We rarely hear anything from this guy, a little insight for Browns fans on his thoughts.
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Cleveland, Ohio -- Browns president Mike Holmgren spent more than 30 minutes with the Bull and the Fox on 92.3 The Fan today. Here are some exceprts:
On how he feels after the draft:
"We like the whole draft. But if you were to ask anybody after the draft if they like their draft they'd probably tell you that they liked it. We set out with a strategy of specific areas that we thought we needed to make the team better and we almost got them all. We almost got them all."
On targeting Richardson & trading up:
"Once we made the decision that Trent was going to be the guy we went after; even though you think you're pretty safe at four and we were pretty sure Minnesota wasn't going to take a back because they have a fine running back but you never know if someone is going to hop over you into that spot to take your guy, so we had to talk about how far were we winning to go if we had to move up and make the pick. Once that was decided it was easy. Even though a lot of people said we didn't have to move up, we had to move up. Believe me. And we got our guy. At the end of the day if you get your player then the rest of it doesn't mean a whole lot if you get the player you wanted. We got the player we wanted."
Audio: Mike Holmgren talks about the drafting of Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden, the Browns front office and more:
Did he want Kendall Wright?:
"That's kind of how it came down. We will never know for sure but between the time we picked and the time we got to 22 there was a lot of discussion as you might imagine in our room and as players were coming off of the board. We liked Kendal Wright a lot. And we knew wide receiver was an area that we were going to try and hit in the draft one way or the other but then we also like the quarterback a lot. The decision in essence was made for us. Kendall was taken before us and so it became pretty easy to take the quarterback."
If Wright was there at 22, would he have traded up for Weeden?:
"That was the discussion. Before Kendal was chosen (we asked) 'how are we going to do this' and we talked about it for weeks prior to the draft. If we're willing to take the quarterback at 37, if that's what we thought that we could do because you never know some other team could pop up there and get him and Tannehill had already gone, I said if we're going to take him let's just take him. I didn't pound the table. Pat and Tom and I, we had talked about this so much before the draft that it was not a difficult thing to do and we love the quarterback so we just went ahead and did it."
On perception front office doesn't get fans' passion:
"Respectfully, I think they're wrong. I think what happens is that I'm not out in front and center too much and that's by choice. When I was coaching I was out there and you're doing press conferences and the fans see a lot more of the head coach than they do either the general manager or the president. When I came to Cleveland I think there was a feeling that it would be the same way. In all honesty I don't mind doing that. I like talking to you guys and talking to our fans and when I have a chance I do it but I think in some respects because I coached so long that whoever the coach was going to be here with the Cleveland Browns it would be rather unfair if I was the one out front. So I made the choice not to do that. This season coming up I might be a little bit more out there to answer questions and to do things but really I want to be here to help the head coach to help the general manager in their jobs. I had 25 years of being out front and I don't have to do it anymore but if anyone thinks that it will help, including people in this building, then I'll do it. I've done that on purpose. That's not to slight anybody or keep information or anything like that."
On fans feeling he's not all in with Browns:
"I honestly don't know where that comes from. Maybe it comes from maybe wanting me to be more out there in press conferences and different things but rest assured I'm all in. Kathy and I we love Cleveland and this is our home. I've never had a job anywhere where I wasn't all in and I'm all in here. It's just that I'm not coaching anymore and my role is different. Pat, Tom and I talk every day. We have a great staff and a lot of them worked for me at one time or another and there's great communication here. I have been very comfortable in allowing and wanting to pass the baton to Tom and Pat and let them be the face and voice of the team. That's kind of the way that it should be."
On Seattle radio appearances & saying "them" when referring to Browns & fans:
"The comedy part of it is excellent, I will tell you that. If I misspoke or said a word I certainly didn't mean that. I used to work on that radio show. I had a show and those were the guys I worked with and that's the only reason I did that. They are friends of mine. Once again, this is where am. This is where my heart is, this is what my job is and this is where my mind is."
On going with a new QB:
"I wouldn't say that we made up our mind to go in another direction. We drafted a young quarterback that we think can come in and play right away, he has that type of maturity, but we're not just going to hand him the football. There's going to be a competition as always and as it should be at every position. The quarterback position is talked about the most on any team but I love Colt McCoy. I still love Colt McCoy but I will always try and do what I think we have to do to make the team better and to improve ourselves. We had a chance to get a veteran, not a veteran although he is 28 years old, but a mature quarterback who has a chance to come in with that maturity and contribute right away. Whether that happens or not we have to let it play out. We have to let them compete. We have to let them play and see what happens. The fact that we drafted him so high means that we like him but we also like Colt McCoy and we like Seneca (Wallace) as well."
What about all the attempts to get Luck, RG3 and then drafting Weeden:
"I'm always looking at quarterbacks. I think when you're building a football team you've got to find that guy. So if you think you haven't found him necessarily or you haven't had the time to find him yet if someone comes your way that you think 'OK this guy has a chance to be that guy,' that's not saying the other guy couldn't over a period of years or a couple of seasons but now this guy has a chance to be that guy then maybe you take him. And we took him."
Tom Heckert said in an interview on 92.3 The Fan that Colt would be the starter week 1. Will Weeden be the quarterback in week 1:
"Again we don't know yet. If tom said that Colt would e the quarterback in week one then I think we have to let that thing play out and let them compete. Pat Shurmur has an awful lot to say about that. Both Tom and I are kind of watching from a distance a little bit. I think it'll be obvious and then we'll make the decision. The bottom line is that everybody wants the team to do well. Everyone wants the team to do better. I expect us to take a pretty good jump this next season and so we have to play our best guys. We'll see who they are down the road."
Did comments from McCoy's dad impact offseason decisions or Colt's relationship with the team:
"No, not at all. I'm kind of sorry that it came out like that but as a father myself I totally understand the emotion of it. But it was too bad and I think immediately after it happened, everyone kind of felt like 'gee it's too bad that it happened."
On Seneca Wallace and mentoring:
"I look at that a little different than some people. You mention Jake Delhomme, Jake played in the league a long time and when he couldn't play anymore because of the injury he wanted to do something. He wanted to. That coaching staff allowed him to take an active role, almost to the point of being an assistant coach. If I was still coaching I wouldn't do that. The mentor thing is overblown to me. I'm going to coach the player. I'm not going to have another player coach the player. They can be friends but when it comes to what I want him to do on the football field, that's my call not another player's call. So when Seneca said that and I know Seneca as well as anybody because he played for me, he is a good guy who wants to play football and is a very good player and has always been in a certain role but given the chance he has performed pretty well. Last year none of our quarterbacks had the supporting cast that we needed to get around them. His comments didn't bother me at all. I don't expect any of those guys to be mentors to anybody. I'm the mentor or the coach is the mentor."
Would you be shocked if Seneca and Colt were both on the roster?
"Again, I think we have to let that one play out. I would agree with the comment that you don't see it too often, but you have seen it. When we look at the roster, we're going to do what we feel is best for the team at the particular time, and right now, they're all here and they're competing like crazy, so that's what I want."
On the Peyton Hillis drama and his end here.
"It was too bad because he's a fine football player and there's a bunch of stuff that happened last year that prevented him from being the best he could be. Then he became a free agent and he tested a market and got what he wanted and that was as simple as that. Were we ever in it? We talked to him about coming back, but I'm not sure to be honest with you."
Hillis: Did he quit, did you want him back?
"Once we made the decision that Trent Richardson was going to be our guy, that kind of ended that. You make choices. I will never believe that he quit on the team. He was hurt and it was unfortunate, and a good running attack which we thought we had coming into the season turned out to be less than we thought and it hurt us last year offensively."
Did the locker room think he quit?
"I don't know. Rumors in this business, I don't put too much stock in them. Somebody's got to tell me or if I talk to somebody, I get it straight from the horse's mouth. That's what I believe."
On Pat Shurmur
"Given the circumstances Pat came in on, I think he did okay. I really do. For a first time head coach excited and everything and having to go through the lockout, and with a young team and with the injuries that took place and the Peyton Hillis thing that we talked about. All in all, he probably had to deal with things he never thought in his wildest dreams he'd have to deal with. I know this about Pat Shurmur: he's a bright guy, he has a tremendous work ethic, he knows football, he communicates well with the players and I think having Brad Childress as an offensive coordinator will really help because it frees up Pat to do a lot of head coach type things and get a much better picture of the big picture. He was hard on himself. I think you'll see a big jump this year."
Childress' impact on Pat:
"They'll work hand in hand. And having your coordinator, it frees you up to take an hour and a half of your day where you'd normally be acting as the coordinator in meetings with players or coaches, now he can take that hour and a half and do other things, whether it be studying, planning, thinking or whatever. There is a learning curve (for a head coach). Pat's going to be fine and really considering what he had to go through last year, I thought he did a good job."
On having no coordinator in Shurmur's first year?
"We talked a lot about not having a coordinator. We could've hired somebody to be the coordinator, but we wanted the right person at the right time and because of Pat's background as a coordinator with the Rams, we felt this is possible, we can do this. And now we've got the right guy. We've got Brad now and I think it's going to work out for Pat and for the team. He wasn't overwhelmed. I thought he handled things beautifully. It's just that stuff happens."
Regrets on not getting more wide receivers?
"I wouldn't say regrets. We had plans of trying to get a wide receiver in the draft and got a wide receiver in Benjamin who's really different than the type of receivers we have. This guy's fast on fast, so we can stretch the defense a little bit now with him so that's a good thing. That was a good draft pick in my opinion. The other thing that I expect is that Massaquoi, who's had a couple tough years with injury and not getting the ball thrown enough his way in my opinion and so on and so forth. I think you're going to see him have a little bit of a breakout year and we need him to do that. He has the potential to be a very, very good receiver and no one's seen it yet. If that happens, and we know Little can play, Little had a good rookie year, Cribbs is Cribbs, our tight ends, Watson's back, we should be okay. Having said that, between now and the time we tee it up in training camp, there's a lot of time left to maybe add a player here or there and that could happen."
Lack of activity in free agency:
"We had some wide receivers come in and it didn't happen. There are teams in the league that if you get in a bidding contest with certain teams in the league, it's almost impossible to win. And that's kind of what happened. It's not that we didn't try. It just didn't happen. We'll stick with our philosophy of building through the draft and signing our own free agents."
On any regrets over "with us or against us'' comments:
"No, I was mad at the time. The stuff that came out, it seemed to me that was the press conference dealing with Colt's injury and I was mad. Some of the questions even by your standards -- and you guys never do this -- but some of the questions I was asked were a little bit on the line and I thought I was reasonable in my responses. You want playoff tickets, you can phone me for playoff tickets. (tongue in cheek) Is that what you want me to do? I'm going to be rather selective though, just so you know that."
What are the expectations for this year's team?
"I expect us to take a pretty good jump, I really do. Looking back on last year, our record was what it was, but if you analyze it, we were a couple of snaps of the football by our field goal or PAT snappers, from winning two or three more games. I hadn't seen that happen ever. While the record was very poor, it should've been better without stretching the imagination too much. Are we there yet? No. This year, I expect us to take a little more of a jump. We'll just see what happens at the quarterback position and if that's solidified or we feel like we got the guy, or whoever that is, then I think there's light at the end of the tunnel."
But you could've lost to Miami, Jacksonville and Seattle too:
"My point is, not too many times do you see a bad snap."
If this team wins three games, what are the consequences for the coaches and players?
"We'll have to deal with that when the time comes. I choose to see the glass half full so I don't expect that to happen."
Brown jerseys at home this year?
"Really? They want the Brown jerseys this year? I had always thought the white jerseys were popular. Listen, I'll do what I can do. Actually we're going to have a meeting on attire tomorrow. That's one of my presidential duties."
Do you get the frustration from the fans?
"Absolutely. I get it. Every chance I do get to talk to them, I recognize that fact. If I'm frustrated and I've only been here a couple of year, I can imagine what the fans are, but my message is the same, that we are going to fix this it's difficult and painful to be this patient and I know they've heard it before, but this is a different group, and we're going to get this thing done."
When you look back at the job you've done here, any regrets and what are you most proud of?
"It's not regrets necessarily, but I'm disappointed we haven't won more games. That's what we're in this business to do. So that's the number one thing. But in attempting to get there, we're building the team properly. When I got here, I looked at the draft choices that were still on the roster -- primarily the No. 1 choices -- that are still on the roster from the previous 10 years and there weren't many at all....I applaud our fans. The responses we've got back from them have been encouraging to be quite honest. They're great fans and they deserve a winning football team and that's what we're trying to do."