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DMN: Did Holmgren show his cards?

The league knows Browns won’t be picking ND’s Clausen. Michael Lombardi

Print This March 22, 2010, 10:30 AM EST

QUOTE: “We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.” -- E.O. Wilson

Mike Holmgren addresses Browns QB situation

Sunday, at the beginning of the NFL owners meetings, Browns president Mike Holmgren addressed the current state of the team’s quarterback situation. Here’s what he said about the possibility of drafting Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen early: “I wish I liked him more. You know how you have a type of player that you like? It's not scientific. People like him a lot. He'll go high. But it would be hard for me (to take him).”

Holmgren, much like Rex Ryan of the Jets, speaks openly and honestly about his team -- which is not always the best policy around draft time. Holmgren is too nice a man to avoid the truth or tell little white lies. He lays his cards on the table, and now everyone in the league knows the Browns won’t take Clausen.

In the past, Holmgren had a great advantage when selecting quarterbacks since he was the coach of the quarterback, the designer of the game plans and the play caller. But now he’s just the executive making the pick, which is a huge difference, especially when he must rely on others to make his pick successful. Imagine if any other general manager (not coach) in the league brought in former Panthers QB Jake Delhomme or Seattle backup Seneca Wallace to be the new quarterback of the Browns. Their tenure would be off to a dubious start. But since “Holmgren the coach” has a reputation for developing quarterbacks, he’s gotten a pass on any criticism.

The popular theory is that Holmgren is a renowned quarterback coaching guru so he must know more about these players than anyone else. However, the fundamental question is, are we evaluating all these moves based on Mike the coach or Mike the executive?

With Holmgren announcing the Browns will draft a quarterback “later in the draft,” it will be interesting to see if the development he’s used to seeing actually occurs.

Big Ben, and no new QB in Pittsburgh

The Steelers have announced that, in spite of their concerns about Ben Roethlisberger, they will not select a quarterback in the draft. And really, why should they? Not because they’re not worried about Roethlisberger -- even head coach Mike Tomlin said he was “concerned” -- but more that they’ve invested time in Dennis Dixon as their young quarterback. It makes no sense to draft another young quarterback if they’re happy with the progress Dixon has made.

What happens if a top-rated quarterback slips to them in the first round and the value is too great? Even then, the Steelers will have to pass because they’ve tied a tremendous amount of resources (money) into Big Ben, and brining in another high-priced player for depth is not a prudent decision.

What the Steelers need to do is be concerned about Roethlisberger’s off-the-field behavior and continue the development of Dixon.

NFL moves the ump

The NFL has moved the umpire to the backfield, which is a very good move for that person’s health but might result in more holding penalties. In the past, the umpire was positioned like a linebacker and, like a linebacker, he always looking for who might be coming at him — which, at times, took his eyes off his principle focus.

With the move to the backfield, the umpire can accurately determine if an offensive lineman has his hands outside the framework of the defenders body. Being away from the action will allow the umpire to focus on the action — which might result in more holding penalties. As we all know, holding can be called on every play — if the officials want to make the call.

Despite this, I like the move. In the long run, it will help the game.

Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi

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