Browns’ best head coach otherwise occupied
Mike Holmgren said it. He really did.
In a news conference recently, the Browns’ president was asked if he would walk away from his job when new owner Jimmy Haslam III arrives.
“I’ve never quit on anything in my life,” he declared.
Asked if he intended to fulfill his contract, he replied, “I hope so. That’s what the plan is.”
Of course Holmgren is not walking away when National Football League owners approve Haslam as the new boss of the Browns. He’s in the middle of a five-year contract that pays him roughly $8 million a year.
Why would he walk away from something like that? They’d have to fit him with a straitjacket if he even thought about something like that.
Holmgren is in the uniquely uncomfortable position of having to dance as fast as he can to cover the fact he most likely will be without a job in the very near future. When Haslam finally has the words principle and owner affixed in front of his name, Holmgren is history.
What’s probably going to happen is Haslam, as reported months ago out of Philadelphia, will bring in former Philadelphia Eagles President Joe Banner to run his team. Haslam will then shove Holmgren out and allow him to pull the ripcord of his shiny golden parachute.
Before that happens, and as he whistles his way past the graveyard, Holmgren is free to pontificate on what he believes will happen to – and with – the Browns this season.
“We see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said, and did not add “and it’s not an oncoming train.” But he did add, “We’ll see what happens.”
A nice generic way of saying “I have no idea where this team is going, but I can’t say that even though I might not be around here much longer.”
He did, however, have an interesting take on the man he chose last year to run his team. “I’m still learning his coaching style,” he said of coach Pat Shurmur. “When he calls the team together, they listen to him.”
That is a classic example of damning with faint praise.
After one full season and two training camps, Holmgren still hasn’t fully absorbed Shurmur’s coaching style? Really?
He hasn’t noticed how maddeningly conservative Shurmur’s offensive approach is? Or his inept handling of time management? Or his failure to think well ahead of his coaching rivals?
“When he calls the team together, they listen to him.” Of course they listen to him. Is Holmgren joking? What an inane statement to make.
The game plays out much slower than it should in Shurmur’s mind. Thinking quickly on your feet is a trait found among most of the successful head coaches in the NFL.
Holmgren should know this. He lived it for 17 seasons as a head coach. He knows what it takes to be successful in this league. If (probably when) he’s enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it’ll be that attention to every detail that helped pave the way.
Too bad it will eventually turn out this way for Holmgren in Cleveland. He didn’t know it, but as it turns out, the best head coach the Browns have has another title: President.