As fans, with the page now turned on the Mangini era, what should our expectations be for the next move made by Mike Holmgren? With interviews underway and rumors daily that Holmgren will indeed come down from on high and once again roam the sidelines, what is the right course for this team to take?
Unfortunately, had Holmgren really had a specific candidate in mind before firing Mangini, I think the media would have been all over it by now.
With other vacancies in San Francisco, Miami and Denver there is a great deal of competition to land some of the more popular choices like Gruden, Fox, Cowher and Harbaugh. Neither of them is really a true fit for the Browns who since 1999 have been nothing less than a mess on the field and in the front office. Holmgren has also quietly squashed the idea that he would take the helm.
So, it seems fair to say that as fans, our expectation should be that Holmgren find a young and hungry coordinator looking for their first real shot at leading a team. That can be both a blessing and a curse, but trusting that Holmgren has been doing serious scouting and research, it can be fair to assume that whoever he chooses, that coach will have a great deal of passion, energy and knowledge of the West Coast offense.
That being said, this team has an opportunity to make huge strides in 2011. The key will be how much energy and effort the new coach and Holmgren spend to mentor Colt McCoy and hopefully another young arm they will select in the upcoming draft.
I don’t look forward to another drawn out quarterback competition but I hope that we can add another young arm to the team that can push McCoy or even overtake him quickly. As we have seen, McCoy is a real leader with great accuracy. But, whether he is a starter or a strong backup called on to win 2 or 3 games a year isn’t bad either.
Firstly though, they need to select a wide receiver. Nothing we do on offense in 2011 will work if we don’t have a reliable catalyst to ignite the West Coast passing attack. Without a legitimate receiving threat, the ability for the team to develop is hampered and taking the next step in terms of competition becomes moot.
The other side of the ball has to be looked at next. The truth about the defense is that it requires more playmakers. It might even be a good idea to convert back to a traditional 4-3 to take advantage of Rogers and Rubin up front.
If that isn’t going to be the case, we can’t afford to miss on selecting an outside linebacker who can rush the passer in the upcoming draft. With a young secondary and flux at the corner position, the least we can do is bring in someone who can threaten the opposing quarterback consistently.
Decisions made over the next few months are critical as this team, which for the past two years has been 5-11, needs to take the leap in the win column. We seem to be on the right course, but there is still too much upheaval in an offseason where we should only be focused on player evaluation, free agency and the draft.