As former Packers general manager Ron Wolf prepares to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month, he’s still not quite sure why ex-Browns president Mike Holmgren failed in his three-year run in Cleveland.
Holmgren was hired by former Browns owner Randy Lerner after the 2009 season at Wolf’s urging. The team went 14-34 under Holmgren and was never able to establish continuity on the coaching staff or at quarterback, two staples of the franchise since its return to Cleveland in 1999.
Not getting a quarterback was the primary reason for Holmgren’s failure, according to Wolf.
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"To me, the No. 1 tenet in the game is, you’ve got to have a quarterback," Wolf told the Canton Repository. "If you don’t have a quarterback, then you can’t play. They didn’t get that guy."
Holmgren drafted two quarterbacks during his tenure — Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden — neither of whom got the job done.
"I was shocked when they brought Weeden in,” Wolf said. "Only because, from being around Mike, his first thing about a quarterback was feet. It was the first thing Mike talked about … feet. That guy had no feet."
Of course, history may have been much different if the Browns had drafted Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, when Wolf was hired as a consultant for the Butch Davis regime. Wolf was very high on Roethlisberger, but he left the organization after about 2 1/2 weeks, sensing unhappiness from Davis.
Wolf declined to tell the Repository if he recommended the Browns select Roethlisberger. The Browns signed Jeff Garcia shortly after Wolf’s departure and then ended up taking Kellen Winslow Jr. in the draft. The rest is history.