Ron Wolf knows Holmgren failed in Cleveland because he couldn’t find a quarterback

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Soon, Ron Wolf will enter the Hall of Fame in Canton. Just up the road resides a team with which he has multiple connections.

In addition to a short stint with the Browns in 2004 that ended quickly because then-coach Butch Davis “got a bee up wherever one gets a bee up,” Wolf had a key role in recommending the hire of Mike Holmgren as CEO by former owner Randy Lerner.

So what went wrong in Cleveland for the guy who coached the Packers team Wolf built to a Super Bowl win?

It didn’t work,” Wolf tells the Canton Repository. “I don’t know the reason why it didn’t.”

And then Wolf touched on the potential reason..

“They tried to bring a quarterback in,” Wolf said. “They brought [Colt] McCoy in, and it didn’t work. They brought [Brandon] Weeden in, and it didn’t work.”

The decision to use a first-round pick on Weeden confused Wolf.

“I was shocked when they brought Weeden in only because, from being around Mike, his first thing about a quarterback was feet,” Wolf said. “It was the first thing Mike talked about . . . feet. That guy had no feet. . . .

“To me, the No. 1 tenet in the game is, you’ve got to have a quarterback. If you don’t have a quarterback, then you can’t play. They didn’t get that guy.”

The Browns are still looking for that guy, an admission that 2014 first-rounder Johnny Manziel likely won’t become that guy and an acknowledgement that veteran Josh McCown is merely the dog-paddle option while they keep searching for that guy.

As long as there are NFL teams looking for that guy, plenty of guys who already are that guy with another team will be paid plenty of dollars to keep that guy from becoming that guy with another team.

30 responses to “Ron Wolf knows Holmgren failed in Cleveland because he couldn’t find a quarterback

  1. Holmgren cost himself that SB Packers v Broncos but was robbed in Seattle V Pittsburgh. He deserves credit for that great Seahawks team.

    Fact is Colt McCoy had a serious head injury. Then the owner pulled the plug on the whole thing. Holmgren is a guy who can develop a QB.

    I still think Holmgren’s got it, but he needs to be the coach, he can’t be the “Bill Parcells” guy overseeing the coach. And he better not be the GM.

    Still he’s a proven commodity, imo. Both in his strengths and weaknesses.

  2. I wonder if Colt McCoy could have played better if his wide receivers weren’t:

    – greg little
    – chansi stuckey
    – mohammed massaquoi
    -evan moore
    – jordan norwood
    – brian robiskie
    – josh cribbs

    Interesting how Colt McCoy has completed 71% of his passes in Washington (with real wide receivers like DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon).

  3. Ron Wolf deserves part of the blame in Cleveland for recommending Holmgren as CEO. An absolutely terrible judge of talent, but an excellent coach, Holmgren should have been self-aware enough to let someone else buy the groceries that he used to cook the meal.

  4. Next years draft appears to have some serious potential at QB (depending on who declares)… Cook from Michigan St. Hackenberg from PSU. Cardale Jones from OSU. Goff from Cal. And a few other guys have 1st round ability. It potentially could be the most talented class (depth wise) in a good while. So if the Browns want their man this might be a good year to struggle.

  5. So your saying Holmgren was a good coach when he had a good QB but not so good when his QB sucked?

    Thanks for the enlightenment Wolf.

    I’m pretty sure you can substitute any name for Holmgren in that sentence.

    I mean, does anyone really think that John Fox is the reason Denver went on a 3 year run?

  6. 1. When Holmgren was in Cleveland, did he have final say on personnel and the draft? I thought his role was “CEO”, the guy who hires the GM to make those calls and backs off.

    2. Why is everyone in the media already shoveling dirt on Johnny Manziel’s corpse? Jeez, in the old NFL they said it took five years to develop a QB. I know expectations are higher, faster now, but give the kid a break. He may show up this year.

  7. The problem in Cleveland was that the kid who inherited the team, had no desire to own the team.

  8. When you get to the office at 11am each day, work for 30 mins then go to lunch, it’s hard to be good at anything. He was a buffoon who took advantage of Randy Lerner and his position. A first-class wind bag,,,,

  9. Besides showing up at 11:00 and going to lunch – don’t forget leaving the office at 2:00p everyday – not a bad gig, actually (if you don’t mind all of the crappy football produced under your watch).

  10. watchfullhose says:
    Jul 6, 2015 8:49 AM

    Besides showing up at 11:00 and going to lunch – don’t forget leaving the office at 2:00p everyday – not a bad gig, actually (if you don’t mind all of the crappy football produced under your watch).


    Yeah, he really ran that great team into the ground……

  11. Mike Holmgren was the first employee Seattle had to fire to become a contender again. He was coach and GM, and his drafts were just awful. He had a few hits, Shaun Alexander, Steve Hutchinson, Matt Hasselbeck, Rocky Bernard… that’s about it. Everything else was just bad. The guy is a phenomenal wizard at the West Coast offense but personnel management is not his strong point.

  12. Browns should draft more than 1 QB next year. In fact, I would draft 2 or 3 QBs high and the rest of the draft select WRs.

    Maybe if the Browns take 3 QBs at least 1 will be a starter???

    I’m tired of seeing teams like NE get Garappolo…. And having success. Meanwhile our scouting department misses on identifying talent and drafting playmakers on offense.

    Why does Farmer want to over pay an OLD Dwayne Bowe by not drafting O’Dell Backham JR who can be paid on the rookie pay scale???

    (At the end of the day) Farmer is not as smart as he thinks he is.

  13. Cleveland… “The graveyard of quarterbacks”.

    Once you get tired of watching the offense lull you to sleep you can still go and see the ever multiplying number of headstones of the “over-the hills”, “coulda-shoulda-woulda’s”, “never was’s”, and the “you’ve got to be kidding me’s”.

  14. mrwalterisgod says:
    Jul 6 , 2015 10:27 AM

    He had a few hits, Shaun Alexander, Steve Hutchinson, Matt Hasselbeck, Rocky Bernard
    ………………………………………………………………………I’m sure he traded Hasselbeck to Seattle when he was at Green Bay, or are you classifying him as a hit at Green Bay under Holmgren?

  15. dinkydonkey says:
    I’m sure he traded Hasselbeck to Seattle when he was at Green Bay, or are you classifying him as a hit at Green Bay under Holmgren?
    No, you are wrong. Holmgren left the Packers after the 1998 season, was with the Seahawks at the start of the 1999 season, and the Seahawks GM until the end of the 2002 season.

    The Seahawks traded for Matt Hasselbeck in March of 2001, so it was indeed Mike Holmgren that pulled the trigger on the Hasselbeck trade.

  16. You don’t always have to have a QB … Just ask the 2000 Ravens and the 2002 Bucs.

  17. Hey, I’m no expert, but in observing the Browns since returning in ’99 my take is pretty simple, and it’s a league-wide problem.

    The issue is that teams who need a QB (and there are more than not) pin all of their hopes on that draft pick and in their desperation they very rarely give the player time to develop. Too often the first round QB is thrown out there to sink or swim, whether they’re ready or not.

    No other position on the field has a mandate that being a first rounder requires that your entire career hinge on your first season. We’re told repeatedly that it’s the hardest position in sports, but no one has any patience to develop young QBs.

    It’s a failure of the old guard leadership – or, more properly, conventions – of the NFL. That’s how it’s done. Sure, teams pay lip service to QB competitions, etc, but how often is the first rounder sitting on the bench? If he is, it’s not for long.

    But what’s maddening about this whole approach is that it yields consistently poor results and yet no one has the courage or conviction to speak up and truly be patient and let the young QBs develop. The terrible or mediocre team they’re supposed to be saving isn’t going anywhere.

    You could be developing a 15 year starter, but no, let’s throw him out there and get him pounded into the turf for half a season, then we’ll call him a “bust” – because we’re the football geniuses who run things.

  18. I disagree with the assessment of Holmgren’s time in Cleveland. Actually, he improved the Browns quite a bit and if they had the time they were promised, it would have paid off. First off, he hired Tom Heckert as GM. Heckert was a solid talent evaluator of talent. Haden, Ward, Sheard, Taylor, Cameron, Gipson, and several others came during his watch.

    Go back to Mangini’s 2009 roster and you will understand the starting point Holmgren/Heckert had to work from. They were improving a lot, but Haslam bought the team in 2012 and instead of just waiting two years to let the plan play out, Haslam had to play with his new toy, and along with Banner did a rebuild. I firmly believe if they had let Holmgren finish, they would be a playoff team by now.

    Interestingly, I do think he made a mistake on Shurmer. If Haslam had not bought the team, I think Holmgren would have either hired Andy Reid or would have coached the team himself in 2013.

  19. What’s sad about the Browns is, if they had kept Brady Quinn in the same system since 2007, today he would be able to help the team more than Manziel. They draft a lot of QBs but don’t develop any of them.

  20. Mike Holmgren is an ego-manic who could not stand to share the stage with Ron Wolf. The success of the team was pretty undeniable.

    But Holmgren, alone, couldn’t win. I just don’t get why Green Bay fans still think so much of the guy. It’s like Kobe and Shaq: how many more titles could they have won, but NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Holmgren wanted to show everyone how smart he is and he broke up the Beatles. Where I come from, he’s a schmuck.

  21. minnesotablizzard says:
    Jul 5, 2015 3:33 PM
    Dear Browns,

    Thank you for gift wrapping up Teddy Bridgewater for us.


    Vikings fans


    Big talk for a qb that hasn’t won anything and plays for a team that hasn’t won a SB ever.

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