During a 40-minute news conference Tuesday, Browns president Mike Holmgren did an excellent job of sidestepping two of the most-important topics.
At the top of the list is what his feelings are about playing rookie quarterback Colt McCoy for the remainder of the season. A close second is how much he misses coaching and would he like to return to the sideline?
Holmgren said the decision concerning McCoy's future this season is in the hands of coach Eric Mangini. He said discussions are on-going on the topic, but he feels his role is to give his opinion and then step back.
Considering his fondness of developing young quarterbacks, Holmgren probably would like to get a more in-depth look at McCoy, who's started two games since injuries sidelined Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace. The more the front office knows what it has in McCoy, the easier it will be to make a decision on whether to select a quarterback high in next year's draft or not.
"I think I've drafted a quarterback just about every year I ever coached, regardless of who was playing," Holmgren said. "I always like to see a young guy. So I don't think if one thing happens that precludes you from drafting another quarterback.
"Would you like to know a little bit more about your current youngin'? Yeah. Do I have a good feeling about him right out of what he's done? Absolutely. But it's two games. It's such an important thing for any football team. I get it. Remember I said, 'Man, I hope he doesn't play at all. Just let him learn.' But now that was taken out of our hands. Let's put the brakes on just a little bit and it'll fall the way it's supposed to fall, I think."
Holmgren was impressed with what he saw of McCoy in road starts against the Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints. He said he sees similarities between McCoy and other successful quarterbacks he's coached, singling out intelligence and leadership skills.
"When I talked to Colt I told him I was very proud of him," Holmgren said. "You couldn't probably as a youngster go into two tougher situations. The first game against the Steelers, outstanding defensive football team, give you all you can handle as a quarterback, any quarterback, much less a young one. I think he handled himself pretty well.
"What I learned from that game is that that type of game or the game itself isn't too big for him. He handled himself very well, he maintained his poise, made some good throws and instilled some confidence in his teammates. He really hadn't had that much of a chance to play. You all watched training camp and saw how many reps he got. It's not like he had a wealth of experience under the belt when he went into that game. I thought he handled himself well."
Watching all on-the-field developments isn't easy for Holmgren, who's just two years removed from coaching the Seattle Seahawks. He admits to yelling too much from his perch at loge level. The thrill of coaching on game day is still there.
"I'm doing OK," Holmgren replied when asked if he wants to coach again. "Does it sound like I want to coach? Nah, I'm doing OK. The challenge of this is really something for me. I'm enjoying the challenge. But I'd be less than honest if I didn't say I get fired up watching the games. I did that for too long not to react sometimes the way I do. But I also recognize what I was hired to do, and that's what I'm trying to do."
Those comments bring into play Mangini's future as coach. If nothing else, Mangini's job appears to be secure for the remainder of the season.
"The important point there is any coach where I'm in the position I'm in will be judged at the end of the season, and it will take thoughtful thinking," Holmgren said. "I think it's important that you take some of the emotion out of it if you can. At the end of the year, everyone catch their breath a little bit, think about it and then hopefully make an intelligent decision.
"I also said this - wins and losses aren't the only criteria. The crummy part of our business is that most of the time it is the main one. I thought my last year in Seattle, 4-12 on the surface they should have fired me based on record. It was my worst record of all time. It may have been my best coaching job because we were playing with young people who gave me everything they had, but they just weren't good enough and we got so injured. If that taught me anything, it taught me in my position there's more to look at. Hopefully I'll do that properly."