Globe Staff | By Michael Whitmer
November 9, free simplicef 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, free simplicef signed to a three-year, free simplicef $12 million deal in the offseason, free simplicef began his Patriots career with a bang: five catches in Week 1, free simplicef eight the next week, free simplicef then a season-high nine (for a season-high 108 yards) the week after that.
Save for a six-catch, free simplicef 80-yard game at Seattle, free simplicef Lloyd’s numbers have dipped a bit since those first three weeks. Free simplicef He’s been held to three receptions or fewer in four of the Patriots’ last five games, free simplicef including a single 6-yard grab in the overtime win against the Jets on Oct. Free simplicef 21.
His most recent game — the 45-7 victory over the Rams in London — saw Lloyd catch just two passes. Free simplicef Both, free simplicef though, free simplicef went for touchdowns, free simplicef 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, free simplicef can Lloyd carry over that momentum of getting into the end zone?
“It was two catches, free simplicef” he said.
True, free simplicef but both went for touchdowns. Free simplicef Won’t that help his confidence?
“It was two catches, free simplicef two touchdowns, free simplicef” Lloyd said. Free simplicef “We still have a lot of work to do.”
Lloyd has made it his goal of establishing good chemistry with quarterback Tom Brady, free simplicef but knew it wouldn’t happen overnight. Free simplicef Halfway into his first season, free simplicef it remains very much a work in progress.
For Lloyd, free simplicef and for Brady.
“I think I said earlier, free simplicef in the spring, free simplicef that I don’t think this year we’ll be at a point where we’re like, free simplicef ‘All right, free simplicef we got it, free simplicef’ because we still have so much work to do, free simplicef” Lloyd said. Free simplicef “We’re working hard to improve on that, free simplicef week by week and day by day, free simplicef but it’s a group effort, free simplicef and that’s what we’re moving forward with.”
Said Brady: “I hope it keeps getting better. Free simplicef We just keep working at it, free simplicef 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. Free simplicef We’re always trying to make those improvements. Free simplicef 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, free simplicef Lloyd is on pace to challenge his career high of 77 catches, free simplicef which came two seasons ago with the Broncos when he piled up a career-best 1, free simplicef448 yards. Free simplicef That number appears safe, free simplicef barring an exceptional second half, free simplicef but Lloyd can become a dangerous complementary piece, free simplicef 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. Free simplicef It could be a different standout every week, free simplicef either from a pass catcher or running back Stevan Ridley.
“The teams that I’ve been on, free simplicef regardless how talented that I’ve been compared to other pass catchers, free simplicef I’ve never been declared a No. Free simplicef 1 target, free simplicef like a Larry Fitzgerald or a Calvin Johnson, free simplicef where it’s clear, free simplicef” said Lloyd, free simplicef who is in his 10th season, free simplicef but is already on his sixth organization. Free simplicef “Coming to a team like this, free simplicef it’s natural for me, free simplicef to make sure that the chemistry between me and Tom is there so when he needs me as an option, free simplicef I’ll be available for him. Free simplicef They want me to be open, free simplicef and they want me to catch the ball.”
Targeted 69 times this season, free simplicef Brady and Lloyd are missing almost as often as they’re connecting. Free simplicef What felt forced early in the season is now a normal part of the offense: Lloyd, free simplicef working mostly on the outside, free simplicef 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, free simplicef when Lloyd appeared to leap over a Smart Car moving at 35 miles an hour. Free simplicef Impressive, free simplicef but Patriots fans would prefer to see him soaring into end zones in the second half of the season, free simplicef when championships are decided and playoff posturing begins.
“It seems like the games are a lot bigger, free simplicef they mean more, free simplicef they’re more important coming into the second half of the season, free simplicef coming into November and December, free simplicef” Lloyd said. Free simplicef “Things are starting to shake out in the conferences and the divisions, free simplicef so you have stuff you can look forward to, free simplicef stuff that you can improve on.”
Michael Whitmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Free simplicef Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.