They say the genius of Bill Belichick can be realized in the way the Patriots head coach works magic with players who nobody has ever heard of.
It was easy to accredit the success of the Patriots and their dynastic decade of excellence to the rein of Tom Brady and players like Randy Moss, Rob Gronkowski, Tedy Bruschi, Wes Welker, Rodney Harrison and others. Problem is – when you take all those guys away, they still win. And they aren’t only winning with backups, they’re winning with 3rd string, 4th-round draft pick, playing in his first game quarterbacks. Hell Matt Cassel went 11-5 with the Patriots. Let that sink in.
If there’s one epitomizing example of this it’s a mind-blowing fact that 14, almost one of every three guys on the entire current Patriots’ 53-man roster who were members of and were on the team for the entity of the 2013 season, 4-12 Cleveland Browns who needless to say, were awful.
Defensive lineman John Hughes is the latest of these signees, signing deal with New England on Monday after the Browns released him last week. Who said getting fired was a bad thing.
Here are all 14 Browns-turned-Patriots:
RB Dion Lewis
WR Brian Tyms
WR Perez Ashford
WR Reggie Dunn
OL Keavon Milton
OL Braxston Cave
OL Caylin Hauptmann
DE Jabaal Sheard
DE Cam Henderson
DT John Hughes
DT Ishmaa’ily Kitchen
LB Eric Martin
LB Barkevious Mingo
LS Christian Yount
Nows granted, even after joining New England, those are still guys you’ve never heard of, but there are some key Patriots players on that list.
According to NESN.com, the connection between the Pats and the 2013 Browns traces back to one man. That man is Mike Lombardi. Lombari, who was the Browns general manager in 2013, went on to serve as an assistant to the Patriots’ coaching staff during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, and head coach Bill Belichick clearly values his opinion. “Mike has been a good source of information on a lot of levels, but certainly players that he is familiar with, like guys that were on that team,” Belichick said Wednesday. “I mean, he gives you insight into guys that you don’t get if you’re not there.”