Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

16 Oct 2012

Mike Holmgren Out in Cleveland

New Browns owner Jimmy Haslem will reportedly cut "football czar" Mike Holmgren and replace him with team president Joe Banner. Could head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert be next?

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 16 Oct 2012

49 comments, Last at 18 Oct 2012, 1:07pm by dryheat


by bernie (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 1:31pm

I hear Matt Millen is available.

by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 1:31pm

Makes sense with new ownership, but the Browns were better than a 1-5 team. Not much better.

Holmgren does get to leave before his legacy really gets hurt by his time in Cleveland, at least in my mind.

by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 3:38pm

To me his only legacy is as a good head coach. He's been lousy as a GM everywhere he's been and his time in Cleveland only solidified that reality.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 1:39pm

A terrific coach, and a lousy front office manager. Not an unusual circumstance.

by putnamp :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 2:04pm

It's unfortunate he won't go back to coaching - he was a hell of a playcaller.

by Passing through (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 2:12pm

If you're a coach and you want to protect your reputation, only take a job with a team when that team already has a good QB.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:21pm

Mike Shanahan is doing okay in DC, where he didn't have a QB until he went out and got one

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 9:13am

Well, he really didn't look very good before he got the QB. He had record of 11-21 prior to Griffin, who by the way is playing great as a rookie, and who they had to trade a king's ransom of picks to get. So maybe that's not the best example of an established coach doing well on a team without a QB.

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 2:39pm

Will not be surprised if next head cooach of Beowns is currently coordinator offense or defense of Steelers or is Russ Grimm. Reason cuz Haslem come from Pitt and can help new team and hurt old team same time. Kind of like reverse Cowher. Ooh or that. Maybe Cow her go back to cleveland

by Bem (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 2:45pm

Well it won't be dick lebeau...and i doubt todd haley. I think Haley may get another shot eventually at being a HC, but not yet. And as a steelers fan, I don't understand why Grimm's name is not brought up more in head coaching searches

by wr (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 7:44pm

This might be related to the 'matador' blocking scheme currently employed by the Cardinals.

by Jerry :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 6:29pm

Haslem is (was?) a Steeler fan and recently a minority owner, but he's not from Pittsburgh. More importantly, I'm guessing he'll give Banner a lot of leeway to hire football people.

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 7:47pm

Sorry that was what meant. Did nit mean to imply guy was living ib pittsburgh. He was minority owner steelers but had Timken company in Ohio which was main deal if am understanding situation correctly. Was in Cleveland area myself on day when Haslem had press cobferbebce about buying team

by mrh :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 3:17pm

Andy Reid may be in search of a job - Haslam is a PIT guy but Banner is a Philly guy. Of course, Reid and Banner may not be on good terms.

by Michael19531 :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 3:18pm

Heckert & Shurmur are next (To be whacked) I'm sure. I think that Az D Coordinator Ray Horton will be the next Brown's head coach.

It'll be interesting to see what happens upstairs. If KC axes Scott Pioli, maybe he will wind up "On the shores of Lake Erie."

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 7:56pm

Excellent choice Michael19531. Horton hears a ho. Going to be dynamic head coach. Good personakity. Relates well to players. Has some life ublike boring guys like shurmur, Crennell, Munchak anf some others. Good football mind if base on how he game plans arizona defense and utilizes personnel. Was thinking a couple weeks ago how Horton going to be a top candidate for head coaching sjob in Janiary

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:28pm

I think I saw "Horton Hears a Ho" in the adult section of the video store. I'll check it out next time

by Dean :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 10:29am

If you were in the adult section, it was probably Horton Hires a Ho.

by Michael19531 :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:39pm

Thanks for the compliment Raider Joe. Coming from you, that really means something.

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 7:59pm

Sorry soluble post. So just edit this one to say Raiders going to right ship soon. Just have some kinks to work out. Sail got ripped a little you could say. Fixing now. Will go back up soon and shipwill be on to smooth sailing before you know it

by James-London :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 3:24pm

As this is the Browns, and God hates Cleveland, any chance they trade for Jeff Ireland?

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by Dean :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 4:46pm

And the Factory of Sadness churns

by Theo :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 5:20pm

The Browns did well in 2007 in getting a LT in Thomas, a QB in Quinn and a corner in Wright. That's pretty good for one draft.
It's only too bad that Quinn thought he was drafted to play outside linebacker.
After that, the Browns miss half a draft in 2008. Draft Robiskie in 2009 (that doesn't help) and draft Joe Haden who has the most ridiculous wikipedia photograph I've ever seen.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 5:33pm

I, like everybody else, just went to Wikipedia, and Joe Haden is now one of my favorite players based on that picture alone.

However, saying they did well by getting a "QB in Quinn" is stretching it more than a bit.

by Will :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 5:51pm

Despite his Wikipedia photo, Joe Haden is a solid player.


by Independent George :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 10:19am

What do you mean by, "despite"?

by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 5:52pm

Brady Quinn always stands out in my mind because of an article they ran on here about how college starts could be an indicator of future NFL success. The article argued against drafting Jamarcus Russell based on that (got that right in a big way), but then made the tragic error of singling out Quinn as being the QB who teams should be taking instead. Can't recall the author's name right now, but I remember the article itself quite well.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:38pm

You're thinking of the Lewin Career Forecast, which this year released it's 2.0 iteration

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:29am

ALL of the quarterbacks in the 2007 draft class ended up being completely marginal. The best of the entire set are probably Kevin Kolb, Brady Quinn, and Tyler Thigpen, which is... amazingly scary.

Part of me wonders whether or not the problem was that OK, scouts were in love with Russell for the incorrect reasons listed in the Lewin Career Forecast, but I wonder if the reason that Quinn, Kolb, Beck, and Stanton were drafted in the first 2 rounds was just because of numbers: that is, the best quarterback goes very high, the next best goes late in round 1, etc.

by tuluse :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:39am

It certainly seemed at the time like the Browns talked themselves into Quinn.

by dryheat :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 1:07pm

Coming out of the Tim Couch/Kelly Holcomb/Ken Dorsey years, Quinn represented hope.

by Theo :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 6:18pm

They went 10-6 with Quinn being backup (or 3rd string).
With hindsight it wasn't a good move and no one knows what could have been, but at the time the Browns had potential. Quinn didn't pan out, but that doesn't mean drafting him was a bad move. Quinn wasn't "they could have known" material.

by James-London :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 6:20pm

That photo's awesome.

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by young curmudgeon :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 7:38pm

Once I saw Haden's photo, I tried searching for a context in which that look would fit. So far I've tried Kool and the Gang, the O'Jays, and Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose with no luck. Anyone else have an idea of who might have had a similar look?

BTW, the girls in Sister Rose were very attractive!

by Marko :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 9:54pm

It looks like he shaved his head while having an off-center ramekin on top of it.

by evenchunkiermonkey :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 8:09am

TBS baseball sideline reporter Craig Sager. Joe actually lent Craig the velour jacket for last nights NY vs DET game.

by ODBvernon :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:52pm

Thank you, thank you for directing us to Joe Haden's wikipedia page. My first thought when seeing him was Gremlins II and that is always a welcome thought.

He's probably my new fave player in the non-Colt, non-Peyton, non-Dallas Clark division.

by Mark Coulis (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 6:37pm

Mike never had ANY fire in his big belly, and he was here just for the big bucks. Unfortunately , he wins on those merits, because his $16 mm contract for 2013 and 2014 will be paid. Randy made some stupid moves like that during his tenure as owner. Holmgren pushed Jim Brown out, and when Jim returned last month, that was the sign to me that things were about to change for fatso. I am hopeful that the new owner will make changes to assure competitive football play by our Browns. That will be so sweet.

by jackiel :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:08pm

I think Lerner had already decided to sell by the time he hired Holmgren and the crew from Philly. They were brought in to get the clean up process started before turning it over to someone else. Holmgren never gave me the sense that he was just itching to get back in the game after leaving Seattle.

by Anonymous2 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 8:15pm

Holmgren's drafts have been suspect, I grant you. However, 2.5 seasons is not enough to adequately assess your first draft class, let alone your most recent. The thing that has hurt the Browns most since coming back to Cleveland has been their inability to stick with any single GM (or coach) for more than 3 years. As a result, they are constantly stuck with players who don't fit the scheme of the current coach.

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:28pm

I thought that the Browns were slowly turning things around from a very low starting point. I'm not sure that the biggest problem wasn't a substandard coaching staff.

by Jerry :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 5:07am

This move isn't about where the Browns are right now. (If the Browns were really good, it might be different.) It's about a new owner coming in and being comfortable with the guy at the top of the football operation. Banner will presumably assemble the football staff, which may mean he's bringing in people he's comfortable with, regardless of how competent any current employee might be.

by 3.14159265359 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:47pm

Holmgren should be ashamed of himself. Give someone competent that many high draft picks, the team should be good on at least one side of the ball.

by Michael19531 :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:55pm

Cleveland's biggest problem is that they've employed some front office guys with impressive credentials (Carmen Policy, Dwight Clark, Butch Davis, Phil Savage, Holmgren) but who all seemed to have lost their fastball.

For example

In 1999, instead of drafting Donovan McNabb, Edgerren James, Torrey Holt, Champ Bailey or Duante Culpepper, the Brownies drafted Tim Couch.

In 2000, they took a 5th round flier on Minnesota (Golden Gophers, not Vikings) qb Spergon Wynn instead of using it Wynn's Big 10 paison Tom Brady

In 2001, Butch Davis ignored his scouts and took Gerard Warren at #3 overall instead of Richard Seymour.

Davis ignored Boston College rb William Green's extensive rap sheet and took him in the 1st round.

In 2004, they took Miami te Kellen Winslow instead of Ben Rothelisberger.

The beat just keeps going on and on, but to be fair, they may have finally found keepers in Joe Hayden and Trent Richardson.

by Mash Wilson :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 7:59am

That's grossly unfair.

Tim Couch was practically by acclamation the #1 pick in 1999. He was the Next Big Thing. And actually he wasn't that bad; his career was just destroyed by injuries.

In 2000 every team in the NFL passed on Tom Brady at least five times, including the Patriots. It's a good bet just about every team had Spergon Wynn above Brady on their draft boards. Holding that against the Browns is preposterous. The Patriots got lucky and struck gold.

Drafting Gerard Warren and William Green, on the other hand, those were widely regarded as mistakes at the time and mocking those decisions is valid.

2004 is kind of in between. That was one of the strongest draft classes ever with a lot of premium athletes, and lots of teams rated Winslow at or near the top five, and lots of teams were iffy on Roethlisberger because of his small-college pedigree. It was a mistake; I think it's pretty near always a mistake to not draft a quarterback with elite tools when you get the opportunity to and you don't have a franchise quarterback. But that's me and back in 2004 I thought very highly of Roethlisberger. Lots of NFL front offices didn't share my opinion. It wasn't just the Browns. Hell, the Steelers had a front office skirmish because Cowher adamantly wanted to draft Shawn Andrews rather than Roethlisberger.

by theosu :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 1:27am

Judging by how the rookies have been playing this year, Heckert's certainly worth keeping around. Holmgren and Shurmur, on the other hand, can have the best of luck in their future endeavors.

by rlmthree :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 8:12am

Since Heckert is an ex-Pihlly guy, I think he has familiarity and competence in his favor with Banner. Pure speculation but I think he could keep the job.

by Paul R :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 9:20am

"Mister Haslem, there's a Mister Favre on line 1..."

by dryheat :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:24pm

Perhaps they'll just ride with Shurmur (whom I don't think is terrible) until Andy Reid gets canned.

Although Bill Cowher seems to have been waiting for a situation just like this one. Or in Kansas City, where this will probably play out similarly between now and March.