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Whenever the thought of wide receiver Brandon Lloyd enters my mind, I can actually hear my brain screaming for me to stop before something explodes and ends up liquefying all that soft space in between my ears. There’s really no other way to put it.
All I have to do is take one look at those 2010 numbers, and my whole body shuts down like I’ve been unplugged from the Matrix or something.
Despite the stampede of horses trouncing through my skull, I cannot bring myself to ignore this phenomenon because whether my brain can handle it or not, the truth is that what Brandon Lloyd did in 2010 really did happen. All I can do at this point is try to understand it and explain it the best I can.
The way I see it, there are three different ways you can describe Brandon Lloyd’s 2010 season.
1) Total fluke
What Brandon accomplished in his eighth NFL season was much like Brady Anderson (a baseball player) hitting 50 home runs in his ninth season: a fluke. He never hit more than 24 in any of his other 14 major-league seasons, and whether it was because the stars were in alignment, or a crow crapped on his shoulder, or because he sold his soul to the devil, a year like the one Lloyd just had in 2010 will never happen again.
2) Right place at the right time
Lloyd has always had the skills to play in the NFL, but until last year, he had never found the right place and/or system to excel within.
His first three seasons (2003-05) were spent with the 49ers, a team that at the time did not pass the ball, was clearly on the decline and was desperately in search of a new identity. No luck there.
The next two years (2006-07) were spent in Washington, where he found himself either perpetually on coach Joe Gibbs' $h!#-list or mired on the Redskins' injury list.
In 2008, Lloyd would find himself in Siberia...I mean Chicago, a place where we all know receivers go to die. ‘Nuff said.
In 2009, after Kyle Orton was traded to Denver for Jay Cutler, Orton lobbied for the Broncos to sign his favorite Chicago WR, Brandon Lloyd. They did, and though he would play just two games his first year in Denver, the team re-signed him with the plan of having him line up in Brandon Marshall’s recently vacated spot. Cha-ching!!!
In Josh McDaniels' pass-heavy system, Lloyd was finally given the opportunity to show off his talents, which is exactly what he did.
3) Lloyd Is the Real Deal
Sure, Brandon was lucky enough to be thrown into an offensive system that might have seen anyone who had a smidgen of talent succeed. But to throw up the type of numbers he did? Well, that takes someone truly special. Even Brandon “The Beast” Marshall never put up 11 TDs for the Broncos, plus he never found himself within 100 yards of the 1,448 that Lloyd hauled in.
Basically, now that he’s arrived and had a taste of what it’s like to use his gifts, he’s here to stay no matter what kind of system he ends up in.
So which of these scenarios is it?
All three of them sound completely plausible, and though it would be easy to say that 2011 will undoubtedly answer the question for us, I’ll put my two cents in anyhow.
After watching Lloyd play more than just a few games last year, I am of the belief that this kid is for real. Some of the catches he made were so insanely ridiculous that even the best of the best would have had trouble coming up with them. Whether McDaniels’ system is genius or not, it can’t pull down receptions for the players, produce quickness or provide stick’um for their hands. Lloyd did what he did no matter who was covering him or who was lined up under center (Orton or Tim Tebow).
Can he repeat his 2010 performance of 77 catches, 1,448 yards, 11 TDs and the most WR fantasy points (209.0) in the league? I doubt it, especially with John Fox as his head coach instead of Josh McDaniels. But even if he only comes close to those numbers, he would still be amongst the upper echelon of fantasy wide receivers in 2011.
If all the normal big names are gone in your draft and you’re still in search of a No. 1 receiver, go ahead and take a chance on Lloyd.
Sometimes lightning really does strike twice.
2011 Pros & Cons
(+) Led the league in both WR fantasy points (209.0) and receiving yards (1,448) last season
(+) Brandon was able to put up numbers whether it was Kyle Orton or Tim Tebow under center
(+) Averaged 18.8 yards per catch, good for sixth in the league
(+) Though neither tall (6’0”), big (194 lbs.) nor fast (4.61 40-yard dash), Lloyd was still able to come up with all the tough catches in 2010
(+) Was one of only 10 wide receivers to haul in double-digit TDs in 2010
(–) Lloyd only caught half his targets last season (77 catches, 153 targets)
(–) Head coach Josh McDaniels and his pass-happy offense are gone; defensive-minded and run-happy John Fox replaces him
(–) After putting up just 164 catches for 2,370 yards and 15 touchdowns with four different teams over his first seven seasons, Lloyd is the quintessential candidate to be a “one-hit wonder”
For the rest of Brandon Lloyd's Player Profile, CLICK HERE
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