We know Bill Belichick’s going to cast a long shadow in New England when he’s finally done coaching here.
Consider this column from Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland which shows the hold Belichick has had on the Browns for the past 24 years.
The grip has loosened and tightened since he was hired as Browns head coach in 1990 but, with confidante Mike Lombardi as GM, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as the lead dog for the Browns head-coaching position and former Pats quarterback Brian Hoyer in the mix at the team’s most vital position, the hold right now is like a vise.
Hoyer, in my opinion, is a major figure in this tangled web. Everyone knows that Lombardi was a famously enthusiastic advocate of Hoyer while biding his NFL purgatory with the NFL Network.
When Lombardi successfully acquired Hoyer in May, Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner already had pretty much committed the entire offseason to readying Brandon Weeden as the starter for the season and Jason Campbell as the fallback option.
In training camp, Hoyer was cast aside by the coaches as the third quarterback. On occasion, Hoyer was banished to a faraway field to throw to the rookie free agents. In my opinion, that cavalier attitude toward Hoyer -- not taking him seriously as a viable starting option, ostensibly because he was Lombardi’s “boy” -- was a crucial error in judgment by Chudzinski and Turner.
From that point on, the only thing that would save them was a good year, meaning a good enough record to avoid any sane reasoning for dismissal.
As it happened, circumstances put Hoyer in the lineup in Game 3 -- first game after the locker room-deflating trade of Trent Richardson. When Hoyer sparked the team and beat the Vikings, and then followed with a victory over Cincinnati the next week, the stakes rose immensely for the coaches.
Hoyer’s resurgence -- as brief as it was -- affected many things.
It’s a fascinating column and worth a read.