Globe Staff | By Michael Whitmer
November 9, zegerid 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, zegerid signed to a three-year, zegerid $12 million deal in the offseason, zegerid began his Patriots career with a bang: five catches in Week 1, zegerid eight the next week, zegerid then a season-high nine (for a season-high 108 yards) the week after that.
Save for a six-catch, zegerid 80-yard game at Seattle, zegerid Lloyd’s numbers have dipped a bit since those first three weeks. Zegerid He’s been held to three receptions or fewer in four of the Patriots’ last five games, zegerid including a single 6-yard grab in the overtime win against the Jets on Oct. Zegerid 21.
His most recent game — the 45-7 victory over the Rams in London — saw Lloyd catch just two passes. Zegerid Both, zegerid though, zegerid went for touchdowns, zegerid 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, zegerid can Lloyd carry over that momentum of getting into the end zone?
“It was two catches, zegerid” he said.
True, zegerid but both went for touchdowns. Zegerid Won’t that help his confidence?
“It was two catches, zegerid two touchdowns, zegerid” Lloyd said. Zegerid “We still have a lot of work to do.”
Lloyd has made it his goal of establishing good chemistry with quarterback Tom Brady, zegerid but knew it wouldn’t happen overnight. Zegerid Halfway into his first season, zegerid it remains very much a work in progress.
For Lloyd, zegerid and for Brady.
“I think I said earlier, zegerid in the spring, zegerid that I don’t think this year we’ll be at a point where we’re like, zegerid ‘All right, zegerid we got it, zegerid’ because we still have so much work to do, zegerid” Lloyd said. Zegerid “We’re working hard to improve on that, zegerid week by week and day by day, zegerid but it’s a group effort, zegerid and that’s what we’re moving forward with.”
Said Brady: “I hope it keeps getting better. Zegerid We just keep working at it, zegerid 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. Zegerid We’re always trying to make those improvements. Zegerid 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, zegerid Lloyd is on pace to challenge his career high of 77 catches, zegerid which came two seasons ago with the Broncos when he piled up a career-best 1, zegerid448 yards. Zegerid That number appears safe, zegerid barring an exceptional second half, zegerid but Lloyd can become a dangerous complementary piece, zegerid 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. Zegerid It could be a different standout every week, zegerid either from a pass catcher or running back Stevan Ridley.
“The teams that I’ve been on, zegerid regardless how talented that I’ve been compared to other pass catchers, zegerid I’ve never been declared a No. Zegerid 1 target, zegerid like a Larry Fitzgerald or a Calvin Johnson, zegerid where it’s clear, zegerid” said Lloyd, zegerid who is in his 10th season, zegerid but is already on his sixth organization. Zegerid “Coming to a team like this, zegerid it’s natural for me, zegerid to make sure that the chemistry between me and Tom is there so when he needs me as an option, zegerid I’ll be available for him. Zegerid They want me to be open, zegerid and they want me to catch the ball.”
Targeted 69 times this season, zegerid Brady and Lloyd are missing almost as often as they’re connecting. Zegerid What felt forced early in the season is now a normal part of the offense: Lloyd, zegerid working mostly on the outside, zegerid 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, zegerid when Lloyd appeared to leap over a Smart Car moving at 35 miles an hour. Zegerid Impressive, zegerid but Patriots fans would prefer to see him soaring into end zones in the second half of the season, zegerid when championships are decided and playoff posturing begins.
“It seems like the games are a lot bigger, zegerid they mean more, zegerid they’re more important coming into the second half of the season, zegerid coming into November and December, zegerid” Lloyd said. Zegerid “Things are starting to shake out in the conferences and the divisions, zegerid so you have stuff you can look forward to, zegerid stuff that you can improve on.”
Michael Whitmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Zegerid Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.