Holmgren set to coach vs. former team when Seahawks visit Cleveland
Browns team president Mike Holmgren will face the franchise he served as coach for 10 seasons when Cleveland hosts the Seattle Seahawks Sunday afternoon in a battle of 2-3 squads. He has been trying to rebuild the once-proud Cleveland franchise the past two years. The Browns have had two winning seasons since 1995 and have won more than five games three times in that span.
AHN Sports Staff
Cleveland, OH, United States
October 21, 2011 01:36 pm EDT
Sports, American Football, National Football League
Browns team president Mike Holmgren will face the franchise he served as coach for 10 seasons when Cleveland hosts the Seattle Seahawks Sunday afternoon in a battle of 2-3 squads.
Holmgren was 86-74 with a Super Bowl appearance in 2005 before leaving after the 2008 season. He has been trying to rebuild the once-proud Cleveland franchise the past two years. The Browns have had two winning seasons since 1995 and have won more than five games three times in that span.
I would like to see improvement here, Holmgren said this week, and lay the foundation here so they can feel good about their team again before I make any changes at all.
And the improvement seems to be concentrated on quarterback Colt McCoy.
After starting 2-1 the Browns have dropped consecutive games, 31-13 at home to Tennessee and 24-17 at Oakland Sunday when the Raiders scored on a kick return and fake field goal.
McCoy was harassed all afternoon by the blitzing Raiders, completing 21-of-45 passes for 215 yards and two TDs to Alex Smith and Mohamed Massaquoi.
McCoy, the fourth QB selected in the 2010 draft, has completed 55.8 percent of his 217 passes for 1,199 yards with 8 TDs against three interceptions and two sacks.
However, hes averaging only 5.53 yards per attempt, way below his 7.10 average of a season ago. McCoys also 27th in the league in passing percentage, and he has struggled getting the ball down the field, completing just 14-of-37 passes thrown 10-19 yards and 7 of 20 on throws 20 yards or longer, according to ProFootballFocus.com
"If you're going to win games, the quarterback needs to play well," coach Pat Shurmur said. "I really believe that.
McCoy has struggled against the blitz and the Seahawks have surely taken notice. According to ESPN Stats and Analysis, McCoy is averaging just 3.1 yards per attempt when defenses bring a defensive back, fourth lowest in the league.
"You've got to make plays, gotta beat the blitz somehow," McCoy said. "Last week we tried making a big play deep. You also have to run the ball. When you run the ball, the pressure dramatically decreases. I think that will be a big part of what we try to do this week, try to establish that.
Running the ball has been a challenge. Cleveland ranks 29th in the league in yards per rush (3.3) while Seattles defense ranks first (3.1).
A distracted Peyton Hillis, who ran for 1,177 yards and 11 TDs last season, hasnt gotten on track in 2011 as his agent tries to work out a contract extension.
Hillis, who is averaging just 3.5 yards per carry with a high of 94 yards in Week 2 at Indianapolis, received a lot of criticism when he sat out against Miami in Week 3 with the flu on the advice of his agent.
"Things are kind of quiet right now (in the contract negotiations),'' Holmgren said. "Let's let the dust settle and see what happens. No one has called off contract negotiations but that the Browns tried to extend Hillis' contract and it didn't happen. Now he needs a great year to reach his goals.
Hillis was limited to six carries by a hamstring injury against Oakland. He had an MRI Monday and his availability against Seattle is questionable. Montario Hardesty is his backup.
Seattle leads the all-time series 11-5. But this is the first game between the teams since Cleveland posted a 33-30 victory in 2007.
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