Having pelts on the wall makes it much easier for a coach who also controls personnel to roll the dice. And Patriots coach Bill Belichick has thrown the bones for now-former Browns receiver Josh Gordon.
It could boom like Randy Moss. It could bust like Chad Johnson and Albert Haynesworth. But Belichick’s rings give him the freedom to try.
The player’s skills and abilities make it even more attractive. In 2013, with Brian Hoyer, Jason Campbell, and Brandon Weeden throwing the passes, Gordon generated 1,646 receiving yards in only 14 games. Gordon is now reunited with Hoyer, but the other guy on the depth chart gives Gordon the best quarterback he’s ever had, by far.
Of course, it won’t be easy for Gordon to learn the offense on the fly. But with no deep threat on the depth chart, how much do the Patriots need Gordon to do other than force opposing defenses to defend more of the field, opening everything up for the rest of Tom Brady‘s targets?
Gordon’s chronic issues with banned recreational substances provide a separate challenge for the Patriots, but they presumably have done their homework before giving up a fifth-round pick for a player on whom the Browns finally have given up. And Belichick may believe that he will be able to reach Gordon in a way that other coaches haven’t, providing the player with one last shot at true greatness if he can show up on time, do his job, and finally become the player he has always had the potential to be.