by Michael Lombardi
December 16, 02009
There’s so much happening behind the scenes in the NFL today, with Mike Holmgren serious about taking the Browns’ football operations job and Charlie Frye -- not JaMarcus Russell – being named the Raiders’ starting quarterback for their game against the Broncos. Holmgren would much rather return to Seattle, but since the Seahawks are intent on having Jed Hughes, a senior director at Spencer Stuart search firm, find their next general manager, a return there might not be in the cards.
Why no Holmgren in Seattle? On the surface, it’s a very interesting question, but deep down, the Seahawks worried about Holmgren’s ability as a general manager, which initially prompted their hiring of Bob Ferguson and then Tim Ruskell. Clearly, the Seahawks love Holmgren’s talents as a coach, but they don’t hold the same appreciation for his ability to run an organization. So they’ve hired Hughes to interview candidates and narrow the list. Right now, I hear they have 10 potential candidates and Holmgren is not among them.
Holmgren has a very close relationship with Seattle owner Paul Allen, but that doesn’t appear to be helping him land the job. Since the Seahawks have a CEO in Tod Leiweke, they need to hire a football man to work with and repair this broken team. They need someone who doesn’t have a predetermined view of the team, someone who can give them a fresh approach. That would not be Holmgren, so as a result, his interest in Cleveland is genuine. And since the Browns are the only team willing to make him their football guru, he just might need to take the deal — if he doesn’t want to coach again.
The next question: Why would Cleveland want Holmgren if Seattle, the team that knows him best, apparently doesn’t? Fair question, but in the case of the Browns, Holmgren would be the team president and would hire a general manager to do the bulk of the work. Holmgren would give the Browns credibility, something they need and something they lack right now. The key for Holmgren, as I mentioned this morning in the Diner, would be his ability to find the right people in Cleveland who share his beliefs in football.
Meanwhile, is anyone surprised that Frye is starting at quarterback for the Raiders over Russell? I bet Russell is even happy with the decision. Head coach Tom Cable did the right thing naming Frye; if he hadn’t, he would have lost the team. He’ll have a hard time beating the Broncos this Sunday, but he would have had a much harder time if Russell was starting. Russell has to win his teammates back before he can ever start another game.
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