Globe Staff | By Michael Whitmer
November 9, order pletal 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, order pletal signed to a three-year, order pletal $12 million deal in the offseason, order pletal began his Patriots career with a bang: five catches in Week 1, order pletal eight the next week, order pletal then a season-high nine (for a season-high 108 yards) the week after that.
Save for a six-catch, order pletal 80-yard game at Seattle, order pletal Lloyd’s numbers have dipped a bit since those first three weeks. Order pletal He’s been held to three receptions or fewer in four of the Patriots’ last five games, order pletal including a single 6-yard grab in the overtime win against the Jets on Oct. Order pletal 21.
His most recent game — the 45-7 victory over the Rams in London — saw Lloyd catch just two passes. Order pletal Both, order pletal though, order pletal went for touchdowns, order pletal 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, order pletal can Lloyd carry over that momentum of getting into the end zone?
“It was two catches, order pletal” he said.
True, order pletal but both went for touchdowns. Order pletal Won’t that help his confidence?
“It was two catches, order pletal two touchdowns, order pletal” Lloyd said. Order pletal “We still have a lot of work to do.”
Lloyd has made it his goal of establishing good chemistry with quarterback Tom Brady, order pletal but knew it wouldn’t happen overnight. Order pletal Halfway into his first season, order pletal it remains very much a work in progress.
For Lloyd, order pletal and for Brady.
“I think I said earlier, order pletal in the spring, order pletal that I don’t think this year we’ll be at a point where we’re like, order pletal ‘All right, order pletal we got it, order pletal’ because we still have so much work to do, order pletal” Lloyd said. Order pletal “We’re working hard to improve on that, order pletal week by week and day by day, order pletal but it’s a group effort, order pletal and that’s what we’re moving forward with.”
Said Brady: “I hope it keeps getting better. Order pletal We just keep working at it, order pletal 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. Order pletal We’re always trying to make those improvements. Order pletal 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, order pletal Lloyd is on pace to challenge his career high of 77 catches, order pletal which came two seasons ago with the Broncos when he piled up a career-best 1, order pletal448 yards. Order pletal That number appears safe, order pletal barring an exceptional second half, order pletal but Lloyd can become a dangerous complementary piece, order pletal 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. Order pletal It could be a different standout every week, order pletal either from a pass catcher or running back Stevan Ridley.
“The teams that I’ve been on, order pletal regardless how talented that I’ve been compared to other pass catchers, order pletal I’ve never been declared a No. Order pletal 1 target, order pletal like a Larry Fitzgerald or a Calvin Johnson, order pletal where it’s clear, order pletal” said Lloyd, order pletal who is in his 10th season, order pletal but is already on his sixth organization. Order pletal “Coming to a team like this, order pletal it’s natural for me, order pletal to make sure that the chemistry between me and Tom is there so when he needs me as an option, order pletal I’ll be available for him. Order pletal They want me to be open, order pletal and they want me to catch the ball.”
Targeted 69 times this season, order pletal Brady and Lloyd are missing almost as often as they’re connecting. Order pletal What felt forced early in the season is now a normal part of the offense: Lloyd, order pletal working mostly on the outside, order pletal 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, order pletal when Lloyd appeared to leap over a Smart Car moving at 35 miles an hour. Order pletal Impressive, order pletal but Patriots fans would prefer to see him soaring into end zones in the second half of the season, order pletal when championships are decided and playoff posturing begins.
“It seems like the games are a lot bigger, order pletal they mean more, order pletal they’re more important coming into the second half of the season, order pletal coming into November and December, order pletal” Lloyd said. Order pletal “Things are starting to shake out in the conferences and the divisions, order pletal so you have stuff you can look forward to, order pletal stuff that you can improve on.”
Michael Whitmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Order pletal Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.