The current regime of the Browns is making it easier and easier as each week goes by for owner-to-be Jimmy Haslam when he takes over. There has been much debate over what Haslam will do when he takes over Oct. 16 after the NFL owners vote him into their exclusive club.
Most feel Haslam will wait until the season is over before he lowers the boom on either President Mike Holmgren, General Manager Tom Heckert, Coach Pat Shurmur-- or all three.
The popular opinion is that Holmgren will either leave on his own volition or he will wait until the season is over to gracefully make an exit. It is assumed that Holmgren has a ‘Golden Parachute' clause in his contact that allows him to leave and be paid if there was an ownership change. Bill Parcells--whom Holmgren consulted with before taking the Browns job—had a similar clause in his contract with the Dolphins.
Joe Banner is supposedly part of Haslam's team and he will most likely become the President of the Browns. Shurmur is termed by many as a ‘dead man walking' as the coach. It is unclear what will happen with Heckert and much of that is tied to Banner.
But here's a thought.
Since Holmgren has two-years left on his contract and he has said that he wants to fulfill his contract, why doesn't Haslam insist that Holmgren step in as the interim coach for at least the rest of this season after firing Shurmur either immediately after his take over or at the bye week after the ninth game if things continue to unravel on the field.
The Browns will have played three more games by Oct. 16 with road games with Baltimore and the New York Giants before a home re-match with the Bengals. The Browns could be 0-6 by then. They might win one of those games, but if you think they'll win all three games and be 3-3, you are an eternal optimist and I have some land I'd like to sell you.
The Browns weren't expected to have a great season in 2012, but legitimate progress was expected. Sure, they've only played three games, but so far there hasn't been a lot of progress seen.
The Browns are one of the youngest teams in the NFL with half of the roster in their rookie or second seasons. That is a recipe for a tough season.
This season is about playing the young players to see, first of all, if they can play and secondly, to get valuable playing time.
With the change of ownership coming, all bets are off. There is much more a sense of urgency for the trio.
Holmgren said numerous times over the off-season that he expected the team to be "much improved" in 2012.
He knows the players and coaches and is out on the field for practice almost every day. When Holmgren was brought to the Browns by Randy Lerner, it seemed his biggest mark would be made by being the head coach.
That's what Holmgren was best at. He will go to the Hall of Fame in Canton-- as a coach.
Holmgren did not build the Green Bay Packers. Ron Wolf did. Holmgren led the Packers to the Super Bowl-- as the coach.
Holmgren did not build the Seattle Seahawks. He was the GM and coach, but gave up the GM role and lead the Seahawks to a Super Bowl—as the coach.
Holmgren could've stepped in as head coach when he fired Eric Mangini, but he chose to stay in the front office. He might not want to be the coach, but Haslam could be very persuasive. Dick Jauron, Brad Childress and Ray Rhodes, currently on the staff, have all been head coaches in the NFL.
If Holmgren truly wants to stay and fulfill his contract, this might be his best option. However, if he has the clause in his contract, he might opt to just exercise it and head back to Seattle.
Then again, Haslam might have other ideas.
What say you?