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Tag:Mike Holmgren
Posted on: February 27, 2012 4:18 pm
 

Browns GM Heckert had heart surgery

By Josh Katzowitz

It caused a minor stir last week when it was revealed by the Browns that general manager Tom Heckert wouldn’t travel for the combine because he was “ill,” but that he should be fine to return to work this week.

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If you count “needing heart surgery” as being “ill,” then I guess Heckert was, in fact, ill.

That’s what Cleveland president Mike Holmgren announced at a press conference Monday afternoon when he revealed (via the Cleveland Plain Dealer) Heckert underwent heart surgery to clear a blockage and that he was recovering well.

Holmgren said Heckert -- who Holmgren said did not have a heart attack -- would return to the office Tuesday and would continue to be an integral part of the Browns draft efforts.

Heckert also missed the Senior Bowl, but he participated in combine interviews with potential draft picks the past week via Skype.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:07 pm
 

Report: Browns will go after Matt Flynn

Flynn

By Josh Katzowitz

The list of potential suitors for Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn continues to grow. Already, you know the Dolphins are interested, and Green Bay probably would like to bring him back so the team can then (possibly) trade him away.

But according to the Canton Repository, the Browns also will make a play for the fourth-year veteran who’s made exactly two starts in his career (though he admittedly was pretty awesome in both those starts).

As Steve Doerschuk writes, “There will be a budget that will not be exceeded in the play for Flynn. Peyton Manning’s presence on the market drives down his price.  … That still leaves the Dolphins as a suitor … and as the likely lander of Flynn.”

The paper also notes that Browns president Mike Holmgren is “no great fan” of quarterback competition, and if Cleveland can land Flynn, the team would make him the starter instead of Colt McCoy.

It’s still unclear whether the Browns, who hold the No. 4 spot in April’s draft, will try to trade with the Rams to move up to the No. 2 position to grab Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, but on Wednesday, Browns coach Pat Shurmur had some nice things to say about McCoy*.

In like Flynn?
"We're looking forward him to improving through the offseason," Shurmur said. "I think it will make a big difference in year two (of) me being here.  I told him to prepare himself to get as much out of this offseason as possible. I'm expecting him to attack this offseason and get as good as he can get within our system. He really works at things and that's going to help him."

*Basically, it seems like nobody has any idea what the Browns will do.

Flynn, meanwhile, is looking forward to striking out on his own as a potential starting quarterback.

"I'm a confident person but the element of the unknown makes you wish March 13 was tomorrow," Flynn said this week. "I've loved being a Packer, and it's not 100 percent sure I'm leaving Green Bay, but as a competitor and football player, that's what you play the game for -- to be a starter in the league. Hopefully some teams will be interested in me and I can find a good opportunity. I want to lead a team and I'm excited about it. But I can't talk to teams now. I don't know if I'm on their radar. It's going to be a long month leading up to that time -- waiting and wondering."

While you still have to consider Miami the favorite to land Flynn (even if there are no billboards of him on I-95) because of the connection with new Dolphins coach/former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, it will be interesting to see if the Browns actually can make themselves a player in this lottery.

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Posted on: January 27, 2012 9:27 am
Edited on: January 27, 2012 8:59 pm
 

Browns hire Brad Childress for OC

Chilly might be about to get back in the playcalling business. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Thursday, the Bucs landed Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, eliminating Brad Childress and Mike Sherman as candidates. And with another domino -- Sherman to Miami -- about to fall, it looks like a good bet that Childress will wind up with the Browns.

That's precisely what the Browns did Friday, announcing that Childress has been hired as their offensive coordinator. 

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Cabot points out that Sherman and Childress were the Browns top two options, and with Sherman signing with the Dolphins, it means Childress' top option is Cleveland, and Childress is Cleveland's top option as well.

The marriage makes sense. As Andy Reid's offensive coordinator with the Eagles, Childress twice architected a top-10 passing offense, and he managed that with the Vikings once as well. (It's really unfair to judge his passing production in Minnesota, what with Adrian Peterson on the roster and all; the Vikings were quite good at rushing the ball.)

And Browns coach Pat Shurmur was the tight ends coach and quarterbacks coach in Philly under Chilly. They know each other. "Very well," according to Shurmur recently.

Shurmur didn't hire an offensive coordinator in his first season and called the plays himself. Cleveland finished 24th in passing yards in the NFL, 27th in passing touchdowns, 30th in net yards per passing attempt, 28th in rushing yards and 32nd in rushing touchdowns and 31st in net yards per rushing attempt. (Football Outsiders is a touch more generous, ranking them 25th overall in offensive efficiency.)

So, um, not good. Shurmur declined to commit to Colt McCoy in his season wrap-up, and that made most of the headlines. But he also wouldn't rule out the possibility of having someone come in and call plays for him.

"It's important that I get the best coordinator I can for us," Shurmur said. "I think that's one of the details that'll get worked out as we go through the process. I want to get the best guy I can. And if he's outstanding at calling plays, listen, I want to win games, and so I'm gonna get the guys in there that are gonna help us do that."

Ultimately, it's a logical conclusion. Childress and Shurmur are former co-workers. Both of them are disciples of Reid, who's a direct coaching-tree descendent of Browns president Mike Holmgren.

The transition to Chilly calling plays would likely be seamless. The Browns just need to figure out those "who's our quarterback" and "where can we get playmakers" problems.

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 1:42 pm
 

Would Browns trade up to get Robert Griffin III?

Would Cleveland give McCoy the Heisman and go with Griffin? (Getty Images/US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

We wondered last week if the Browns, who hold the No. 4 pick in the April draft, might give serious consideration to taking Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. CBSSports.com mock draft experts Rob Rang and Dane Brugler both have Cleveland grabbing RGIII, decisions no doubt made easier by Colt McCoy's struggles in 2011 coupled with head coach Pat Shurmur's indifferent take on McCoy's future as the starter.

“As we go forward here with Colt, he’s done some really good things,” Shurmur said shortly after the Browns' season ended. “Get him back healthy, get him in an offseason where he has a chance to develop. I expect that Colt will improve just like I expect (backup) Seneca (Wallace) will improve and whoever the quarterbacks are here. I think that can be said for all positions, so the best quarterback will play when we start the season.”

In his mock draft posted Tuesday, NFL.com's Sam Wyche has the Browns trading up two spots to No. 2 to take -- you guessed it -- Griffin. He writes that "Several teams are going to try and move up to get Griffin but the Browns have the most ammo -- the fourth overall pick and a late first-rounder or high picks in later rounds. Cleveland needs Griffin -- and wants him, according to league sources -- and the Rams will still get their man."

Seems reasonable, even given what Browns general manager Tom Heckert said recently (via the Canton Repository):

“In a perfect world, we would stay at 4, but it’s not a perfect world," he noted. "If we think we can get the same guy by moving down a few spots getting an extra pick or picks, why not do that?”

And then there's this from last week, by way of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Tony Grossi: "I would not automatically eliminate the Baylor quarterback from consideration with the Browns' top pick simply because he is a product of the one-read, shotgun spread offense."

Of course, Kevin Kolb was also mentioned as a possibility should the Cardinals decide that they'd seen enough after one uninspiring season. As we wrote previously, we're not convinced Kolb is much of an upgrade over McCoy, and certainly not at starting-quarterback money. But whatever happens this much is certain: the Browns absolutely have to nail this draft. It's up to team president Mike Holmgren, Heckert and Shurmur to figure out if Griffin is part of that conversation.

And if he's not, there are sure to be teams interested in trading up to grab him. Earlier this month we mentioned the Redskins as a possibility, something draft expert Chris Steuber echoed again Tuesday.

"We all agree that a team will trade up for RG3. My money is on the Redskins. Daniel Snyder, for better or worse, rolls high stakes dice."

If there's any team that needs a quarterback more than the Browns, it's the Redskins.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 4:41 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 5:00 pm
 

Could Browns be interested in RG3, Kolb?

McCoy's stint as Cleveland's starter may already be over. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

The Browns begin this offseason like most others: with plenty of questions at key positions and plenty of needs at others. Chief among them: quarterback.

Cleveland drafted Colt McCoy in the third round in 2010, team president Mike Holmgren's first year with the organization. Injuries forced McCoy onto the field as a rookie and despite the odds, he fared well. So well, in fact, that he appeared to have the job for 2011 and hopefully longer.

Instead, McCoy's sophomore season was a combination of an unoriginal offensive philosophy, a paucity of playmakers, and in the end, injuries. He didn't play the final three weeks of the season and first-year head coach Pat Shurmur was uninterested in committing to McCoy as the team's starter in 2012.

“As we go forward here with Colt, he’s done some really good things,” Shurmur said according to wire reports. “Get him back healthy, get him in an offseason where he has a chance to develop. I expect that Colt will improve just like I expect (backup) Seneca (Wallace) will improve and whoever the quarterbacks are here. I think that can be said for all positions, so the best quarterback will play when we start the season.”


The Browns have the No. 4 and No. 22 picks in April's draft and it's reasonable to think that they'll seriously consider a quarterback. Andrew Luck is destined for Indianapolis, who'll take him first overall, but the next two teams -- the Rams and the Vikings -- drafted their franchise QBs in 2010 (Sam Bradford) and 2011 (Christian Ponder). Which means that, even with USC's Matt Barkley returning to school, Heisman trophy winner Robert Griffin III of Baylor should be on the board. And Cleveland could be interested.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Tony Grossi writes that "I would not automatically eliminate the Baylor quarterback from consideration with the Browns' top pick simply because he is a product of the one-read, shotgun spread offense."

Not a ringing endorsement, but it's also January. A lot can change between now and late April. A lot can change between now and the start March too, when the Cardinals owe Kevin Kolb a $7 million roster bonus.

So why mention Kolb in the middle of a post about the Browns' quarterback needs? Yep, that's right -- should the Cards decide to cut their losses with Kolb after one season, Cleveland might be a potential landing spot.

And that prospect brings us back to Grossi:

"Baylor coach Art Briles was the coach at University of Houston when Kevin Kolb rolled up similar numbers -- without the rushing yards and touchdowns -- in the very same offense. … Kolb was a much better quarterback in the West Coast offense in which he was schooled in Philadelphia. Arizona doesn't run it. Also, Kolb was drafted by Philadelphia partly based on evaluations made by (Tom) Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur -- the Browns' top two football men. Heckert was the Eagles' general manager, though he didn't have final football authority, and Shurmur was the team's quarterbacks coach."

Kolb is one year into a five-year deal in Arizona that will pay him $63 million, including $20 million in guarantees. But a concussion and a toe injury limited him to just nine games in 2011 where he completed 57.7 of his passes for 1,955 yards, 9 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.

We're not convinced Kolb is much of an upgrade over McCoy, and certainly not at starting-quarterback money. Which is why, at least at this early stage of the process, that RGIII could be the frontrunner. Unless, of course, the Browns draft Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill. The Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot writes that the team "will likely take a hard look" at him, too.

Whatever happens, the organization has to nail this draft. With an extra first and fourth-rounder courtesy of the Falcons, and coming off a four-win season, Holmgren can turns things around quickly with the right players. Otherwise, the team's future will look a lot like its past and present.

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Posted on: December 21, 2011 9:46 pm
 

NFL won't punish Browns for handling of McCoy

Harrison wonders if Cleveland should be punished for their handling of McCoy. (Getty Images/AP)

By Ryan Wilson

Steelers linebacker James Harrison, fresh off a one-game suspension for an illegal hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy in Week 14, questioned Wednesday why Cleveland let McCoy back in the game only a few plays after he suffered what would later be diagnosed as a concussion.

"If he was hurt so bad I don't know why they let him back in ... two plays later," Harrison said via wire reports. "Something should be done to them, I would think. I don't know. I got a game, what should they get?"

Fair question. The answer, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer: nothing. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the Browns won't be disciplined for their handling of McCoy.

Last week, team president Mike Holmgren admitted that there was "no indication" that McCoy had suffered a concussion, and subsquently was never checked out before being sent back into the game. More Holmgren: “Our medical staff and our training staff, they are the best in football. These guys are really good. So one of the things that is troubling to me in this whole process is that they’re getting slammed a bit, along with the head coach. ...And it’s unfair.”

Also unfair: risking McCoy's life because the people in charge of his safety somehow missed one of the biggest collisions of the season.

The NFL Players Association hasn't decided if it will file a grievance against the Browns, but the incident has led to changes in the way teams deal with head injuries. Last Sunday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told CBS Sports' James Brown that he wanted doctors eyeing each game and its players "at all times."


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke with James Brown about the recent concussion that Cleveland Browns QB Colt McCoy suffered from a hit by Steelers LB James Harrison. Goodell also goes into depth about the NFL cracking down on concussions.

Starting this Saturday, that will be a reality.

"NFL contacting teams asking them to put a Certified Athletic Trainer in the Press Box for this weekend's game," CBS Sports Charley Casserly reported Tuesday. "College trainers may be used."

More details via CBSSports.com's Will Brinson:
The league will send a memo to all 32 clubs Tuesday or Wednesday to break down the new protocol for using the trainer during the game.

The trainer will be situated in the press box and monitor the entire game while having direct communication to the sideline to ensure that anyone who may have suffered a concussion will receive proper medical treatment.
Harrison, meanwhile, appears to have learned his lesson, too.

"I'm doing everything [the league] asks me to do," Harrison said. "I've lowered my target area, that's it. … I'm not worried about anything. I can't foresee the future. I'm not a fortune-teller. I'm going to deal with it as it comes."

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Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:57 pm
 

Holmgren: Colt McCoy never checked for concussion

By Will Brinson


The controversy surrounding the Browns handling of Colt McCoy on Thursday against Pittsburgh -- he re-entered the game after sustaining a concussion -- received a lot of scrutiny, and it will probably get worse, as the Browns said on Wednesday that McCoy was never checked for a concussion during the game.


Team president Mike Holmgren said, via our Browns Rapid Reporter Marty Gitlin, that there was "no indication" that McCoy suffered a concussion and so McCoy was never checked out prior to being sent back into the huddle.

Additionally, Holmgren said the medical staff never saw the hit James Harrison laid on McCoy (one that eventually led to a one-game suspension), which "would have alerted them to a possible concussion."

James Harrison suspended

The fact that the coaching and medical staff missed the hit on Harrison is both disturbing and hard to believe -- Harrison was flagged on the play and McCoy didn't exactly pop right up and walk off on his own power immediately.

If the team has a process for reviewing plays (in replay instances), that same process should have caught the distinct possibility that McCoy suffered a concussion and someone should have alerted the coaching staff.

Holmgren added that it wasn't "business as usual" for the Browns to handle the concussion this way, and reports are that Cleveland was concerned with other players who were also dealing with concussions. He also called the Browns medical staff "the best in the NFL," and said they felt that McCoy was "lucid and talking" when they met with him on the sidelines.

It's fantastic that the Browns are being honest about the process now, but figuring out how they missed a potential diagnosis of a concussed quarterback that was obvious to anyone sitting at home is still hard to grasp.

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Posted on: November 10, 2011 8:00 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 12:18 pm
 

Could Josh Cribbs see snaps at RB, QB?

Cribbs says he was joking but the Browns should be willing to try anything. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Browns offense is many things, though none are particularly laudatory. Words like predictable and inconsistent come to mind, which is exacerbated by the paucity of playmakers.

Also not helping: second-year quarterback Colt McCoy has regressed. Or more precisely: after a promising rookie season, he's failed to meet expectations through the first nine weeks of 2011. That may have more to do with the Sunday beatings he's been subjected to (and, as we previously mentioned, not much in the way of downfield threats to keep defenses honest) than his ability to consistently throw a 15-yard dig route.

It also doesn't help that running back Peyton Hillis has gone from folk hero to outcast in a few months and the Browns' running game has subsequently disappeared. Which may explain why Josh Cribbs, a Pro Bowl returner and a pretty good wideout, could be taking some reps at running back, too.

"I can't give nothing away, but they put something in that's special to me and that's all I can say about that,'' said Cribbs Wednesday, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot. "Coach is really trying to target me and the coaches are really making an opportunity for me to get the football more.''

Cribbs was asked again about the chances he could line up in the backfield. "We've got eight games left. There will be some surprises this week.''

Turns out, Josh was joshing. "I was just kidding givin'em a good story lol there is nothing big for me in the package lol," Cribbs said via Twitter Wednesday night.

We have absolutely no problem with Cribbs, whether he was joking or actually hinting that he could take some snaps at quarterback or running back. We're guessing McCoy would welcome the break from getting knocked silly, and more than that, it's not like the Browns' offense is a Rubik's cube. We've seen People magazine crossword puzzles that took less time to solve.

We mentioned it in this week's Coach Killers but just in case you missed it, here's what we're talking about:

The Browns are so married to their offensive philosophy that even the blind know what's coming (we're only half-kidding). Via the NFL Network's Mike Lombardi:

"Writing about the Browns offense leads me to a game I play every week at NFL Films. I sit in my office in Mt Laurel, N.J., put the Browns offense on my screen and call a friend who was a coach in the league, but is now in between successes. I tell my friend the personnel group, the formation, where the ball is located on the field and what hash mark and describe the motion -- if there is any -- and ask him to tell me the exact play that will be run," Lombardi writes.

"He is correct about 95 percent of the time. No lie. The Browns are so integrated into the West Coast system that their predictability is becoming legendary around the league."

So, yeah, maybe coach Pat Shurmur should let Cribbs line up wherever he wants. It's not like the Browns can get more predictable.


Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams will go up against Colt McCoy and the Cleveland Browns on Sunday afternoon. Which team has the advantage? NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz go inside the numbers to preview this game.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com