Mike Holmgren has officially been hired by the Cleveland Browns. Browns fans are, and should be, excited. For the first time since returning to the NFL, there is someone that actually understands the game running the franchise.
Although the Browns have turned things around, at least a little, by winning two straight games, one against the hated Pittsburgh Steelers, the Browns are slowly becoming the team that is not the joke of the NFL.
This is, by FAR, not going to be a cake walk for Holmgren. There are a lot of tough decisions that are going to have to be made.
Right off the bat, Holmgren is either going to have to completely replace the coaching staff, or stick with the one in place. ESPN reports that because Holmgren is a former coach, he understands that you can not judge a coach on only one year leading the team. The question is, has Eric Mangini done enough to warrant keeping his job?
If you look at the moves that have been made by Mangini (Do not even TRY to blame roster moves on Kokinis), such as the QB shuffle, the trading of players that were leaders on the team (Winslow, Edwards), and the value he got in return for them.
The fining of $1000 for a bottle of water, bussing the rookies to a youth camp in New York, the many trades the Browns made in the draft last year, and the contract issues that are certain to come up with returner extraordinaire, Josh Cribbs.
Then, the most important decision for the actual team is going to come into play. What is he going to do about the QB position? Is Quinn the man they are going to stay with, or will it be Anderson? What about drafting one? Is Holmgren going to be willing to take one in the top half of the first round? If he does, what does he do with Quinn and Anderson?
Then, what is going to happen with Cribbs? There is no question that Cribbs is the MVP of the team. Will Holmgren be willing to break the bank for someone that is more of a returner than any other position? Sure, he has done great in the wildcat, but is that really all the attention you want to give your best player?
What then is going to happen with the offensive line? It seems that half of the Browns offensive line is already set, but the other side needs some major adjustments. Where the left side has played well all year, the right side needs a lot of work.
The defense played against the Steelers in Pro Bowl form, then against the Chiefs, they allowed over 30 points, which is not a good way to follow up a great performance.
Once April comes, some of the answers are going to be in place. We will know if Mangini is still going to be with the team, and we will PROBABLY have a good idea who the quarterback is going to be, or if Anderson or Quinn will even be on the roster come April.
Either way, Holmgren has some hard decisions that need to be made. Will Holmgren be able to right this ship? Will he be just another face of a franchise that has not had success since the inception of the Super Bowl 44 years ago?
Only time will tell, but Browns fans have a reason to be optimistic for the first time in a long time.