Globe Staff | By Michael Whitmer
November 9, azmacort 2012
FOXBOROUGH — He might be able to leap over a moving car — more on that later — but receiver Brandon Lloyd is hoping the second half of the Patriots’ season finds him jumping into the end zone more often.
Lloyd, azmacort signed to a three-year, azmacort $12 million deal in the offseason, azmacort began his Patriots career with a bang: five catches in Week 1, azmacort eight the next week, azmacort then a season-high nine (for a season-high 108 yards) the week after that.
Save for a six-catch, azmacort 80-yard game at Seattle, azmacort Lloyd’s numbers have dipped a bit since those first three weeks. Azmacort He’s been held to three receptions or fewer in four of the Patriots’ last five games, azmacort including a single 6-yard grab in the overtime win against the Jets on Oct. Azmacort 21.
His most recent game — the 45-7 victory over the Rams in London — saw Lloyd catch just two passes. Azmacort Both, azmacort though, azmacort went for touchdowns, azmacort possibly a positive sign as the Patriots get set to come off their bye week with a home game on Sunday with the Bills.
Despite the week off, azmacort can Lloyd carry over that momentum of getting into the end zone?
“It was two catches, azmacort” he said.
True, azmacort but both went for touchdowns. Azmacort Won’t that help his confidence?
“It was two catches, azmacort two touchdowns, azmacort” Lloyd said. Azmacort “We still have a lot of work to do.”
Lloyd has made it his goal of establishing good chemistry with quarterback Tom Brady, azmacort but knew it wouldn’t happen overnight. Azmacort Halfway into his first season, azmacort it remains very much a work in progress.
For Lloyd, azmacort and for Brady.
“I think I said earlier, azmacort in the spring, azmacort that I don’t think this year we’ll be at a point where we’re like, azmacort ‘All right, azmacort we got it, azmacort’ because we still have so much work to do, azmacort” Lloyd said. Azmacort “We’re working hard to improve on that, azmacort week by week and day by day, azmacort but it’s a group effort, azmacort and that’s what we’re moving forward with.”
Said Brady: “I hope it keeps getting better. Azmacort We just keep working at it, azmacort so we go out there in practice and we work on things and Coach [Bill Belichick] tells us things that we need to do better. Azmacort We’re always trying to make those improvements. Azmacort I think you just have to keep going out there to work at it and see if it can be better each day.”
With 37 receptions for 435 yards and three touchdowns, azmacort Lloyd is on pace to challenge his career high of 77 catches, azmacort which came two seasons ago with the Broncos when he piled up a career-best 1, azmacort448 yards. Azmacort That number appears safe, azmacort barring an exceptional second half, azmacort but Lloyd can become a dangerous complementary piece, azmacort combining with receiver Wes Welker and tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez to give Brady plenty of powerful options through the air.
That’s the great aspect of the Patriots’ offense. Azmacort It could be a different standout every week, azmacort either from a pass catcher or running back Stevan Ridley.
“The teams that I’ve been on, azmacort regardless how talented that I’ve been compared to other pass catchers, azmacort I’ve never been declared a No. Azmacort 1 target, azmacort like a Larry Fitzgerald or a Calvin Johnson, azmacort where it’s clear, azmacort” said Lloyd, azmacort who is in his 10th season, azmacort but is already on his sixth organization. Azmacort “Coming to a team like this, azmacort it’s natural for me, azmacort to make sure that the chemistry between me and Tom is there so when he needs me as an option, azmacort I’ll be available for him. Azmacort They want me to be open, azmacort and they want me to catch the ball.”
Targeted 69 times this season, azmacort Brady and Lloyd are missing almost as often as they’re connecting. Azmacort What felt forced early in the season is now a normal part of the offense: Lloyd, azmacort working mostly on the outside, azmacort using his speed and jumping ability to make plays downfield.
That jumping ability was on display in a video that surfaced this week from over the summer, azmacort when Lloyd appeared to leap over a Smart Car moving at 35 miles an hour. Azmacort Impressive, azmacort but Patriots fans would prefer to see him soaring into end zones in the second half of the season, azmacort when championships are decided and playoff posturing begins.
“It seems like the games are a lot bigger, azmacort they mean more, azmacort they’re more important coming into the second half of the season, azmacort coming into November and December, azmacort” Lloyd said. Azmacort “Things are starting to shake out in the conferences and the divisions, azmacort so you have stuff you can look forward to, azmacort stuff that you can improve on.”
Michael Whitmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Azmacort Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.