Actions don’t speak louder than words on Mike Lombardi
Three days later and we’re still trying to wrap our brains around the fact that Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam signed off on a deal to bring Mike Lombardi back to Cleveland.
Plenty of people are talking about the decision – not surprising since Lombardi has not actually worked in the NFL since 2007 – and we have to wonder just what it is that 99 percent of the NFL missed on Lombardi all these years. So many openings, so few job offers.
So let’s take a look at what Lombardi’s biggest supporters have been saying.
“Mike is one of the brightest football minds I have ever worked with. He has a strong understanding of every aspect of the game and the process of putting a team together. Mike’s strong work ethic combined with his extensive experience in the NFL will give the Cleveland Browns an exceptional man for this position.” – New England coach Bill Belichick.
Belichick has had numerous opportunities to hire this “bright football mind” over the years, most notably when Scott Pioli left for Kansas City in 2009, yet … he didn’t.
“He still puts the game plans together for Bill Belichick. I see the stuff being used week in, week out. There’s no question that Bill uses the advanced scouting Mike delivers to him.” – Brian Baldinger, NFL.com.
The Patriots last won a Super Bowl eight years ago. Maybe Belichick realized it was time to get his game plans from someone else.
“Everybody keeps saying, ‘We had an unbelievable draft this year in Cleveland.’ Really? Says who? Says who? They took a flier on a running back with the third pick. Nobody in the league these days goes that high with a running back because so many of them are interchangeable. Adrian Peterson put together the greatest highlight film probably of any running back that’s ever come out. Guys around the league kept saying, ‘We almost can’t believe this guy’ after they’d worked him out. I think he went seventh in the first round. – Jim Nantz, CBS announcer
Nantz is right – Peterson did go seventh in the 2007 draft – mainly because Detroit wanted Calvin Johnson and Cleveland’s Phil Savage actually got something right in drafting Joe Thomas. Does anyone think that Tampa Bay (Gaines Adams), Arizona (Levi Brown) or Washington (LaRon Landry) wouldn’t like a do over? Oh, yeah, and Oakland took JaMarcus Russell with the first pick in the draft – a draft that Lombardi helped to oversee while working for the Raiders.
“From my perspective, what stands out most about Michael is his intelligence. Regardless of the endeavor he has been involved with, he has always shown a high level of intelligence and intuitiveness about his project. Secondly, I think there is a process with Mike – he defines it and then he follows through on it. I think that is really important in the overall evaluation of rookies and pros at whatever level in football. Finally, at his core I think he is a true evaluator. That is what that position demands more than anything – somebody that can evaluate at the college level, at the pro level, at the free agent level and integrate all of those facets into one comprehensive program. I think Mike Lombardi can do all of that.” – Mike Mayock, NFL Network analyst
A “true evaluator” who said Josh Gordon was a wasted pick and that Joe Haden was too slow to play in the NFL.
“When you are around Mike, you are around the game of football. He never stops thinking about it, he never stops talking about it and he never stops learning about it. The cup is never full.” – Brian Baldinger
There are plenty of people who “never stop thinking” about football. Wonder if they were able to score an interview with the Browns?
“There are a lot of teams in the league that pick players and don’t really have a clear understanding of the difference between doing that and assembling a team where people complement each other. You’re creating the right culture, attitude, work ethic, picking players that fit your particular program as opposed to just picking good players that end up making personnel people look good necessarily and not necessarily making the team any better.” – Joe Banner, Browns CEO
Now that is a philosophy we can get behind. Whether or not Lombardi is right person to help the Browns build a winning team remains to be seen.
For all of our sakes, we better hope that Lombardi’s actions can speak louder than those words.