Heckert on difference between Browns and Colts

Tom Heckert had a statement released by the Browns today, but he also spoke to WKNR’s Tony Grossi and gave this little nugget.

“The difference between us and the Colts is the Colts won the close games and we didn’t,” Heckert said. “We’ve proved we can play with anybody. I think the outlook is awesome.”

In many ways Heckert’s right, but if you look a little bit deeper and ask why the Browns didn’t win their close games you arrive at two things almost every time, in all likelihood.

1. Quarterback

2. Coaching

How much of those two things Tom Heckert had control over is anyone’s guess. Certainly Pat Shurmur was always mostly tied to Mike Holmgren who worked with Pat’s uncle Fritz. Additionally, it has always been speculated that Mike Holmgren was the driving force behind drafting Brandon Weeden. Even if Tom Heckert would have drafted Brandon Weeden, it is usually assumed that Holmgren drove the decision to do it with the second pick in the first round rather than waiting until the second round.

Maybe it’s one of those baseless assumptions and rumors, but it sure seemed that way with the press conferences after the draft.

[Related: Browns Release Statement on Firing of Heckert, Shurmur]


    The Colts were also playing this season with a much larger “purpose” in Chuck Pagano. To deny that that motivation had any impact on their play would be short-sighted. At the end of the day, you still have to line up on the field, but if you’re that much more focused and motivated (see; Little, Greg) you play that much better in tight games.

  • dan

    Yes, the difference between the Browns and the Colts this year was just a little thing — winning football games. How shortsighted to judge a team on that!

  • humboldt

    Not sure I agree with Heckert that we showed we could play with anybody. We were totally overmatched against the Giants and especially against the Broncos, the latter of whom is an elite team that exposed our disturbing lack of acumen at QB and in the secondary.

  • Roosevelt

    I don’t agree with that. People who perform at a high level know how to perform at a high level without anyone getting cancer. I think this whole thing is a nice story and it’s the type of thing that ESPN likes to squeeze until it hurts, but I don’t think it’s very substantive.

  • BenRM

    I agree with you on the Broncos game, but the Browns played with the Giants.

  • humboldt

    As I recall, we were in the game for the first half and then just collapsed in the second. But no matter, we were most definitely exposed by elite QBs and good coaching and game-planning

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Most NFL games are close at some point sorry Tom but this is akin to the Indians repeatedly telling everyone how they spent more time in first place in the Central. The difference is Indianapolis had more playmakers and probably more importantly coaches who both prepared and put those playmakers in positions to excel.

  • saggy

    I wonder if Indy had Greg Little and the Browns had Reggie Wayne.

  • Steve

    He’s right that the Colts got some breaks to go their way. Its tough to win 11 games when you get outscored overall on the season. But you don’t get to simply compare yourself to the “luckiest” team and say that you should be there too.


    Giants game might have been different with Haden instead of Skrine on Cruz. The Browns did have a 14-0 lead, though, and still lost 41-27.

  • bigduke69

    Totally agree that when teams “consistently” win close games it boils down to great coaching, many times having great assistant coaches and a great QB. I’ve read several articles stating Shurmur is a great offensive mind while with the Rams. What happened? Talent drain with the Browns? Or maybe these writers have no clue and Shurmur is overrated.
    Maybe Shurmur will be one of the many coordinators who get promoted beyond their skill set e.g. Josh McDaniels is a perfect example and can only be a decent offensive coordinator (provided he has players that can perform under his offensive schemes) and NOT a head coach.
    Oh and btw, the Weeden experiment is over. Dump him and get a real QB, not an aging rookie. Drafting a 29 year old with a #1 draft pick. Are you kidding me?!?!? WHAT A WASTE OF A #1 DRAFT PICK!!!!! The Steelers, Bengels and Ravens have to be compensating the Browns ownership in some monetary $ way under the table to keep them consistently bad since 1999. They just can’t do these things without doing it on purpose!!!!

  • bigduke69

    Does anyone remember who we drafted using the draft picks we got with the Julio Jones trade? Are any of these players still with the Browns? Curious if that was yet ANOTHER wasted draft pick too.
    Oh sure, don’t get me wrong, I love seeing Greg Little “trying” to catch passes. He’s perfect for the Browns. Having Julio Jones lining up on our side of the ball might have been too much of a culture shock to handle for the Browns e.g. having a great wide receiver playing for the Browns.

  • CBI

    Yea, that and the Colts held an absolute clinic on how to move from one franchise quarterback to another in one year while the Browns qb carousel had been spinning for a decade+. Why is it i feel sometimes that the Browns can’t even lose right?

  • JamminOnTheOne

    Peyton Manning exposes EVERYONE. We played some really close games this season. Lots of them turning on a single play. I agree completely with his point. Damn good job especially for a young team with such bad coaching.

  • Dort

    Wayne is 10 years older than Little and won’t be around much longer. Little will be catching footballs for many more years to come. He has much more upside than Wayne.