Mike Holmgren Starting Off on Right Foot with Cleveland Browns

Brian DiTullioSenior Writer IDecember 29, 2009

CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 27:  A Cleveland Browns fan cheers against the Oakland Raiders at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

New Cleveland Browns VP of Football Operations Mike Holmgren said all the right things in his first meeting with the press on Monday.

Holmgren clearly stated he won’t be coaching this year and that he’ll be “doing everything in my power to make the head coach successful.”

Whether that means current Head Coach Eric Mangini will be back for another year still is unknown, but Holmgren seemed in his statements to be leaning toward keeping Mangini.

The real question will be whether Holmgren and Mangini can work together, and whether the internal evaluation Holmgren does shows Mangini has been the primary reason the team has won more games this past month.

Holmgren also indicated he will have final say on the roster, which could be a sticking point for Mangini. While that particular power never contractually was Mangini’s, it was a power he exercised this year and may not want to give up.

On the other hand, as I’ve stated before, losing two head coaching jobs in two years doesn’t bode well for Mangini’s future in the NFL, so he might swallow his pride in the best interests of the team and his own career.

In what has to be the most exciting news to come out of the press conference, for those wondering about the front office structure, Holmgren said he will be hiring a general manager, expanded on his time as a GM in Seattle and what he learned.

“You can't do it all,” said Holmgren. “You don't have enough time, so it's important to me that I had good people who I could go into a meeting, listen to what they had to say, say what I had to say, and then make the decision that way.

“In Seattle, when I went in there the first time, I would say if I had to do it all over again differently, I would have made some of those changes sooner,” he continued. “It took a couple years to get the right people in place.”

Holmgren then explained how he believed his first draft wasn’t what it needed to be and getting the right people in the right place as soon as possible is the change he will make coming to Cleveland.

With Mangini’s second-round draft picks bombing this year, it is imperative that the Browns get this year’s draft as “right” as they can. With 11 picks, the Browns have a great opportunity to fill a lot of needs in a very short time.

No draft is ever perfect, but screwing up the first few rounds in any given year can haunt a team for three or four years while the players shake themselves out.

As to the quarterback situation, Holmgren said he hasn’t made a decision yet, but said he wouldn’t be afraid to move on if neither quarterback will work to his satisfaction going forward.

The transcript of the entire press conference is on the Cleveland Browns Web site and I highly recommend reading the whole thing.

Holmgren was as candid as he could be without giving up the family secrets and his willingness to answer questions about his mistakes in Seattle was enlightening.