An interesting write-up on WR Brandon Lloyd
McDaniels influence may make Lloyd a good catch
By Greg A. Bedard
Globe Staff / March 11, 2012
Considering the praise Brandon Lloyd heaped on the Patriots in numerous interviews late last week, we wouldn’t be surprised if, when free agency opened at 4 p.m. Tuesday, the receiver reenacted John Cusack’s famous scene from the movie “Say Anything’’ in the Gillette Stadium parking lot.
Boombox overhead with “In Your Eyes’’ playing.
It was that bad. And he probably decreased any offer the Patriots might be formulating.
But will the marriage be consummated? Should it?
You would think a Lloyd-Patriots marriage makes too much sense for it not to happen.
The Patriots, according to league sources, want to improve their receiving crop in free agency, and possibly the draft. There are plenty of options in free agency: Vincent Jackson, Mike Wallace (restricted), Marques Colston, Mario Manningham, Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Braylon Edwards, and Robert Meachem, among others.
The Patriots’ passing system is complex, and not everyone can grasp it (see: Ochocinco, Chad). Lloyd can and has. He has been in the system with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels with both the Broncos and Rams.
And even though Lloyd will be 31 July 5, he has proven to be productive in the system. He had 70 catches for 966 yards and five touchdowns last season between the Broncos and Rams - when both teams were bad. And he was second-team All-Pro with the Broncos and McDaniels in 2010 after catching 77 passes for 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Then there are his physical tools. Lloyd is not a burner - he’s a long-strider who is deceptively fast to defensive backs - but few are better in the air.
“He’s extremely talented,’’ said a Broncos source. “He has the best body control and hands of any receiver I’ve ever seen from the standpoint of just making the craziest catch. He does it so much that he makes those crazy catches look normal for him.
“He’s either going to come down with it, or knock it away from the [defensive back]. He makes contested catches over people because he can elevate and make catches in the crowd, make catches when the [defensive backs] are right there, make one-handed catches on balls that are thrown behind him. His body control is just ridiculous.’’
And with that, Patriots fans are ordering Lloyd jerseys online.
Perhaps they should. Throw in the fact that Lloyd, the son of two teachers, is highly intelligent and well-spoken, and he seems too good to be true.
And then you look at his career transactions.
Despite posting 160 catches for 2,583 yards and 21 touchdowns in three seasons at the University of Illinois and turning pro one year early, Lloyd was drafted in the fourth round in 2003.
The ***** traded him for a third- and fourth-round pick to the Redskins, who gave Lloyd a six-year contract worth $30 million. After two seasons, coach Joe Gibbs released Lloyd.
The Bears signed him to just a one-year contract in 2008, and he was not re-signed after being injured for much of the season. He was a healthy scratch at one point for a team that had no receivers.
After his All-Pro-type season, the Broncos traded Lloyd to the Rams for only a conditional sixth-round pick (it turned into a selection in the fifth round).
The Rams haven’t been very aggressive in re-signing Lloyd, so he’ll likely land with his sixth team in nine seasons.
That doesn’t happen for no reason.
The book on Lloyd, according to several league sources at his various stops, is that he can be moody and surly, depending on the day, and a bit selfish. You won’t find many teammates who have good things to say about him.
But others have said that when Lloyd is on the practice field or in games, he is fine and can be managed.
Not everyone agrees.
“I know you’ve heard he was good in the building, but he wasn’t necessarily an angel in the building,’’ said the Broncos source. “He wasn’t a good teammate. During games, he was asking the stat person to see how many catches and yards he had at that point in the game when [Kyle] Orton was starting.
“He has that locker room lawyer-type in him. Publicly he’ll say all the right things, but in the locker room he’ll voice his opinion.
“He’s extremely intelligent. Very articulate, very well-read, but there were times when people in the building thought he may be bipolar - and not joking - because he has days where he’s up and ready to go and happy-go-lucky and he’s like, ‘Hey, what’s up? How’s it going?’
“And then there were other days when he was surly and moody, and you just know it’s not a good day to approach him.
“He’s kind of a different cat, I’ll say that.’’
In many ways, Lloyd sounds similar to Albert Haynesworth - without the off-field incidents or the label of a quitter, though the *****, Redskins, and Bears weren’t always thrilled with Lloyd’s work ethic.
But the Denver source also believes that if there is any person who can get Lloyd to play at his best, and be on his best behavior, it’s McDaniels. He’s like the Lloyd Whisperer.
“When Josh was there, I think what you said was true: Inside the building, he was great, this and that,’’ the source said. “He may have been up and down personality-wise outside the building, but inside the building, he was relatively quiet.
“But I think a lot of that had to do with him getting the ball. He wasn’t shy about telling Orton, ‘Give me the damn ball,’ or a look. I don’t think Tom Brady is going to put up with that. Tom Brady is going to be like, ‘Just shut up. I pass it to the open guy. If you’re open, I’ll get it to you.’ I don’t know how he would react to that. Kyle never did that.
“He has an affinity for Josh because Josh had faith in him to give him the chance to start, and when he started, he used him. He made him a very focal point of the offense and I think he respected that, and Josh respected the fact that when his number was called, he made plays.
“With Josh there, they do have a special relationship, and I know Brandon respects the heck out of him. That might be the equalizer that controls all the negative stuff.’’
With McDaniels on board, it would be a much safer play for the Patriots to sign Lloyd. Given Lloyd’s track record around the league, there doesn’t figure to be a huge market for him. And given his ability, he seems like a fit with the Patriots, who figure to give themselves protection the way they did with Haynesworth.
Re: An interesting write-up on WR Brandon Lloyd
All the issues identified in the article aside, I'm not wild about re-signing Lloyd (absent a bargain price) simply because he's a bit old for a team that is building for the long-term.
Re: An interesting write-up on WR Brandon Lloyd
Well that certainly explains why he's played for so many different teams, because his talent is undeniable.