So far, new New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon Lloyd has been everything he was expected to be when signed by the team in the offseason. In training camp, Lloyd has been the standout on offense by consistently catching the ball and making some big plays in camp. Josh McDaniels can attest to his greatness after coaching Lloyd’s breakout season in 2010, a year in which Lloyd was arguably the best receiver in the league.
A top deep threat, Lloyd accumulated 1,448 receiving yards in 2010 and also added 11 touchdowns while being one of the game’s top deep threats. Last season, Lloyd was traded to the St. Louis Rams and made circus catches regularly due to the lack of quality from Sam Bradford, A.J. Feeley, and Kellen Clemens.
Now with the Patriots, Lloyd is showing a glimpse of what he can do with Tom Brady throwing him passes so far in camp. The Pats really needed a vertical wide receiver outside the numbers who can help them stretch the field, and Brandon Lloyd is that guy. His numbers looked below-average last year, but the quarterbacks throwing him the ball were poor and over-targeted him. That is to say, they looked at Lloyd at every instance and delivered several poor throws when under pressure towards his direction, in the hopes that the athletic wideout would snag one. And he actually delivered on those plays. In fact, he went deep on about 40% of the passes thrown at him.
McDaniels has coached him for a couple of seasons, so Lloyd is familiar with his offensive schemes. He has been the best player on offense so far this camp, and he is definitely going to be one of the focal points of this offense. People accuse Brady of dinking-and-dunking at times- which is ridiculous- and those who have forgotten will see how amazing Brady is with a top deep threat at his disposal.
That 1,400+ yard season in 2010 is even more amazing when you consider who was throwing Brandon Lloyd his passes; Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow. That season, he averaged 9.5 (!) yards per attempt on throws directed at him and caught half of the passes thrown at him. That 50.3% catch rate seems poor, but it’s actually terrific when you consider Orton’s 58.8% completion percentage and the fact that Lloyd went deep 45% of the time and averaged an insane 18.8 yards per reception. Can you imagine his regular season numbers with Brady throwing to him? I’m salivating.
Not only that, but Lloyd’s mix of deep threat ability and consistent catching will help relieve pressure on stars Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, and Wes Welker in the middle of the field. Those guys are three of the best receiving weapons in the NFL, and they are in an even better position to make big plays. Yeah, I can’t wait to watch this Patriots offense in action in the regular season either.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.