The Browns went from 5-11 in Mike Holmgren’s first season as president to 4-12 in his second, but Holmgren isn’t getting discouraged.
Instead, Holmgren said in an interview on ESPN 850 WKNR in Cleveland, he sees reason for optimism and believes the Browns will be a lot better in 2012.
“I expect us to take a pretty good jump this year. I would not be particularly happy if we had the same record or close to it,” Holmgren said, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. “I believe in this group and I think we’re on track, I really do. I think if you look at last season as an example, the record was what it was, but we had if you remember say the snaps from center, kicked field goals, or PAT’s, if we had made three of those instead of missed three of those we would’ve won seven or eight games or something like that. Now you’re 5-11, 8-8, then you take the next step and boom in the fourth year you are where you should be. That’s what I’m thinking. I would hope and I would be very disappointed if we didn’t take a pretty good jump this year.”
It’s true that the Browns had several close losses and could point to a few plays here and there in those games that could have made the difference between 4-12 and 8-8. Then again, the Browns’ four wins were close enough that they were only a half dozen or so plays away from 0-16.
Whether Holmgren’s optimism is justified or not, he’s confident that quarterback Brandon Weeden, selected with the 22nd pick in the draft, has a good future ahead of him. Holmgren also said the Browns had Andrew Luck first, Robert Griffin III second and Trent Richardson third on their draft board, and that if they weren’t going to be able to move up for Luck or Griffin, they knew they had to move up to No. 3 to get Richardson.
If those two rookies are as good as Holmgren thinks they are, he may see the significant improvement he’s looking for. After 5-11 and 4-12 seasons to start his tenure in Cleveland, even moderate improvement would be nice.