Former Browns president Mike Holmgren’s been there, but he still said he was “stunned” by the recent changes in Cleveland.
During an interview with KJR-AM 950 in Seattle, Holmgren shared his thoughts on his time with the Browns ending, and how he thought the constant shakeups were affecting the product put on the field.
“I think it is particularly in free agency and things like that and also attracting a coach,” Holmgren said, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Look at how long it took them to hire a coach. You can listen to the people saying, ‘Well we were taking our time, we wanted to get the right guy and da da da da da’ but the fact of the matter is I think guys honestly were nervous about going in there given the management structure and so on and so forth.
“I don’t know that but that is how I feel and that’s how I think. That’s hard to overcome.”
Holmgren defended his time there under owner Randy Lerner by saying so many of the people he hired (such as Tom Heckert) have gone on to good job with stable teams.
But his administration there was no more successful than any others since the team went back to Cleveland, and he thinks the instability at the top is the primary reason.
“I’m stunned because in this business, it’s not like other businesses,” Holmgren said. “A lot of the owners who are friends of mine, I know, who I was involved with when I was acting as Randy Lerner’s surrogate at the owners meetings often, they’re billionaires in the oil business. They’re billionaires in cable television or whatever it is. But the football business I always thought it was kind of unique and while they could certainly afford to do this – and not many people can – to actually run the business part of it, to run the football business, I think it takes – you have to be trained to do that I think.
“When I tried to explain these types of things to him and how good the people were that were in place, once he hired Joe Banner then Joe came in and let everyone go. Continuity in an organization is so important. You have to weather the storm with a couple of tough years if you have good people. But they have never done that in Cleveland. Every two years they blow everything up and blam off you go.”
New owner Jimmy Haslam’s not shown any indication he’s going to show any more patience, however, which would just continue the ugly cycle.