NFL Network’s Heath Evans Rips Into Cleveland Browns President Mike Holmgren

December 29, 2011 – 6:32 am by Eric Schmoldt

Generally, Mike Holmgren appears to be fairly well regarded throughout NFL circles, at least in terms of his body of work. He finished 161-111 as a head coach during the regular season, coached teams to three Super Bowl appearances, won one of them and has a fairly impressive tree of coaches who got a start as assistants under him.

Heath Evans is here to tell you to hold the phone. The former NFL fullback, who played under Holmgren in Seattle and now works for the NFL Network, tells tales of his dysfunctional time with the Seahawks and how Holmgren was the reason they left Super Bowls out on the field. Evans also says Holmgren is not the answer in Cleveland.

Heath Evans joined 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland with Bull and Fox to discuss the state of the Cleveland Browns, the potential to get Robert Griffin III, why Mike Holmgren isn’t the right fit in Cleveland, what he experienced in playing for Holmgren and the Peyton Hillis situation.

On the state of Cleveland Browns football:

“When I think about Cleveland Brown football right now, and everybody loves to bash Colt McCoy. Listen, I’ve been around some great quarterbacks. Can Colt McCoy ever be Tom Brady or Drew Brees? I don’t know. I do know this, the kid’s a great leader. … I played four years in Mike Holmgren’s offense. It’s not about Colt McCoy’s lack of arm strength, it’s about the play-calling and really how that offense is set up. His version of the West Coast Offense hasn’t changed since the 49er days. … They’ve got to widen that offense more where you have shots downfield.”

If Robert Griffin III is there for the taking, should they go after him?:

“From knowing Mike Holmgren the way I know him, I’m not sure if Mike would even want a Robert Griffin. I don’t know if he wants that type of quarterback. … Chad Brown and I were talking on Twitter the other day just about the inconsistency that Mike Holmgren coached with out in Seattle for the four years I was there. … Those were the most talented football teams I was ever on, hands down, period, the end. Way more than New England, even moreso than the teams in New Orleans, and we never found a way to get it done because of inconsistency from the top down. I’m not sure Mike Holmgren’s the guy to actually turn this thing around in Cleveland.”

Seriously? You don’t think he’s the right guy for the job in Cleveland?:

“I’m not sure he is. I’m telling you, my days, Bill Belichick was such a breath of fresh air for me. Mike Holmgren tries to squeeze everybody into that system. Well, I’ve got news for you, the West Coast system is not a world-beater anymore. … Now, if you’ve got good [defensive coordinators] and disciplined football players on the defensive side of the ball, it’s not beating anybody. … There is no one system that beats every defense you play. Ultimately, we were a gameplan team in New England. They still are. That is why the majority of the time, they come out on the winning side of the ball. In New Orleans, yes, it is a West Coast scheme, but every single week we play designed with Sean Payton’s genius mind and Drew Brees’ comfortability factor and that’s why they destroy teams. You can’t say, ‘This is our system and we’re running it week-in and week-out no matter what.’”

On his experience with Holmgren in Seattle:

“For four years, I sat on the bench because I couldn’t be the demonstrative lead blocker that Mack Strong was. Athletically, as soon as I got to New England, Bill Belichick was like, ‘Hey, listen, we don’t want you running anybody over. Just don’t miss blocks and we’re going to throw you the ball, we’re going to let you run, we’re going to put you on special teams.’ I spent four great years there making a lot of plays in huge games.”

What are your thoughts on the situation with Peyton Hillis?:

“I just hear a lot of mixed emotions coming out of there about players that were unhappy with his position. And listen, players don’t get upset about other players trying to get paid. We all know you can get cut at any time. … Ultimately, from multiple sources, even coaches, you talk about guys questioning whether or not he could’ve played. And even just so many things that have stirred up my thought process. Hamstrings are funny deals. This guy gets right back on the field and ends up having big games. Most of the time, hamstrings don’t act that way. … Can I comment with facts? No, I can’t, but there’s definitely been a lot that’s come out of that locker room that has raised my ear.”

Do you think Mike Holmgren is taking the money and cruising to the finish line?:

“I don’t think so. He’s too competitive for that. I do think that coaches, GMs, they get kind of stuck in their ways. And rightfully so. He’s won a Super Bowl; he’s been to another Super Bowl. … This game of football has changed.”

Listen to Heath Evans on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland here

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  1. 24 Responses to “NFL Network’s Heath Evans Rips Into Cleveland Browns President Mike Holmgren”

  2. I been a Browns fan nearly 60 years but with Shurmur, Heckert and Holmgren, next year I’m switching to the bengals. They at least care and try to improve but these Browns overseers have in my opinion regressed rather than improved. McCoy cannot complete passes when the receivers they provide seem to drop 2 out of every 3 thrown to them, and running backs like Hillis are so scarce, but again the overseer 3 seem not to realize that either. Johnny Unitas was doubtlessly one of the NFL’s
    best quarterbacks but he got cut before he got a chance. McCoy may not be perfect but before you blame him, look at the sacks that sad line allowed and all the other Brown players who caused McCoy’s problems. How many times must we keep starting over at quarterback. Why not put the blame on coach for bad clock management causing loses, defensive errors, dropped passes, poor routes & lousy play calling. The quarterback is only as good as the coaches, GM, President and players around him allow him to be. brown at Cincinnati gets complained off, but year after year he provides his team with quality players to give them a chance. Cleveland seems to fail at that yearly!!!!

    By Jim on Dec 29, 2011

  3. Hey, Jim. Have a nice day. Don’t let the Browns door hit on the way out! You think the bungholes have better management and coaching?? See ya later!

    By Jim in FL on Dec 29, 2011

  4. So Heath Evans ends up on the right team for his talents in New England and decides it was all wrong in Seattle because he rode the pine??!! Let’s give Mike Holmgren a little more credit than this as I do believe the Seahawks did go to a Super bowl under him?! I don’t remember watching the Seahawks and feeling that they had “hands down” better talent than other teams in that or any year! Holmgren built them from mediocrity when he got there! BTW, I am a huge Browns fan and would yearn for just one shot under Holmgren at getting to the Super Bowl!

    By TAHO on Dec 29, 2011

  5. I have been saying all along Holgrem’s ego is to big for this type of job.They have an above average quarter back below averge core of recievers and a terrible coaching staff.I do not care if you bring Peyton Manning in.He could not win with this dysfunctional set-up.Shummer may be a good coach I do not know but he is not showing it.

    By Frank on Dec 29, 2011

  6. I Love the Browns and have since being old enough to kno my first season rr 88, still once a brown always a brown. It has been very hard but you kno at least we have a team to root for, I live in steeler country & spent 15yrs in bungle country so ive put up with their crap but coming from a diehard our dawgs will have their day & soon.

    By Samiam on Dec 29, 2011

  7. Holmgren is a coach, not a president.
    Schurmer is overwhelmed in his first year, with a short prep season and trying (and I do mean trying) to call the offensive plays.
    That, in itself, is unacceptable. If Holmgren really wanted to give Pat a chance, he should have let Schurmer leave his last job behind, as Holmgren left his behind.
    Now, the solution is having Heckert run the office, Holmgren coach the team, and Schurmer run the offense…and not just that West Coast nonsense.
    Absent that, goodbye to all and take Colt with you.

    By Wayne on Dec 29, 2011

  8. I have been a Browns fan for 50+ years and I am done with Holmgren,Schurmer,and Lerner he should put the team up for sale to someone that will spend good money for Management, coaches who have experience Like Cower or even Jim Tressel would be better that what we have now they stink,stank stunk Pew. We have some good players who like us but not the coaching staff. I swiched to become a packer and stock holder even if its just a piece of paper they know how to WIN!

    By Buc I Ron on Dec 29, 2011

  9. in my oppian you should build around your QB is the only way to go give him the protection that he needs, you will see that he is the QB of the future of the browns

    By rich clovis on Dec 29, 2011

  10. The Browns as is will never be. I’m 61 and have been a Browns fan all my life. We as fans must get used to the fact our Browns went to Baltamore and as sad as it my shouted we are never going to have a winning team. Mr Lerner sould sell the team to someone who really loves football so they could get the right kind of management. Holmgren,Schurmer,and Lerner are not the answer.

    By Uncle D on Dec 29, 2011

  11. The Browns had all of the off season to get some quality Wide Outs and got none. U need an O Line to Protect yor QB, that never happened either. Colt is a Proven Winner. He needs help around him and someone that has Speed at the Wide Reciever Position. Then U call a Run Play at the Goal Line with 15 seconds left in the Quarter, R U Kidding me !!! A Pee Wee Coach isn’t that Stupid…

    By MHulgin on Dec 29, 2011

  12. The big thing I don’t think he realizes is that any ball McCoy throws that’s 20 yards or more is underthrown. Always. It was last year, and it’s been the same this year. He can’t make the throws. At least at this point. Also, he rarely puts the ball in the exact spot it needs to be. Can a team effectively move the ball this way? No. With the plays they seem to be running, they need a better QB. All year, it’s never been an issue of going up for the ball. Also, they do need receivers that can get separation and PROVE that they can go up for the ball and fight for it. About the only receiver they’ve had like that unfortunately…. is Edwards.

    By Clint on Dec 29, 2011

  13. Patience. I still believe in Holmgren. Schurmur did struggle in his first year, but I do like his surrounding coaching staff. I believe Schurmur will be much better in 2012. I also believe McCoy is our QB for the future. Another good draft, a whole pre-season, and you will start to see Holmgren plan starting to come together. Don’t anyone abandon ship just yet. JUST BE PATIENT. I know it a lot to ask from a team who hasn’t won an NFL Championship since 1964, and for a team who just missed going to 4 Super Bowls since then. None recently, but I’m telling you, better days are ahead in the not so distant future for the Browns. I predict the Browns make it to the Super Bowl before the Falcons. Davey Dawg.

    By John Davey on Dec 29, 2011

  14. Leave Colt alone, he is a good leader that has
    poor receivers and a horrible line. Give him
    atleast another year and a great draft to prove
    he can not do it.

    By Jeff on Dec 30, 2011

  15. Here’s my analysis… You have a girlfriend and she moves to Baltimore to be with her new hot boyfriend. You sit in limbo for 4 years you watch her get married and have a kid and you think, that should have been my kid. Once you do have a new girlfriend, she’s really a down grade and although she looks like the same girlfriend that you’ve had since 1948, you realize that it just isn’t the same.

    Aside from some major personel changes on the offensive side of the ball, and a head coach that needs to grow a pair himself, here is my next idea. These aren’t the old Browns of yesteryear. It’s time for them to make a major overhaul of thier current uniform. Take Tampa Bay or Baltimore…sharp new uni’s Super Bowl. The Rams change their uniforms, Super Bowl. Denver looses 5 Super Bowls, change thier uni’s and win 2. I’m just saying…the mediocre Buckeyes switched this year for the Wisconsin game and… Anyboday feeling me?

    By Jesse on Dec 30, 2011

  16. I have read these comments. I have been a Browns fan since MY first game at 7. II have sat in the Dawg Pound before it was the Dawg pound. I now live in Austin Texas and I am still a Browns Fan. STOP BLAMING THE QUARTERBACK. HIOw many of these guys are we going to braek and spit out before we spend the money and get an Offensive line. We usually have a great defense. But offensively we have sucked since Kosar left. We don’t keep a coach. we continue to hire not the best coach but the best for the money offered. Fans will always fill the stadium there. Which is probably the reason they do not feel they need to. Colt is a winner. Which one of you could throw all great passes with half the other team chasing you? Quit whining start demanding a winning team. Start demanding they get the right people. I don’t want to be the last yteam to go to the Super Bowl.

    By Chuck on Dec 30, 2011

  17. Wow, there’s a common theme here. None of us are talking playoffs, superbowl, etc. It does stink that since nearly the mid-point of the season we’ve been talking 2012. The offense has been pedestrian at best w/no “D” fearing our ability to take the corner or stretch the field. Colt is not the proper QB for this division. He’s to small, with to small of an arm. Rothlesberger, Flacco, Dalton, ya feeling me. Much of the play calling is “hopeful” and not demonstrative by nature. Rarely do we impose our will offensively. Personnel is definitely a reason. We just don’t seem to have players that care to be dominant. Say what you want about Harrison. I’d take him in a minute and gladly pay his fines. On a personal level, he cares and it traveses the team and their level of intensity. Whatever happened to guys who cared like Robert “stonewall” Jackson, Jerry Sherk, Jim Brown, Bernie, etc… They cared and forced others to!!!! It’s football folks, and we as Browns need to stop being scared to play it the way it began in Canton!!!!

    By Sandusky Slim on Dec 30, 2011

  18. I have been a Browns fan since I was old enough to know what football was. My 4 year old son also shares that passion.

    Does anyone read these things. Everyone knows how to fix the Browns but those in charge. Do you think these men woke up one morning and said that football thing looks interesting I think I will try to put an NFL team together. Give them a break they are only 2 years in.

    Of course i have an opinion and dont care to state it. The Browns need Stability!!! How may QBs in the last 12 seasons, how many coaching changes, how many different offensive and defensive schemes. To many to produce a winning franchise. Love Josh Cribbs but to have to say your Kick Returner is your best skill player is just sad. I think that skill positions need to be addressed as does every other browns fan and the o-line would have looked different with Stienback. Colt is the guy!!! Given the chance he will be mention in the same same tone as Bernie in a few years. In summery, Does a flower grow if you keep pulling it up from the roots. Neither does a football team. Give it time to grow.

    By Jeff on Dec 31, 2011

  19. I knew there would be at least one browns fan with his head fully lodged up Holmgren’s rear who would claim that Evan’s remarks are because he’s bitter he didn’t play in Seattle.

    By Dean on Dec 31, 2011

  20. Sorry but I’ve been saying the same thing Heath Evans has been saying all along… he rode Bret Favre’s coattails to the super bowl, not the other way around. Yes, that Seattle team WAS indeed super-talented on both sides of the ball and should have been in 2-3 consecutive Superbowls. But the team was disassembled the same way the Chicago Bulls got disassembled in their heyday- because the owner thought he could piece together a new winning team w\o Michael Jordan…

    By Donald on Jan 1, 2012

  21. Listen to all of you! Colt is fine. The line is Stienbach and one player away from being really good. If you remember a couple years ago we had one of the best lines in the league. The staff put together is going to be fine. Granted we need an O coordinator. Childress will be available and the guy from NE is definitely on his way out after fighting with Tom Baby!!! I think this is the draft we have been waiting for we do have some good core guys to build around and two first round picks to beef it up. Grab a couple of quality vets for help and we are competing in 2012. At 30 million under the salary cap all that is more then possible. With the new CBA it is actually more then possible it is highly probable. We as fans are always so quick to drop the hammer or pull out the axe but that is the problem in Cleveland all the axe dropping has left us with no consistency. Even with a team full of pro bowlers we couldn’t get it done with new coaches, coordinators and quarterbacks every year. So I am going to sit back and watch the beauty that is Brownie football unfold over the next couple years and laugh when all the quitters come running back. Save your jerseys boys and girls the Browns faithful will see you soon!

    By Jeremy wilson on Jan 2, 2012

  22. all u old browns fans rying bout how we need a new owner! we need a new QB and good Wideouts. shut up!!! u guys no nothing about the new age off football, ur like a old man trying to use a cellphone! the browns dont need new jerseys(thats a dumb thought from the statrt) we dont nned a new owner/GM/anything. we need a strong draft. look at all the great nfl teams that have won a SB. they all have great drafts. i mean come on, look at Pitt. they draft well and dont spent big money on guys in the off season. we need to draft a strong core. get a playmaking wideout who can take the load off litte and MM and we need to take cribs and use him like they do wes welker. just in the slot. wes is a top 5 WR in the nfl and he does 1 thing well! make ppl miss tackles after he gets the ball. sound like cribs?! yes it does. we need to get a better Oline to give colt time, and let hillis run into the 2nd and 3rd level of the D. we could use a 2nd CB to pair with haden. maybe get a ball hawking free saftey and a run stuffing Right End to pair with sheard. u old guys talk about bothing but change, well ur thinking about the wrong kind of change. and who cares if uve been a browns fan for 40+ years! IF UR GONNA ACT LIKE LIL GIRLS THEN WHO NEEDS U!! the browns dont care if u become a fan of another team, the REAL fans that know football will rise up and show thier colors. and if u dont agree with me then u just cant understand the fact that ur dumb when it comes to football and that a 19year old knows more then u do. stuck it old farts. lulz

    if the browns draft like this them we will have a winning team in 2years.
    4th pick: justin blackmon WR/rober griffin QB
    29th overall pick: best linemen/alshon jeffreys Wr
    2nd round: best RE (looks like the guy outa bama. roll tide roll)
    3rd round: leMickle james Rb
    4th round: best CB/KR (since cribs will b 29 soon, getting old!)
    5th round: another limemen (cant have nuff of those)
    6th round: kicker/punter (we need one since our punter is always hurt and dawson might leave to go get a ring)
    7th round: try and find a guy wo is fast and can help add to our WR core (look at all the teams who draft 4 speed, they find a guy in the late rounds who is fast and can help strech the field. pitt have Brown and we saw him kill us, and the raiders have Ford wo is FAST!!!! and is turning into a great speed WR that burns everyone who covers him.)

    if they follow that mock draft then we will win games, based on our speed and will to win, all those guys come from winning teams and hate to loose, plus they all r good guys that dont get in trouble with the law and dont get hurt alot.
    from the kid who will one day b a GM in football, Tyler. H. Vetter
    look 4 me old farts!

    By tyler vetter on Jan 5, 2012

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  2. Dec 29, 2011: » Lastest Colt Mccoy News MSN News – Breaking News
  3. Dec 30, 2011: Heath Evans rips Mike Holmgren, doesn’t believe he’s the answer in Cleveland – Pro Football Zone

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