Browns president promises to "stay the course"

By Tom Withers

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Jan. 5 2012 12:01 p.m. MST

BEREA, Ohio — Team president Mike Holmgren won't use explosives to remodel the Browns.

Expressing disappointment and frustration following another lousy season in Cleveland, Holmgren said Thursday he and general manager Tom Heckert have no plans to dismantle the work they've already done.

"We know what we have to fix, but we're not going to blow it up and start it all over," Holmgren said. "We're going to stay the course and do it a certain way."

Holmgren and Heckert met with the media for more than an hour and discussed a wide range of issues confronting the Browns, who went 4-12 in coach Pat Shurmur's first year and are the only AFC North team not in the playoffs.

Holmgren expected the Browns to be closer to .500 this season and expects them to "be better" in 2012.

Holmgren praised second-year quarterback Colt McCoy and believes the 25-year-old he will improve. However, Holmgren would not commit to McCoy as Cleveland's franchise quarterback.

"He can be, but I'm not ready to say that yet," Holmgren said. "He played young at times. Was I pleased? Yeah, at a lot of the stuff he did. My opinion of Colt has not changed. He has a lot of the intangibles. Ultimately though the quarterback is judged on how well your team did.

"I'm not ready to anoint Colt yet. Do I love him? Yes I do. We have three good quarterbacks on our team now."

Heckert was also noncommittal about McCoy, who went 4-9 before missing the final three games with a concussion.

"We're still evaluating him," Heckert said. "He's a young quarterback. We think he has enough talent to be a good player for us. Can he get better? We think he can and will get better."

Holmgren praised Shurmur, who said earlier this week that intends to hire an offensive coordinator during the offseason. Shurmur held both titles this season, one in which he had his share of tough situations.

"He went through some stuff that I know I didn't have to go through my first year," Holmgren said. "It's never easy your first year. There was some stuff going on that was a little unusual. Does he need to take a vacation? Absolutely. Is he the same guy I hired? Yes. He's smart and he's going to do the right things for this football team. He did a lot of good things in somewhat of a tough situation."

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