Greetham: Burn the Ships

There is no question who is in charge in Berea. Mike Holmgren made several surprising and shocking moves over the weekend. Fred Greetham provides his thoughts.

March 15, 2010

Burn the Ships

By Fred Greetham

Being a big history buff, I'm sure that Mike Holmgren read the accounts of Hernando Cortez and his quest to find the Aztec treasures of Mexico.

For those of you not aware of the story, here is a brief history lesson. Cortez and his crew set sail from Spain in 1519 and landed on the shores of Yucatan in search of the treasures. Upon arrival, Cortez ordered his crew to "Burn the Ships" that they had safely arrived in. The crew was somewhat dumbfounded by the order as they would have no means to return home after their quest.

However, being the great motivator he was, Cortez ordered the burning of the ships to leave no choice so the men could not return home unless they were successful in their journey and had overthrown those they were attacking. To return home, they had to be victorious and then they would use the ships of those they vanquished.

Well, it might be a tad melodramatic, but it appears the Browns are "burning the ships" from the past and starting over again—particularly from the Phil Savage era.

At first, it appeared the Browns were just making a few changes, but Holmgren and his staff are picking up momentum and steam and are making moves left and right.

The first moves were somewhat expected. Letting Donte Stallworth and Corey Williams go. Then came a mild surprise with the release of Hank Fraley.

Trading for Seneca Wallace seemed to be something that Holmgren was bound and determined to do and then the expected release of Derek Anderson. Another mild surprise was letting Steve Heiden go when he seemed to be a better option than Robert Royal as a backup tight end.

The Browns then started signing some free agents that seemed to be good fits. Scott Fujita would be a solid addition at linebacker. Tony Pashos would be the starter at right tackle. Ben Watson an upgrade at tight end.

But then it started to get silly.

Jake Delhomme seemed to have no leverage other than taking a backup job with the Saints. Holmgren seemed to be bidding against himself and sounding as if he was going to go get someone else if Delhomme didn't say yes. Obviously, Holmgren feels he can wave his wand and return Delhomme to a serviceable quarterback for a year or two.

I heard on a local radio talk show after the trade that the Browns haven't had a quarterback with Super Bowl experience on their team and Delhomme will really help.

Hello…remember a guy named Trent Dilfer?

Alright, we trust Holmgren's judgment as the guy worked with Joe Montana, Steve Young and Brett Favre…right?

The next move is the trade of Brady Quinn for Peyton Hillis…not the other Peyton. What does that mean? Are they are going to let Lawrence Vickers go next because they have a new serviceable fullback?

Kamerion Wimbley gets sent to the Raiders for a third-round draft choice. Let's take a look at what has happened to the No. 1 draft choices the Browns selected with Savage as the general manager.

In 2005, Braylon Edwards was the top pick and he was traded for a third-round pick and Jason Trusnik and Chansi Stuckey. Wimbley, the 2006 pick was traded for a third rounder. Quinn was traded for Hillis and a late round 2011 and 2012 picks.

However,Joe Thomas is still here. I bet they could get a couple of picks for him.

What is the fascination with trading for all of these draft picks that end up not making an impact, more times than not?

Either Holmgren and Tom Heckert truly believe in the same things that Eric Mangini does or Mangini has convinced the other two that his way is the right way. Fujita, Pashos, Watson and even Wallace and Delhomme seem to be the types of players that Mangini wants. I think Mangini would rather have 53 guys you haven't heard of than a roster filled with Pro Bowl players.

No disrespect to Trusnik, but they signed him as a linebacker option this week and sent Wimbley packing when the last I looked the Browns were in need of linebackers.

It truly looks as if the new regime has landed now-- and are burning the ships.

Let's just hope they find the treasure they are seeking.

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