NEPD Editor: James Christensen
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots offense have lacked a true threat on the outside since they shipped Randy Moss to the Vikings in 2010 and arguably before that.
Has Brandon Lloyd proven already during training camp that he will be the player to change that?
A NEW HOPE
Tom Brady only completed 31% (23 of 73) of his passes that traveled over 20 yards in the air last year. Slot receivers like Wes Welker (5/12) and tight ends like Rob Gronkowski (7/16) and Aaron Hernandez (5/12) were respectable targets down the field, but outside receivers like Deion Branch (2/11), Matthew Slater (1/4) and Chad Johnson (4/12) really struggled.
Over the past two years, Lloyd has caught 30 balls past the 20 yard mark – and that is playing with Kyle Orton, Sam Bradford, A.J.
Feeley and Kellen Clemens in 2011 – names that don’t quite have the same ring as Tom Brady.
Brandon Lloyd, who has been described as having some of the best hands ever seen in New England, is poised to change that. NEPD Editor Mike Loyko said in last night’s podcast that “the ball makes a different sound when Lloyd catches it.” With Lloyd having experience in Josh McDaniels’ offense, it seems like he has hit the ground running, unlike Chad Johnson.
Here are just a few remarks from our staff covering Patriots training camp:
“Brandon Lloyd continues to dazzle. He catches everything that is thrown to him and has been tough to cover one on one. The Brady to Lloyd combination torched Steve Gregory and Kyle Arrington two specific occasions today. Gregory bit on a play fake and Brady went over the top to Lloyd for a 60 yard touchdown strike.” (Training Camp, Day Four)
“I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but Brandon Lloyd is continuing to “wow” people in attendance. He made the one of the plays of camp to date with a spectacular catch over Sterling Moore who had very good coverage. Lloyd showed off his body control and hands in tight coverage. His rapport with QB Tom Brady is already light years ahead of were Ochocinco was at any point last season.” (Training Camp, Day Three)
Because the Patriots have an embarrassment of riches on offense and Brady is so good at spreading the ball around, I don’t expect Lloyd to have more than 50-60 catches. However, I expect Lloyd’s presence to have a positive impact on the entire offense, providing a true vertical stretch to open things up underneath.