whole deal.

DM: Let me ask you about a guy that the Seahawks just signed… The name Matt Flynn…

MH: Well I think most teams that were out this off-season determining their quarterback situation. Clearly the Seahawks did that and Matt Flynn was one of the guys out there, like Peyton, who was out there and had played pretty well. Quite well, as a matter of fact. (chuckling) I believe he holds the passing record for a team that’s had some pretty wonderful players. So, he became a pretty attractive candidate. When given the chance last year he had a really wonderful game against the Lions. It’s part of what every team does. Now that it’s done you have to roll up your sleeves and actually do it. I think any team that goes into a situation like that has thought it through not unlike the time we signed Matt (Hasselbeck) in Seattle.

DM: You brought Matt here and obviously you had the luxury of drafting him and watching him work out in Green Bay. John Snyder and Pete Carroll didn’t have that luxury. They did have the luxury of two games of actual game time… How about you? Was that just not enough for you to see of Matt Flynn and what do you need when analyzing a quarterback?

MH: The thing is that Matt (Hasselbeck) didn’t get to play a lot in regular season games, but we did have him for a full season and we did draft him. We knew him as well as you could know any player in that position, kinda learning and following in Brett’s (Favre) footsteps. But anyone who makes a decision like that one, you’re not always going to get, in fact, rarely do you get it spelled out where like when Peyton Manning goes to Denver, everyone in the world knows about Peyton Manning. Rarely do you get that opportunity. Sometimes you get into these situations where you feel you need a quarterback, that you just evaluate it the best way that you can, not unlike the draft, and then you pull the trigger. And then you make it work. I think the biggest thing that any team – not speaking specifically of Seattle now or any particular player – but any team, and you’ve heard me say this before. Once you decide that he’s your guy – once you decide that that’s the direction you want to go – then it’s pretty important that you commit. You say, “O.K we’re going to get through the tough stuff together. We know there’s going to be some learning curve and some struggles. But that’s O.K. If you believe in the person, and then that gives that guy confidence that he believes in you and you start developing the trust you need.

DM: Did you guys in Cleveland consider Matt Flynn at all?

MH: We did our due diligence and looked at – I’ll guess, including the draft, we probably looked at 10 or 12 quarterbacks. Maybe even more. Matt was one of them, yeah.

DM: Going back to the draft now, for you. Is Mike now happy with Colt McCoy. Do you think you’ll try to draft a quarterback or do you feel comfortable coming back with Colt McCoy even after trying to move up?

MH: Listen, and I want to make something pretty clear. I might as well do it on your show seeing as it’s beamed all over the world. (chuckling) I like Colt McCoy as a player. I think he’s a fine player and has a chance to be a fine player in this league. Last year I thought one, he got beat up pretty good. We didn’t protect him quite as well. I thought our running game after Peyton Hillis got hurt wasn’t helping him enough in my opinion. And then we had the lockout. So you had a new coach, new system, new quarterbacks. You put all that together and I think it was a little bit of a short deck. So, I’m not down on Colt McCoy at all. But I will always – and as long as I’m in a position like this – we are always going to look for quarterbacks. Make that pile a little bit bigger. Try to create some competition. To try and bring the best out of the people you already have. I know Colt as a person. He’ll respond as well as anyone in the world to this. I’m not down on Colt. He can play.

  • Harv 21

    obviously people are going to jump all over the obvious contradiction of “you pick your QB and ride him through tough times” v. Colt can play but he’ll face competition.  But I wonder why Holmgren doesn’t just shut up now in the month before the draft. Talking to Seattle stations as much or more than local outlets just gives the impression his heart is elsewhere. Stop, Mike. The fans here may be disturbed but you’re the face of their obsession. Don’t be tone deaf.

  • Dan in Kuwait

    I hope Mike agrees with his own words in this case. I saw no reason after last season to bench Colt when he is getting creamed off the right side on every play. I couldn’t fault him for holding onto the ball too long when there were few recievers with the ability to get open. I couldn’t fault him for having limited options in the game management when our running capabilities were nonexistent. I have seen very few poor personnel moves, but in the midst of last season, I really wished we had a great pass blocking running back like we had in the previous years. I hope that Mike is looking at the “other” ex-Texan now and trying to make amends with him just to add more protection on that line.

  • Max

    I wish, at least, that they would stop using the lockout as an excuse for the slow (perhaps non-existent) progress of things on the offensive side of the ball last year.  It’s not like the lockout was a surprise, so they either should have stuck with Mangini for at least one more year post-lockout, knowing that it would be near impossible to install a new coach and offense without a full off-season, OR they could put their guy in, who shares their philosophy, and then shut up about it. To make that change knowing full well the lockout was coming and the ramifications that would entail, and then to bring it up almost any chance he gets is disingenuous at best and him playing us for fools at worst.

  • dis is me

    Nothing to see here folks move along…

  • It’s almost like he’s an idiot and doesn’t know how to be a General Manager and that is why he was run out of Seattle and will, soon, be run out of Cleveland?

    Or, what I’ve been saying for months.  “It’s coming back around again…”

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    It doesn’t matter but seriously why the constant need for Holmgren to still be talking to the Seattle media, does he still talk to the GB media too? 

  • porkchopexpress

    I agree, his record didn’t sell me totally on being a lockdown talent evaluator, but I felt like he would make a good franchise face and guy who difused heated situations. He really has been a big disapointment in this area.  Occassionally he has a presser or radio show where he comes off as folksy yet direct and makes a lot of sense and I feel like thats the guy.  All too often he is completely tone deaf and clueless (and 2 days too late) as to how address people or situations in this town.

    Most importantly he doesn’t have the slightest clue as to the true level of frustration of fans.  As you mentioned in another post we’re rabid/incoherent at this point.  Holmgren constantly sounds like my dad on long car trips when talking ot the fans “Sit down Shut up we’ll get there when we get there”. 

  • MarkinVegas

    Did he mean short deck, or short bus?

  • Lostfan

    Total bullshitter, this team will suck this is year 3 for him and the Bob LaMonte factory. No offense and he lied to the season ticket holders saying this team can’t go 4-12 or 6-10 “we will be much better this year” HOW is that possible with Mo Mass, he coun’t start on 31 other teams and Little can’t catch. The best free agency receivers in YEARS and they don’t invite any for a visit. Am I the only fan that is confused by this move or should I say lack of a move? They don’t seem to get that the fans are sick and tired of waiting.

  • Max

    the DJ is represented by Bob Lamonte


  • If McCoy was really the guy then you don’t go after one of THE most sought after QB’s in the draft…end of story! I gotta laugh at how Holmgren and Heckert keep blowing smoke up our you know whats about this QB situation.

  • mgbode

    I can understand them being happy with Blackmon/Little/Norwood&Cribbs in our WR1/WR2/Slot sets.   MoMass is a decent backup WR if he can stay healthy.  Open competition for our last slot (Carlton’s last chance, maybe we draft a Criner or a Childs or a Broyles – PUP him)

  • Holmgwin?

    Wow another Seattle interview but no cameras or recording gear allowed in CLE presser!? What a joke, I know we need consistency but still would not be mad at the Holmgren regime being outed this year. Total lack of respect shown to CLE fan base, total lack of effort shown in his own job.

  • BIKI024

    who cares where or who he does the talking to??  just like he said, it’s beemed all over the world, you can download it and listen to it, or read the transcript above like WFNY so kindly posted..  the fans in cleveland seem to have the need to overreact and whine about every little thing.  what exactly is the problem with him saying what he said??  the guy in Seattle asked all questions that i believe most fans in cleveland want to know the answers to and he answered them, and i appreciate and respect his answers.  not sure how i would’ve answered any of them differently.  

  • BIKI024

    did i miss the presser, when did Holmgren get announced as the Browns GM????  

  • BIKI024

    when MoMass is healthy and has a #1 guy opposite from him, he has proven that he can play.  hopefully we do go for Blackmon so that we finally have a guy who commands a double team.. and who knows, maybe they’ll bring Braylon back!  

  • BIKI024

    if you have a shot to get a guy like RG3 you go for him, because he can most likely do more with less than Colt requires to run the offense successfully..  but plan b is to now add more talent to the offense to make life easier for Colt, or whoever we put out there as QB.. not sure if too many guys in the NFL would be able to succeed with the talent we were putting out there on offense for most of last year.. 

  • BIKI024

    how many teams do as many pressers as it seems the CLE fan base requires??  what’s the point of any more pressers anyhow???  rarely does a team give a press conference during this time of the season, there’s nothing to report except for when they make any free agent signings and then after the draft!!!   for christ’s sakes, you guys seem to find a reason to whine about everything and anything!  

  • Jason

    Let’s play a little game where I pretend I’m the GM of a long standing fan base. Said fan base has suffered through 12 years of mediocre (or worse) football and are clamoring for a winner. Do I: A. Take every opportunity to reach out to local media outlets to explain our action and plan, and assure the fan base we intend to win, OR B. Ignore local media outlets, refuse to allow them to even record sound bites, act arrogant and condescending when I do hold press conferences, and then turn around and conduct insightful and friendly on air calls with radio disc jockeys on the other side of the country? Hmmm…

    As far as nothing to report, considering what other teams are doing and the fact that we have lost more talent than we have acquired, the fan base rightly deserves more of the type of commentary Holmgren happily gave KJR.

    Comments above suggested Browns fans can “google-fu” all over the Internet to get their Browns news, regardless of what radio station gets the interview. Once again the fans have to do all the work, and then should fork over their money for the privilege of watching a sucky team. There’s no give and take in this – just take. Time for the front office to wake up. The goodwill well is almost dry.

  • BIKI024

    let’s play a game where we are in the real world of the NFL and compare how many team GMs or Presidents give as many pressers as you are suggesting??  we’re in the middle of free agency and draft preparations, I think the FO has plenty of other things to do than to give minute by minute updates on what tomorrow’s or yesterday’s move is/was for the team. it seems to me, like every other team, we should only have pressers when major transactions are made, etc. 

    besides, I really don’t see the net gains for the fans as this isn’t the time that they are going to show any cards to anyone, so your best bet is to keep coming to sites like WFNY and ClevelandFrowns.com as well as the countless other mediums where you can get minute by minute, at-times hair-pulling explanations of what the Browns FO ate for breakfast yesterday..

  • Wheel

    Great points. Not to mention Holmgren is getting paid millions to be the face of the franchise.  It’s ridiculous Cleveland fans have to listen to a Seattle radio station for information on the Browns.

  • Wheel

    That’s great if they draft Blackmon, but what about all of the other holes in this roster?  How can you explain a team with so many needs on offense choosing to not try and upgrade through free agency?  Please don’t say it’s the money.  Would you rather see Randy Lerner have more in his wallet than the Browns upgrade at WR, RB, or RT?

  • BenRM

    I think he does understand the level of frustration. I just don’t think he cares. I think he feels he is here to do a job. Will do that job the way he thinks he should. And that’s that. 

    Sometimes I find it refreshing. Sometimes it drives me up the wall.

  • lerner really needs to step in and check this jackass.  this has gone beyond tone-deaf and into willful arrogance.  

    lookit mike, if you dont like cleveland — leave.  just say it was a mistake, i miss seattle, that’s my home, and im going back there.

    but dont continually cash the paychecks while at the same time insulting your customer base. sorry but it’s insulting when the president of the browns cant even present a facade that’s he’s more than a short timer. it is insulting and it is just a bad business model.

  • Jeremy

    What if we draft Trent Richardson, There is our RB hole filled.  Hill from GT, WR downfield threat hole filled.  Draft RT at 37th pick and we have something going.  BTW you could plug in a few WR in that 22 slot not just Hill.  Is it better than last year?  Who knows, but it is a start.

  • Jeremy

    Exactly what information did this radio station get from him?  Hell, if it makes everyone happy we should record what Holmgren and Heckert said at the end of the year, and then loop it on a local station every week.  These guys aren’t saying anything we don’t already know.  “We like Colt McCoy, there will be a competition next year.”  “We won’t be active in free agency.”  “We are building through the draft.”  SHOCKER PEOPLE THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY HAVE DONE SO FAR.  STOP BEING SURPRISED AND STOP CRYING ABOUT IT!!!! And quit crying about them saying the same crap to radio stations.  Its not like theyre saying “Hey listen keep this on the down low, but we are picking Blackmon with the number four and we may or may not sign Steinbach again.  I’m  telling you guys in Seattle, don’t tell Cleveland I said that though.”  Come on people!!!

  • I would respect him more if he said something like “Look, this was an error on my part.  I like the job but not enough to leave my home-town.  I’m done, it’s been fun, sorry if I angered or upset anyone. Bye.”

  • Tomato/tomata.