Shutdown Corner

Tanier’s Team Reviews: The Cleveland Browns, via Mike Holmgren

Shutdown Corner

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"Holy fishsticks -- this is gonna be great!" (Getty Images)

Any website can post "offseason grades" for NFL teams, mixing the draft and free agency into transaction soup, then straining it through the mind of some sportswriter who doesn't know who half the players are. Only the Shutdown Corner has the resources to get actual players, coaches, and executives from each team to evaluate their own offseasons! That's right: over the next few weeks, you will get transaction evaluations straight from the horse's mouths: straight talk about who was signed, who was lost, who was drafted, and why.

(For the satirically challenged: all player, coach, and executive remarks are made by an impersonator).

In this segment, Browns president Mike Holmgren breaks down his team's offseason moves.

MIKE HOLMGREN: It's great to be here, by golly! This sure has been a hum-dinger of an offseason. My wife Kathy is thrilled with all of our offseason moves, which means I am too!

Sure, we wanted to trade up to select Robert Griffin III, but the Redskins beat us to it. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! We traded up for Trent Richardson instead. Fans are going to love Richardson: he isn't a Grumpy Gus like Peyton Hillis. Do you know that Hillis only broke four tackles last year, according to Football Outsiders? I knew something was fishy when he started having trouble busting threw the particulates on high pollen count days. I thought I was watching the last two seasons of Shaun Alexander's career every time Hillis went down in a gentle breeze. Richardson will not be tackled so easily.

Kathy and I are super excited about Brandon Weeden, our other first round draft pick. Weeden is 28-years old, the perfect age for an up-and-coming offensive coordinator, but he will be our developmental quarterback. If he beats Colt McCoy for a starting job, the Browns will simultaneously get older and less experienced at quarterback. That's what we call progress! Browns fans are used to Tim Couch-Kelly Holcomb, Brady Quinn-Derek Anderson, and Trent Dilfer-Charlie Frye controversies. They know nothing is more fun than watching an obvious journeyman win a job from a second-tier prospect, providing a month-long offensive boost in exchange for a complete reboot of the rebuilding plan. Weeden is guaranteed to carry on that fine tradition.

It sure was a hum-dinger of a draft for the Browns. Mitchell Schwartz was a four-year starter at California; he is going to step right in for Tony Pashos at right tackle. Emmanuel Acho was a steal in the sixth round: he is my kind of people. A clean-cut, hard working young man who will really upgrade our special teams.

We also added Juqua Parker for depth on the defensive line, another hard worker. You know how some people collect snow globes and Hummel figurines? Well so do I. But I also collect old Eagles defenders, and Parker joins Sheldon Brown, Chris Gocong, and Dimitri Patterson in my display case. I hope Andy Reid calls me the second he releases Moise Fokou.

The only unfinished business was our wide receiver corps. Now, I think Greg Little is going to overcome his pass-dropping and become a fine receiver. Fourth-round pick Travis Benjamin will be a lot of fun to watch in the open field. Josh Cribbs is still dangerous. But we probably could have gotten a little better and deeper at wide receiver, damn it.

Wait … I said "darn it." "Dang it?" Folks, please don't tell the missus that I cussed. She will get ever-so-sore. This job can just get so stressful, dag-nabbit.

So folks, get ready for an exciting season of Browns football. Our rookies are getting ready. Richardson is getting ointment for his joints. Weeden is stocking up on Just for Men. Our defense is full of great prospects, including tackle Phil Taylor, end Jabaal Sheard, and cornerback Joe Haden. And don't forget the veteran leader of our defense, D'Qwell Jackson, a grizzled survivor of five years in the trenches who is three weeks older than our quarterback of the future!

Fiddle-de-dee, this is going to be a fun season!

Tanier's Team Reports:
Indianapolis ColtsSt. Louis RamsMinnesota Vikings | Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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