"He's a person who is going to build a foundation," said Wallace, who started four games this season. "I don't think over the last couple of years there's been a foundation. There has been a lot of turnover. And I think once you build that foundation and that type of mentality, it's going to build for the future."
Has he seen any part of the foundation formed?
"I saw a couple of bricks slide in place," he said, "but there's still a lot of building that needs to be done."
Holmgren has spent the year evaluating Cleveland's roster, which has been upgraded by general manager Tom Heckert — Holmgren's first hire. Holmgren knows what's needed and what's not, a fact that would make his potential takeover as coach that much more seamless.
Cornerback Sheldon Brown, acquired in an offseason trade with Philadelphia, has faith that the Browns' front office is getting things done.
"If they came back here and said, 'Sheldon, we need you to play safety, nickel, dime,' I believe that they know what they're doing to get us to where we need to go," he said. "I just believe in the plan."
When Holmgren accepted Lerner's offer to restore the Browns, he did so knowing it would be hard to shake the coaching bug. It's all the former high school history teacher has known since becoming an assistant at his alma mater in San Francisco 40 years ago.
Holmgren has enjoyed his executive role, immersing himself into the daily business of the Browns with the same verve as he did as a coach. But shaking hands with season-ticket holders and charming suite holders doesn't provide the same excitement as preparing a game plan to beat the Ravens.
He knew turning the Browns into consistent winners would take time, but patience has never been a strong suit.
"The problem is that I'm old, and the clock is ticking a little bit for me in this business," Holmgren joked during an interview with The Associated Press in October.
He misses the game.
It might be time to get back in it.
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