Cleveland Browns: Sold! One Competent Front Office Staff To a Mr. Randy Lerner!

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Cleveland Browns: Sold! One Competent Front Office Staff To a Mr. Randy Lerner!

Like a cavalry rolling into town, Mike Holmgren has acted swiftly, cleaning up the organization.

If you tuned into the latest press conference, you'd have seen four men introduced to the city of Cleveland. Some of them familiar names and faces, some of them new to the fans and media.

One reporter recently asked, "why is this time different?"

It's a fair question. Cleveland has indeed been the model for instability in the NFL over the last decade they've been in the league.

So why is this time actually different? To me, it's experience.

Mike Holmgren, Cleveland's President, 39 years.

Bryan Wiedmeier, Cleveland's Executive Vice President, 29 years.

Tom Heckert, Cleveland's General Manager, 19 years. 

Eric Mangini, Cleveland's Head Coach, 13 years.


Combined, these four men bring exactly 100 years of total football experience. All four have gotten to where they are by being the best at their craft, and they've been doing it a long time.

In fact, they all come from a tradition of winners. Mangini cut his teeth with the Patriots, Heckert with the Eagles, Wiedmeier with the Dolphins, and Holmgren with the Packers.

None of them expect any different, arriving at the scene of the train wreck known as the Cleveland Browns. However, the rabid, playoff-starved fan base still might be a bit skeptical.

And who could blame them? This is Believeland though, and maybe this time is different.

Listening to Mangini trade stories on stage, he seemed noticeably comfortable and content to be a part of this new regime. He even traded a draft day story with Heckert, implying how similar their draft boards are often set up. Maybe there can be harmony after all.

The first thing I noticed about Heckert was his calm and cool demeanor, yet he was almost arrogantly confident that he would help bring a winner to Cleveland. He seems like a man you would be proud to have setting up your final roster, and someone who doesn't accept failure.

What should please most Cleveland fans is his philosophy. He spoke of meeting with the coach and determining the needs of the team, filling the holes in free agency, and then drafting the best player available regardless of needs.

"There's no question about it, you have to draft well to win long-term," Heckert said. "When you draft guys you get them for the long term and that's the key to the whole thing. You do have to get players in free agency, but anybody can look up the success rate in free agency and it's not good. The way to build a team is through the draft."

Isn’t this what we’ve been clamoring for all along? Saying and doing are obviously very different things, but if Heckert was a car salesman, I just may own a new BMW by now.

"Obviously the Super Bowl is the ultimate goal," Heckert said. "I didn't come here to not make the playoffs. I think I've had one losing season in 19 years in the NFL. I came here to win."

Finally. Competent leaders with a game plan. Where do I sign, and will you throw in a free car wash too, Mr. Heckert?

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