Posted September 19, 2013

Mike Holmgren, who drafted Trent Richardson, blasts Browns’ trade strategy

Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts
Trent Richardson and Mike Holmgren in August, 2013. (David Richard/AP)

Trent Richardson and Mike Holmgren in August, 2013. (David Richard/AP)

In his time as a head coach with the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks from 1992 through 2008, Mike Holmgren established himself as one of the finest offensive minds of his generation. However, there were always questions about his front-office acumen when he was the Seahawks’ general manager from 1999 through 2002 and the Cleveland Browns’ team president from 2010 through 2012. Holmgren was demoted from GM in Seattle after the 2002 season, though he stayed on as head coach and guided the team to its most successful era. Holmgren’s brief tenure with the Browns was defined by two first-round picks in 2012 — running back Trent Richardson with the third overall pick, and quarterback Brandon Weeden with the 22nd.

Now that the Browns have changed all the names in the building under new owner Jimmy Haslam, and traded Richardson to the Colts for a first-round pick in 2014, it’s clear that the Holmgren era is a thing of the past, and the new regime is doing as much as possible to move along.

When he went on Seattle radio station KJR-AM for his weekly appearance on Thursday, Holmgren, who is now an analyst for the station, minced no words about the Richardson trade and what the Browns are doing now.

“Philosophically, if I am the coach and someone came in anywhere and did that, I’d say ‘OK, fire me, or I’m going to quit,’” Holmgren told KJR’s Dave Mahler, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. “Or we’re going to both go into the owner and talk about this and then we’ll see who’s still standing.”’

Unlike many modern NFL executives, Holmgren wasn’t shy about selecting running backs high in the first round — he picked Shaun Alexander 19th overall in the 2000 draft for the Seahawks — and he was quite puzzled at the Browns’ ability to dispose of a player he thought was so valuable.

“How do you make your team better by trading your best player?” Holmgren said. “He’s the best offensive player. He’s a valuable, valuable guy.”

In fact, had Holmgren been the head coach of the Browns when this trade had happened, it’s quite possible that the Browns would be looking for a new head coach as well.

“I’d shake hands and walk. I would. Because if I disagreed with it vehemently, and I couldn’t buy in, I mean, I’m not saying I’m right, I’m saying that’s what I would do, because you have to be true to yourself in this business.”

Richardson heard about the trade on the radio, and Holmgren heard about the trade from his daughter.

“I thought she was kidding around. I didn’t believe it. I went on my computer and saw it. I had a lot of emotions, because I really liked the young man and I really think he’s an outstanding football player. It was something that we needed, and he had a really fine first year and he played through pain and injury, so I was startled by that. ”

“On the surface, I tried to make sense of it. I wanted to know what in the world? It appears after seeing the press conference, they’re not coming out and saying it, but they’re preparing for next year’s draft. I listened to the coach and he says we want to be competitive. Who’s going to be the running back? They don’t even know who’s going to be the running back this week.”

Well, the just-signed Willis McGahee might get a shot, but point taken. The Browns are also not committing to Weeden, and 2012 second-round pick Mitchell Schwartz has allowed five sacks and 18 total pressures pre Pro Football Focus, good for the worst marks in the NFL in both cases. So maybe the Browns are within their rights to question how their predecessors did things.

Holmgren also said during the interview that he was ready to give up his entire 2012 draft to move up from third to first and select Andrew Luck.

“And now a year later, they get both of them,” Holmgren said of the new Luck-Richardson combo. “If you asked [Colts GM Ryan Grigson] last year, ‘Would you trade your 24th pick in the first round for Trent Richardson,’ you would do that easily.”

The Colts did do it easily, and Mike Holmgren doesn’t like it at all.

57 comments
K-Jun
K-Jun

A true Saints fan but also a fan of the Colts. That was a great move on their part in obtaining Richardson. Wish the Saints had him rather than that Heisman winner from Alabama who can't seem to get over his own two feet. 

Colts will have a good offense now that they have a great pocket passer and a great running back to get them a lot of play action passes. 

FredFlintsone
FredFlintsone

Browns have a football team? nobody tells me anything.

JimJakato
JimJakato

Mike dropped quite a few pounds, judging by this photo.  He also has that gaunt appearance heart problems can give people.  Keep up with the doctor Mike.  The NFL needs you healthy.

JoeEck
JoeEck

I don't know how holmgren sleeps at night. He did nothing worthwhile in Cleveland, but he sure made a king's ransom. Hey mike, don't come to me for playoff tickets. Go to hell.

KravenMoorehead1
KravenMoorehead1

Picking a Running back 3rd  is stupid especially when you need a QB. Holmgren is an ID10t however in this case he is right the Browns are retarded and their owner is a crook

DennyCrane
DennyCrane

By now Mike is Mr. Irrelevant since he was kicked off the Browns' staff for incompetence. Whining about the TR deal is more Mike trying to protect his legacy then about the future of the Browns. If TR was a mistake then the pick was just another Mike screw up.

Mike was a good coach but terrible GM; I just don't think he can accept that.

btcvsolo
btcvsolo

That's like an ex wife bitchin' about you breakin' up with the next cookie you boff...

6marK6
6marK6

I think the Colts are going to be a .500% club this year, so the pick won't be 24. 

jimnie
jimnie

It's just a trade, not a death. Life moves on.  How many hundreds of young men did Holmgren cut from various teams, effectively ending their careers?  And now he frets over someone who simply was traded?  Taking things a little to personal there, big fella.

Bucky182
Bucky182

As a Packers fan I have a lot of respect for Mike Holmgren and I understand that he's upset but what he is forgetting is that Richardson's value goes down when you don't have a viable option at quarterback. Sure Richardson can set-up the playaction BUT you need a quarterback that can actually get the ball to his receivers. Weeden hasn't been that guy. Poor Joe Thomas. The guy deserves to win.

Killab's
Killab's

The browns are going all in for Wiggins. They will trade up to select Wiggins in the NFL draft. Then use it as a leverage that he will play football instead of going to the NBA. Then whoever selects him in the NBA draft will trade his rights to the Cavs for a 1st round pick in the NFL draft and 3 future 1st round picks in the NBA draft plus cash. Brilliant move. looool

wjoinfo1
wjoinfo1

Look, it's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's Mike Holmgren riding away in the distance on his Hog............Bye Mike, you didn't do the Browns any favors................

JoeyGolden
JoeyGolden

This is why the Browns suck and will continue to suck, bad decision after bad decision. Build from your line out and dont trade top players for more possible top players, teams and players need time to gel, how can you get anything out of 1 year , with a poor Offensive line to boot. He will tear it up in Indy! guarantee it.

Mark112
Mark112

Holmgren is still bitter about the beatdown the Steelers gave Seattle in the Super Bowl, so he has a negative outlook on everything non-food related.  The current 'Hawks are better than any of the previous versions and the same will be said about the Browns in a couple of seasons as compared to any prior team (excluding the Browns that are now the dreaded Ravens).

joeshine730
joeshine730

Mike Holmgren was a very poor front office executive who did nothing as the boss but drive his organizations downward.  FACT

pmccnn
pmccnn

Mike, Mike, relax, the Clowns are no longer your problem. Kick back, crack a couple of cold ones and enjoy life for awhile.

HunterBishop
HunterBishop

I don't necessarily have a problem with the trade, because they needed more draft picks. However, the draft pick from the Colts is probably going to end up anywhere from 15 -25, which isn't all that valuable. 

They only got one draft pick for a guy who had a good rookie season behind a terrible offensive line and played with a set of broken ribs. I don't know. 

Hopefully the trade works out for both teams. 

Keats1821
Keats1821

I have no issue with Holmgren making the comments that he did. He gets paid to be an analyst so he has a responsibility to speak his mind when asked.

I also believe, though, that the Browns used their best bargaining chip to strengthen their position in a draft that is by all appearances loaded with talent. They already had the picks that could gain them a running back that is near Richardson's talent level - and possibly in a lower round - and now added a pick that can help them with more pieces for their team. I don't see how you don't make this trade.

Jim21
Jim21

Just me or does Mike Holmgren have the meatiest head? It's like a big Easter ham. 

j7apple
j7apple

Going to be a looooooong season for Browns fans.....

bobinpowell
bobinpowell

Holmgren, you're not here any more.  Shut up.

FredFlintsone
FredFlintsone

When, 2 games into he season, you trade away the player you picked 3rd overall in draft you are telling fans you've given up on the season coming out the gate

JimJakato
JimJakato

hey  @JoeEck :  This is the NFL it's all about money for these guys, no matter what they say about winning comes first,the  team or anything else.  Holmgren also made a bundle at Seattle, and Green Bay wasn't paying peanuts.  Is this a surprise?

Darren1
Darren1

@6marK6 As a Stanford alum and HUGE Luck fan, it pains me to agree with you. Their offensive line, while slightly improved, isn't going to open holes for Richardson or protect Luck long enough for downfield throws. 9-7, maybe, but not 11-5 like last year.

Whatever
Whatever

@Bucky182 Holmgren has proven with two different teams now (Seattle and Cleveland) that Ron Wolf was correct:  He should not be in charge of player personnel decisions.

el80ne
el80ne

@Bucky182 Minnesota doesn't have a quarterback. But that hasn't affected Adrian Peterson's value at all.

TC206
TC206

@Mark112  HAHAHAHA dont even get me started about super BOWEL 40

Cheese or Mini-Me
Cheese or Mini-Me

@Mark112 I couldn't agree more with these two.  The Refs should have been holding up the Lombardi trophy instead of the Steelers

danboz11
danboz11

@Mark112 Timeout, I also had no dog in the fight and can echo Fifilo's sentiment.  A game that the refs stole from Seattle.  An absolute joke.

Fifilo
Fifilo

@Mark112 I had no dog in the fight and was rooting' against the 'hawks for no particular reason but that was no beatdown. It was a gift by the refs. Amazingly bad officiating. By the end of the game I was rootin' against Pitt.


Nine Vegetable
Nine Vegetable

@Keats1821 Sorry, I think the trade was a terrible move.  There are no guarantees they will draft well, first of all.  Secondly, they got 1 player.  They gave up 4 draft picks to move up and pick Richardson 3rd overall, then they trade him away for a mid-20's (at best) pick?  Awful move.

Cool
Cool

@Jim21 A lot of your friends describe your hind quarters the same way.

cmaglaughlin
cmaglaughlin

Let's see...the Browns are tied for first place in the division. McGahee at running back looks settled and psyched, the new QB is awesome, the defense is  stellar, Cleveland fans are rooting for the Indians in the playoffs and the Browns to continue their winning streak since Weeden's been sitting and Richardson gone. Cavs are looking good, also. Cleveland rocks! A "looooooong season" means playoffs. Go bite yourself! (PS...Ohio State 16 wins in a row)

Kristian
Kristian

@bobinpowell I think he's the lucky one.  That team went from bad to completely sucks.

MikeKing
MikeKing

@FredFlintsone No kidding?  So ask the fans if they would rather be 4-12 with the 4th pick in the draft or 1-15 and the first pick in the draft and another first round pick?  I know which way I am going as a fan.  

JoeEck
JoeEck

Why does the nfl need Holmgren healthy? So he can rape another city like he did Cleveland? I think the sooner he claims that spot in hell that art model is saving for him the better.

Cougarblue
Cougarblue

You're missing the point, defenses won't be able to key off on Luck if the Colts have a running game, OR the threat of a running game. A quick look at the stiffs carrying the ball for Indy over the last 6 or 7 seasons illustrate why Peyton got so beat up and Luck sacked. Trash Mike all you wish just as buddy Reid was trashed at Philly, forgetting that he did a great job at GB and got Seattle to the Super Bowl. Just maybe Mike Brown is the guy keeping the Browns down.

Mark112
Mark112

@danboz11  

I agree, the Steelers were fortunate to win, yet they covered the spread like a blanket. That's the sign of a real team, ya know.

Keats1821
Keats1821

And yet there are no guarantees Richardson will do anything, either. He has been injury prone, has been said to have a poor work ethic and has been an average runner. But they still got a first round pick for him.

While there are no guarantees that they will get a proven commodity out of their picks, it puts them in a better position to get more players that have the potential to help their team. You state that they got one player, but we do not know if they will trade that pick away for potentially two or three. We don't know if they will get a Doug Martin, or a Ryan Tannehill or a Cameron Jordan. There is a lot that we don't know right now. But it is better to have an opportunity to have more pieces for your team than to have one guy you think might work out on a team fully bereft of talent.

Mark112
Mark112

@Cool  

"Hind quarters'? What are you, like 80?

ypjramer
ypjramer

@MikeKing I agree with you. The Browns would win 4-5 games with T-Rich. Now they win 1-2 games and maybe get the #1 overall pick and not have to trade all their picks to get up to the guy they want. Just look many top 10 players that bust and teams don't get anything for them. I would guess T-Rich would have been gone after his rookie contract is up anyway. So, he's gone a little earlier then we thought, at least we got something. I would have liked them to have gotten another 4th round pick or player along with it. I don't love the deal, I don't hate the deal. Maybe the Browns to a QB/WR combo and get their new RB in round 2 or 3. The defense will be pretty decent again next year. 

Kristian
Kristian

@MikeKing @FredFlintsone That team sucks either way, they're gonna suck next year and they're gonna suck the year after that and the year after that.  If they're after draft picks they could have waited until later in the season or after the season and got the same value or even more value from a team that's going to get a higher draft pick. 

There's also a chance that the owner ends up in prison or at the very least, being forced to sell the team again.  Now you've got another new regime in a few years and the rebuilding starts over again.  Cleveland remains in a perpetual state of "just wait until next year!"

JimJakato
JimJakato

Are you going to believe some little kid who comes from the ghetto and stared doping before he reached 10 years old, who lies, cheats, steals and has a rap sheet already pages long, or an accomplished athlete, college graduate, and NFL coach?  Okay look at Pen State, that had the 1 in 100 million old guy, and even there they were adults.  Holmgren is no Pedafile or whatever your trying to make out of him.

me1
me1

@JoeEck It's Cleveland. The only thing half way decent when I was there was the Buzzard. They get what they deserve. You may not like this fact...but it is what it is.

VHerodes
VHerodes

@Keats1821 You don't know crap about Richardson and what he's done if you think he has a poor work ethic, and that includes when they had to go to pass-heavy offense because they were down so much. Please do some research before you make another ignorant comment.

They traded one of the best players they had, to rebuild... well, what the hell were they doing last year? Why not keep a guy like that and add to the pile next year? Answer: the new management wants "their guys" and all they've done is set the franchise back yet again.

Cool
Cool

@Mark112 @Cool If you were one bit familiar with butchers and different parts of a pig you might have gotten the joke.  What are you, a high schooler?