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Holmgren expects significant improvement in Cleveland this year

Mike Holmgren AP

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.

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69 Responses to “Holmgren expects significant improvement in Cleveland this year”
  1. pftard says: May 8, 2012 3:05 PM

    Last season.., each of his division rivals.., the Ravens, Steelers & Bengals, each made it into the playoffs. So yeah.., I’d expect your team to be better too.., or your fired.

  2. bbtls says: May 8, 2012 3:08 PM

    You can expect in one hand and Crap in the other…

  3. thebigcaptain2011 says: May 8, 2012 3:10 PM

    I also expect significant improvement on the chances of the LA Football Lakers moving, but that’s not gonna happen!

  4. cserisey says: May 8, 2012 3:10 PM

    Life long Browns fan here. they will be lucky to win four or five games. Toughest division in NFL plus NFC east; please, it’s gonna be hard to watch. They may not even win four. who are they gonna beat?

  5. jthammerstix says: May 8, 2012 3:10 PM

    This is the last year that I’ll remain optimistic. Go browns.

  6. vonmiller58 says: May 8, 2012 3:11 PM

    I could really go for a BLT right now.

  7. sj39 says: May 8, 2012 3:13 PM

    Good luck. Tough division.

  8. sterilizecromartie says: May 8, 2012 3:13 PM

    Then again, the Browns’ four wins were close enough that they were only a half dozen or so plays away from 0-16….
    ———
    … which ultimately would have been the best case scenario for them as they would have won Suck for Luck.

  9. shaunypoo says: May 8, 2012 3:14 PM

    The rest of us expect you to be 0-6 in the division, so you better rock those out of division games.

  10. nineroutsider says: May 8, 2012 3:19 PM

    For some reason I don’t like their chances; hope they do though – Cleveland fans deserve a great season after so many bad years.

  11. reasonsimadrunk says: May 8, 2012 3:19 PM

    What do you expect him to say, something honest? “Geez, guys, I know this is our third year at this, but we’re still pretty terrible. We took a desperation crap shoot with a 28 year old rookie, have no wide receivers to speak of, and still can’t pressure the quarterback. We need another two to three years of sucking to get the picks to get this right. Y’all gonna stick with us as we suck through this right?”

    When he got the team it had essentially 43 holes that needed to be filled. And wasting picks on Montario Hardesty (trade up!) and Colt McCoy didn’t help.

    If everything comes together, and that includes a few airplanes full of teams in their divisions crashing, they can go 8-8.

  12. depleted00uranium00balth says: May 8, 2012 3:19 PM

    Holmgren was really wrong to move on from McCoy just because his dad complained about the Browns messing up his concussion. I think the overconfident Weeden is going to struggle, and the Browns will take another round of the big, thick shuvalove this year. Unfortunate, because Browns fans deserve better.

  13. blacknole08 says: May 8, 2012 3:24 PM

    Is Holmgren doing the black power fist or the Hitler fist in that pic? I can’t really tell.

  14. pooflingingmonkey says: May 8, 2012 3:25 PM

    Glad I’m not a Browns fan. That must be awful?

  15. schmitty2 says: May 8, 2012 3:27 PM

    thebigcaptain2011 says: May 8, 2012 3:10 PM
    I also expect significant improvement on the chances of the LA Football Lakers moving, but that’s not gonna happen!

    Please stop with the stupid talk already-your a moron. What does the Lakers have to do with football anyway??

  16. jumpball81td says: May 8, 2012 3:33 PM

    If it’s brown, flush it down

  17. tfbuckfutter says: May 8, 2012 3:35 PM

    I’ll root for Cleveland to turn things around. Just like I did for Detroit. Long suffering franchise with fans who aren’t loud mouths, they just suffer in silence and hope for the best….can’t root against those fans.

    Although hopefully if Cleveland does turn it around, they don’t immediately turn into jerks like the Lions franchise did.

  18. dirtybird28 says: May 8, 2012 3:41 PM

    They’ll win some close games, and lose a lot of close games. 4-12.

  19. granadafan says: May 8, 2012 3:42 PM

    That’s a lot of expectations placed on an “ordinary” running back and a rookie QB.

  20. berniekosarisgod19 says: May 8, 2012 3:47 PM

    Die hard Browns fan here, but people in the Cleve have gotten pretty tired of Holmgren’s antics. That being said, i do like the first 2 rounds of this draft, and…. Here We Go Brownies, Here We Go, Woof Woof!!!!

  21. kosarkid says: May 8, 2012 3:48 PM

    Well that’s a relief. Just hope that we hold onto Colt just in case father time breaks his hip.

  22. 49erstim says: May 8, 2012 3:51 PM

    Thats a TOUGH division! I hope for the sake of the fans that they’re better, but this franchise has had NO direction since they were resurrected and Holmgren has looked lost at times. This draft may help turn it around though, they picked up some quality guys. Good luck.

  23. cougarquest says: May 8, 2012 3:51 PM

    The Browns will be lucky to win as many games this year as they won last year.

  24. bdawkins20 says: May 8, 2012 3:52 PM

    man they say that every year in cleveland. instead of talking about it try doing it. it is apparent you cant draft worth a crap every year.

  25. billhicks666 says: May 8, 2012 3:58 PM

    granadafan says:

    “That’s a lot of expectations placed on an “ordinary” running back and a rookie QB.”

    There’s nothing “ordinary” about Trent Richardson. Try again.

  26. warrenmoon says: May 8, 2012 4:00 PM

    Anybody else feel like Holmgren was saying a riddle in that comment?

  27. joemammy says: May 8, 2012 4:01 PM

    I think you’re beginning to see the evolution of a new Browns team. The pieces are all falling into place. The real question is ‘how fast is this thing going to come together…to gel…?’

    When you factor in the loss of Suggs and the age of Ray Lewis for the Ravens…a re-building year for the Steelers…and the Bengals pending move to Los Angeles, the AFC North is just RIPE for the Browns to walk away with the whole thing.

    Yep…the WHOLE THING.

  28. trollhammer20 says: May 8, 2012 4:02 PM

    “we had made three of those instead of missed three of those we would’ve won seven or eight games or something like that”
    _______________________________

    A healthy Marshawn Lynch OR Tavaris Jackson, and you probably lose one more, too. Heck, pick up the flag for the phantom hold a Leon Washington punt return that woulda been a TD, that game comes in as a “L” for the Browns.

    Freaking 6-3 loss…easily the low point of Seattle’s season last year.

  29. truthassassin says: May 8, 2012 4:03 PM

    You’re going to win games with… what wide receivers??? They’re going to stack the box against Richardson… could be another top 10 pick for the Browns… but that might be what they need to get that elite WR

  30. seaochickens says: May 8, 2012 4:07 PM

    I endured watching Browns beat Seahawks last year. This is not a team that was a couple of plays from 8-8, but one closer to 0 wins. It’s one thing to say Payton Hillis’s idiocy cost you games, but it was not simply a few plays. The game I watched was only entertaining as far as watching which QB looked more like a deer in front of head lights. If this was a common NFL game, I wouldn’t be a big enouph fan to watch a turd sandwitch like browns vs seahawks. The Browns were a terrible team last year, Holmgren thinking Browns were a few plays from .500 should scare Browns fans.

  31. ziggy26 says: May 8, 2012 4:08 PM

    Unfortunately for the Browns, the Ravens, Steelers and Bengals all improved through the draft.

  32. bengalguy says: May 8, 2012 4:12 PM

    In the picture, Holmgren is showing you the # of wins the Clownies will have this year!
    “Ya dont live in Cleveland, ya live in Cincinnati!” -Sam Wyche

  33. Kaz says: May 8, 2012 4:16 PM

    I’m no Brownie fan but my honest football fan opinion is improvement might not be reflective in the record with that schedule so be careful setting expectations based off of record Holmgren….

  34. theghostofberniekosar says: May 8, 2012 4:18 PM

    Cleveland expects significant improvement in Holmgren this year.

  35. steelhammer92 says: May 8, 2012 4:19 PM

    Only in Cleveland is 5 wins something to strive for.

  36. csszrr says: May 8, 2012 4:20 PM

    Love how people think time stands still and then extrapolate from it. The division got older and hurt. The Bungles have THREE winning seasons in 25 and the Browns also got better through the draft. So to all the doubters keep in mind karma and Newtonian physics. All you chicken little Browns fans…keep it to yourselves.

  37. spunhead73 says: May 8, 2012 4:21 PM

    If its Brown flush it down. Boy that’s a good one,i’ve never heard that one before. Must be a Bengals fan saying that. That is the oldest,and dumbest saying ever,not to mention i’ve heard that many times when i was a kid. Bengals suck,and they have the worst fans in the land.

  38. purpleguy says: May 8, 2012 4:26 PM

    Man, I haven’t seen a pic of Big Mike in a while — he looks horrible. He needs to eat more veggies and get out in the sun.

  39. 2qswing says: May 8, 2012 4:29 PM

    Lifelong Browns fan here, this is EXACTLY what is going to happen this year.
    The Browns will take two steps forward on offense and two steps back on defense. The result, due to the afore-mentioned schedule, will be another 4-win season.
    Look at the quarterbacks the Browns faced last year and other than Pitt and Balt division games, you will find a collection of rookies and back-ups. (Oh and Rothlisberger got hurt in the Clev game) Now look at the QB’s they will face this year.
    The NFL defensive statistics from last year say the Browns ranked 7th or 8th. This team and fans are under this illusion and they are in for a rude awakening in 2012 when they face actual NFL QBs every week.

  40. terrygca says: May 8, 2012 4:29 PM

    If my Granma had balls and a mustache, she’d…well, acutally, she’d look a lot like Mike Holmgren.

  41. sterilizecromartie says: May 8, 2012 4:30 PM

    spunhead73 says:
    May 8, 2012 4:21 PM
    If its Brown flush it down. Boy that’s a good one,i’ve never heard that one before. Must be a Bengals fan saying that. That is the oldest,and dumbest saying ever,not to mention i’ve heard that many times when i was a kid. Bengals suck,and they have the worst fans in the land.
    ——-
    You’re right about the fans. But even that sorry franchise has made the playoffs 2 of the last 3 years. That’s more than the Browns have made it since they came back to the NFL all those years ago.

  42. rocketdogsports says: May 8, 2012 4:30 PM

    Let’s review:
    1. No meaningful free agents signed.
    2. No defense stretching WR in the draft.
    3. Division is the toughest in the AFC.
    4. Braintrust may be “not so much”.
    5. Fujita out for three games.
    6. Two rookies on the OL.
    7. QB probably a rookie.
    8. NFC East on the schedule.
    9. 4-12 looks optimistic.

    Not a lot to look forward to.

  43. savocabol1 says: May 8, 2012 4:36 PM

    I know it has nothing to do with the article, but the Bunglas really do have some of the worst (and most fairweather) fans in the league.

  44. 3yardsndust says: May 8, 2012 4:46 PM

    Holmgren doesn’t know his ass from a hat.

  45. wallacejay says: May 8, 2012 4:57 PM

    On paper and until the season starts

  46. cpp3 says: May 8, 2012 5:04 PM

    And with the first pick in the 2013 draft, the Cleveland Browns select…..

    Expect to hear that phrase next year Browns fans

  47. hawkforlife says: May 8, 2012 5:14 PM

    If you watched Holmgren scream at Matt Hasslebeck all those years in Seattle you’d wonder how this guy could possibly run a franchise.

    I always wonder how many super bowls the Hawks could have made it to with all that talent in that stretch from 2003 to 2007 without that constant screaming and just showing a little support for Matt.

    Now McCoy has had his negative treatment from Holmgren and Holmgren can start undermining his next QB. I know he’s not the coach but I’ve been interested what he’d do to that franchise since he was anointed by the press as the GREAT Mike Holmgren. Believe me, as a Hawk fan forever I was not sad to see him go.

  48. rowdymon says: May 8, 2012 5:17 PM

    It’s getting harder to be hopeful, then I think to the Saints going from 3 – 13 to 10 – 6, the Lions going from 6-10 to 10 – 6 and the Colts going from 3 – 13 to 13 – 3 in consecutive seasons. QB is the key and I sure hope Holmgren got it right this time.

  49. criticaldsj says: May 8, 2012 5:24 PM

    Well, I expect to win the lottery. I suspect both of us will be disappointed.

    With that schedule, and the limitations on offense, another five win season would be about the best this club will do.

    And that’s not entirely a bad thing. Another year of high draft picks should, provided Weeden gets a season to get his legs under him, the opportunity to surround him with tools and solidify the defensive line.

    Suck it up Browns fans and look at putting yourself in position to be competitive in 2013.

  50. ravenseattheirownpoop says: May 8, 2012 5:29 PM

    I’ve been hearing this out of the Brownies for the past 25 years. Let’s face it, ten years from now they will be saying the same thing. Until they learn how to draft, they ate gonna suck. Shoulda drafted Big Ben!

  51. frozenrope15 says: May 8, 2012 5:34 PM

    Of course they will, nothing is blocking him now that he has every player’s Dad in line.

  52. coop16 says: May 8, 2012 6:12 PM

    Like a couple of other guys posting comments here, I’m a lifelong Browns fan (yeah, and I’ve got other problems too). I agree with most of them that the Browns aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Holmgren can bluster all he wants, and in a weak division maybe we’d be competitive, but in the AFC North? We’ve got the worst QB in the division, the worst defense, and BY FAR the worst receiving corps (maybe in the entire league). The only place we match up with the others in the division is at OL and RB, and that’s no anywhere near enough.

    Let’s be realistic, OK? We’re just starting Year 3 of a 5-year rebuilding plan. And the way things are going, it might be more like a 7-year rebuilding plan. If we draft well we might be competitive by 2014, but it isn’t going to happen any sooner than that, no matter how much the team’s president wants to bluster. There are just too many holes to fill. Unless of course you think the Browns’ defense is already as good as Baltimore’s, and that the WR corps is equal to Pittsburgh’s, and that a 28-year-old rookie QB is going to be as good as Big Ben and Flacco, in which case you need to get some strong prescription medication.

  53. Fantasy Football Legend says: May 8, 2012 6:13 PM

    Does Holmgren plan on looking for a new job next season? Browns will still be junk, yeah they drafted a new QB but his a rookie and they still have a junk WR/TE core. Oh yeah the DE sucks besides Haden.

  54. pacodawg says: May 8, 2012 6:47 PM

    The 3rd toughest schedule argument is hogwash. The difference in having the 3rd toughest and 3rd easiest is about 2 wins. In the NFL parity rules and the record the year before means zero. If they lose alot this year or win alot has little to do with the schedule, but how well they play on the field.

  55. pacodawg says: May 8, 2012 6:49 PM

    Can’t believe people still like McCoy. Name 1 other team he could start for? ZERO!

  56. muckfodell says: May 8, 2012 6:56 PM

    “man they say that every year in cleveland. instead of talking about it try doing it. it is apparent you cant draft worth a crap every year.”

    Just a suggestion: Do a little research before you comment.

    Heckert’s first draft was 2010. Their first two picks Haden and Ward made the NFL all-rookie team. Shaun Lavuao is their starting right guard. McCoy was considered a great pick at 67. So that’s three starters.

    2011: Again, the first two picks made the all-rookie team, Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard. And we also picked up Weeden this year as part of that deal. Greg Little had 61 catches after not playing football in 2010. Jason Pinkston (5th rd.) started all 16 games. That’s five starters.

    Will these acquisitions turn the team around? We’ll see, but let’s be fair when we judge Heckert.

    The crappy drafting was from 1999 to 2009. Please don’t be like a lot of ignorant fans who hold this regime responsible for the incompetence of the past.

  57. bensstinkyfingers says: May 8, 2012 7:24 PM

    blacknole08 says:May 8, 2012 3:24 PM

    Is Holmgren doing the black power fist or the Hitler fist in that pic? I can’t really tell.
    —————————————————-
    That’s Holmy explaining that if the browns go 2-14 this season, he will be riding his harley back to Seattle.

  58. muckfodell says: May 8, 2012 10:21 PM

    “In the picture, Holmgren is showing you the # of wins the Clownies will have this year!
    “Ya dont live in Cleveland, ya live in Cincitucky!” -Sam Wyche

    _____________________________________

    Quoting the village idiot Sam Wyche, eh?

    Don’t get too excited about the Bungles. It was ONE decent year…

  59. jjbadd says: May 8, 2012 10:23 PM

    I truly don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I don’t see it. Holmgren is very overrated, & if you really look at it, I think they have taken a step back! But I can also see Holmgrens approach too. He wasn’t sold on McCoy,so he decided to cut ties. But see, Weeden isn’t the savior everyone is thinking. He’s actually a smokescreen, because if/when he fails this year, that will set them up for Barkley next year, and give them trade value for Weeden. Just watch how it plays out…

  60. bhb85 says: May 8, 2012 10:30 PM

    Amazing how no one has mentioned the importance of drafting WR Travis Benjamin. He ran a 4.36 40 at the combine! With defenses stacking 8 in the box we can stretch the field with one on one coverage in the secondary. More importantly though, he will be returning kickoffs and PR’s changing the game of field position which is crucial in the stingy AFC North. The Browns ARE taking the right steps 8 – 8 next year because you can’t coach speed. GO BROWNS!

  61. theland24 says: May 8, 2012 10:44 PM

    When they take, at least, one game from each team in their division plus beat Indy, Buffalo, Oakland, KC, and Washington that would make them 9-7 and all you idiots will be choking on crow

  62. mrfrostyj says: May 8, 2012 11:02 PM

    Browns record would have been 7-9 if you eliminated all of the special teams mistakes. 8-8 if you eliminate the defensive brain fart in the season opener against the Bengals were Dalton threw a touchdown pass to Green while Cleveland was still in the huddle.

    If Richardson at runningback is as good as the scouts say he is 7-9 would be a disappointment the way Clevelands defense has played. They should be on par with the Jets and Ravens as teams that can win despite shaky QB play.

  63. brownsapologist says: May 8, 2012 11:49 PM

    Gotta love stupid Bengals fans. Way to be happy about going to the playoffs, when you get there you just crap all over yourself. The reason why Browns fans are so miserable is because we know we will only be happy if the Browns go to AND win the Super Bowl. They’ve been so close before and no one walks out of the stadium or turns off their TV after getting Elwayed in the face and says “oh well, at least we made it to the playoffs. At least were not as bad as the Bengals because we made it to the playoffs this year.” No one says that crap! No one cares about your stupid team! And quit piling on like your team is good now because we all know you’re just a whipping boy in this division like the Browns are. Give me a break….

  64. Brar says: May 9, 2012 12:04 AM

    It looks like to me that Holmgren up there is knocking on Death’s door. If he lives another 5 years without dying from a massive heart attack I will be shocked. I think he is a good dude, but damn he looks unhealthy.

  65. td40 says: May 9, 2012 10:46 AM

    So, Mike- when the Browns have 5 or fewer wins again this year, you’re firing yourself, right?

  66. cpp3 says: May 9, 2012 11:35 AM

    theland24 says:
    May 8, 2012 10:44 PM
    When they take, at least, one game from each team in their division plus beat Indy, Buffalo, Oakland, KC, and Washington that would make them 9-7 and all you idiots will be choking on crow
    _______________________

    HAHAHAHA good luck with that. 1-15 is more likely. No way they win against anyone in there division.

  67. cpp3 says: May 9, 2012 11:39 AM

    muckfodell says:
    May 8, 2012 6:56 PM

    Just a suggestion: Do a little research before you comment.

    Heckert’s first draft was 2010. Their first two picks Haden and Ward made the NFL all-rookie team. Shaun Lavuao is their starting right guard. McCoy was considered a great pick at 67. So that’s three starters.

    2011: Again, the first two picks made the all-rookie team, Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard. And we also picked up Weeden this year as part of that deal. Greg Little had 61 catches after not playing football in 2010. Jason Pinkston (5th rd.) started all 16 games. That’s five starters.

    Will these acquisitions turn the team around? We’ll see, but let’s be fair when we judge Heckert.

    The crappy drafting was from 1999 to 2009. Please don’t be like a lot of ignorant fans who hold this regime responsible for the incompetence of the past.

    _________________
    K Haden passes but, who, who, and who? None of those other guys are relevant in this league. With the Browns roster, it doesn’t take much to start for that team. How about you start talking about how good a drafting team this is once someone actually becomes a big time player in the league and weren’t drafted in the top 10.

  68. klumpofbrownsadness says: May 9, 2012 1:54 PM

    For all the griping being dispensed by the impatient types, the talent added to this team since H&H took over has been a vast improvement over the 1999-2009 timeframe. I don’t think they realistically have the talent yet to compete for the playoffs, yet, but it is improving. I would be quite happy if we at least got some entertaining football this year – 2011 season was dreadful & even the wins (Seattle comes to mind) felt like losses. Earlier comments on the Ravens getting long in the tooth, and Stillers needing to re-tool are accurate, but they still have solid foundations. Cincy has historically been up & down, so I can’t help but think last year was a fluke for them. All that said, 8-8 with 1 or 2 division wins would make me feel a lot better, and isn’t beyond imagination. It IS an improvement, especially compared to the 96, 97, & 98 seasons (well, at least it’s something to do on Sunday afternoons).

  69. micro216 says: May 9, 2012 7:30 PM

    If Holmgren expect improvement, then HE should do something about it.

    The teams top needs were RB, WR, OL, OLB, and FS. They managed to get the top RB in the draft, so that did good there… and then failed after that.

    There were so many picks that they passed on that could of helped the team, and instead they dramatically reached at #22 for a 29 year old rookie QB. So sad what could have been…

    #22 OG David Decastro
    #37 OLB Lavonte David
    #67 WR Mohamed Sanu
    #100 RT Bobby Massie

    Then sign a vet OLB and FS in free agency, and then we might have something to talk about. With a o-line like that, the QB would have plenty of time to pick the defense apart or the RB could gash em for big yardage.

    They managed to address the o-line some, but could have done better. They needed a WR and took a little guy who could be in trouble in the NFL.

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