Holmgren goes on media tour promising ‘big jump’ for Browns in 2012

We’ve heard from Mike Holmgren several times over the last few months say that he expects the Browns to take a significant leap forward. Not just in ‘intangibles’ but in the win column. The Browns were 4-12 last season, and 5-11 in his first year as President of the team.

In an interview on ESPN Cleveland today, Holmgren was asked by Tony Rizzo what happens if the team doesn’t take that jump forward. (Audio here.)

As you can imagine, there was no real answer given.

Holmgren admitted that he “would not be happy if we had the same record or close to it”, but then went on to reaffirm that he believes in his coach, and the people they have in place-

“You just have to persevere and get through the tough stuff when you’re building it.”

Since the beginning, Holmgren has talked about this being a long process. He has talked about consistency and letting the plan develop. Does that mean that if things go south this season Holmgren won’t consider making a change with his Head Coach?

Don’t get me wrong, I want Pat Shurmur to succeed. Not because I like Pat Shurmur, I really don’t know the guy what so ever. Met him one time at a Browns practice and I’m sure he doesn’t remember meeting me. I want Shurmur to succeed because like you I am growing tired of rebuilding. I know that replacing the coach would mean another set-back and more than likely another couple years before the Browns had any shot to compete in the North division, let alone the playoffs. This isn’t a piece calling for Shurmur to be out.

I would say that Holmgren is kind of painting himself into a corner.

This is his timetable. He is the one saying ‘significant jump’ in win and loss record. Not just the fans.

He says this despite a returning offense that was absolutely atrocious last season. An offense that will rely heavily on rookie running back Trent Richardson and rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden. An offense that will count on second year wide receiver Greg Little becoming a feature type wide out. An offense that will count on Mohamed Massaquoi to be more than he has been the last two years of his career. In other words, the odds are against it.


Following his interview on Rizzo’s show, Holmgren taped a segment for All Bets Are Off, and then went on the Bull and Fox show on 92.3 The Fan with the same message- the Browns will be significantly better next season.

In both radio interviews, Holmgren said he believed the team was just a successful field goal snap away from being 7-9 last season. He mentioned that there should then be a little improvement in year 3. So if you were to try and read between the lines, it would be safe to say that Holmgren expects this team to be at least 8-8 next season.

Adam “The Bull” Gerstenhaber did follow-up, asking Holmgren what would happen if the team didn’t progress, and he refused to answer saying he believed things will get better not worse.

Is Holmgren trying to sell season tickets? Is he just trying to get the fans interested and excited about the team going into next year? Is he trying to take a little heat off of his head coach and GM?

Whatever his reasoning, Mike Holmgren has set the bar himself for next season. The sad part might just be that if the Browns were able to just clear that bar, we’d probably be ecstatic about it.

  • You know what I don’t recall?  The serious, fact-based criticism from some of the writers and some of the commentators.  It was more of the “give ’em more time” and the famous “regime change == losses if you do it too often” garbage.

  • dan

    B-bo — “Welcome to Cleveland:Where you can please none of the people, none of the time”

    I think the comment system chopped off the end of your comment. I think what you meant was “Welcome to Cleveland: where you can please none of the people, none of the time, with a team that after years of rebuilding is still only 4-12 or 5-11, no matter what nonsense you say, or even if you ignore your fan base entirely.”

  • mgbode

    plenty of criticism ori.  almost all had plans on replacing Colt, finding a RT, WR, along with constant comments on how our defense was not as good as the overall numbers indicated.

    just because some don’t want everyone burnt at the stake doesn’t mean they didn’t see the issues.

  • Exactly.  All of this b.s. means nil if you don’t win football games. 

  • It all seems phony to me.  Remember the thing about “if they draft a QB in the first round/with one of their first three picks, I will commit something” nonsense?  It’s that kind of lame-duck stuff that makes me angry.

    It’s this modern, complacency/neutered-ness that gives me the willies.  I’m sick of this new age and it just started.  I think you’re pretty smart and you always bring it with facts and you take a side and you stick with it.  There aren’t enough like you.  I might disagree at times, but at least you hang your hat somewhere.

    These days, so many “fans” I interact with are just so neutral and non-committal it makes me want to re-think my stance on a number of issues.

  • mgbode

    mis-read your first comment above then.  yeah, the frustrating thing is when people blow with the wind of popular opinion without sitting down and thinking things through for themselves.  

    we’re all guilty of it at times, but it’s important to step back and think things through and then go and look things up and make sure that what you think you saw jives with what actually happened, etc.

  • mgbode

    nad unfortunately, you can win/lose football games in March, April and May, but they don’t get banked until September.

  • The problem is that there was that here, from the folks in charge as well as the huddled masses. But sadly you have a habit of tending to see any point contrary to your own–at least on the Browns–as inferior to one degree or another, and often in an insulting/degrading manner.

    You are clearly an intense fan of the team. Kudos for that. It’s simply that your methods are often…off-putting.

  • That is fantastically said. And I fear our 22nd pick overall will cost us come that time.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Your fear is the giant proverbial pitfall awaiting not only Weeden but the Browns.  They, the Browns, set themselves up for it though.  One day they talk about rebuilding through the draft then the next it’s how a better record is expected, a jump in victories.  I guess this past draft was everything they had dreamt of and will cure all.  They are putting everything on the shoulders of Weeden which to me makes no sense.  What also doesn’t make sense is the numerous reportys that had Kendall Wright been around @ 22 he was their man.  It doesn’t matter because they’ll never admit anything anyways.

  • mgbode

    pick22 will definitely have alot to say whether we banked wins or losses this offseason.

    the quote above is roughly from Bill Walsh (probably not exact wording as I went off memory)

  • So is a person allowed to believe with great conviction that the team and FO need adequate time to establish themselves and their system before being evaluated? Or does that constitute “blowing in the wind” because it’s not aggressive enough?

  • Did anyone on the Titanic think the captain just needed more time to establish himself as he was ramming into a chunk of ice the size of a nuclear reactor?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    The captain was an older experienced man wasn’t he?  Maybe he was just there to answer “business related” ?s and be an advisor.

  • mgbode

    you don’t have to have great conviction on every argument, no.

    however, there are some who will just go with the popular opinion of the day even if it is directly contradictory of yesterday’s opinion.

    all our opinions should be ever-evolving.  all I ask is that people think things through.  I think a majority do, but those are not always the loudest ones.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    you don’t have to have great conviction on every argument, no…I think you found the potential motto for the upcoming Browns season.

    I don’t think the Browns have any conviction it’s why they send nothing but mixed messages. They need to check the wind in the morning before deciding how to proceed.

  • Garry_Owen

    Go Browns. 

  • mgbode

    Here we go Brownies, here we go!

  • Steve-o

    There is no reason for Holmgren to put himself and the team on the spot with a win/loss prediction, especially this time of year. Maybe he just hasn’t looked at the depth chart, with three rookies likely to start on offense and pretty much the same defense. Or maybe he didn’t bother to examine our 2012 schedule, 3rd toughest in the NFL.

    We should be favored against:

    Have a good chance against:
    Chiefs, Bills, Redskins, Raiders 

    Won’t be favored against:
    Bengals, Steelers, Ravens, Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, Broncos, Chargers

    Looks like 4-6 wins. Maybe 7 if all the planets align. At any rate, Holmgren is making statements he’ll regret.

  • mgbode

    you have no idea how good those teams will be when we play them though.   teams fall apart, could have their starting QB injured, etc.

  • Problem is, our current captain took the helm well after the initial collision. Now he’s just doing his best to recover the ship.
    Of course, if the Titanic is any comparison…

  • mgbode

    so, you are saying that Holmgren pushed Mangini off the Titanic so he could assume control?

  • mgbode

    go listen to the Mike&Mike interview from this morning.  Holmgren does admit this (though he says “the receiver” but right after Greenie mentioned Kendall Wright).

    Basically, they were talking about trading up from #37 for Weeden if they could get Wright because they thought they could get both.   When Wright was gone, there wasn’t anyone else higher on their board and they didn’t want to take the risk of not being able to trade up (and/or someone jumping them for Weeden).

  • PaulTagliabue was the originalskipper, and it’s been a struggle for the helmeversince

  • DontbringLBJback

    I was thinking 5-11 before the draft.  With TRich, and Weeden (hopefully an improvement), 7-9 is possible.  8-8 is being very optimistic, but it’s possible.  8-8 means we win 4 out of the 5 we have a good chance to win (Colt, Chiefs, Bills, Redskins, Raiders), we split with the Bengals and Ravens, and we win 2 out of the 5 remaining games (Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, Broncos, Chargers).  It’s not impossible.

  • mgbode

    gotta mix in a Steeler upset in there.  we’ve done it with worse teams.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    It doesn’t matter like I said I don’t believe what the Browns sell AFTER the fact.  There have been to many examples whether it was the “supposed” dealings with Minnesota for the #2, the move one draft spot up or this supposed Weeden thing.

  • The_Real_Shamrock
  • The_Real_Shamrock
  • HUT!?

    Who invited porckchopexpress? He always takes things too far.