With Brandon Marshall taking his talents to South Beach in the offseason, it gave a different Brandon the chance to step up as the Broncos’ No. 1 receiver.
Brandon Lloyd is currently 2nd in the league in receiving yards, sandwiched between Roddy White and Reggie Wayne. While his talents have never been questioned, his breakout season in his 8th year in the league comes as a bit of a shock to opposing coaches, defenses, and yes, fantasy owners.
Lloyd has been a journeyman, playing for the 49ers, the Redskins, the Bears, and now the Broncos. Just last season, he had just 8 catches for 117 yards in two games. Through fifteen games this season, he has 67 catches for 1,264 yards, and 10 touchdowns.
He credits his rise in production to the system that he’s in.
I had the chance to speak with Lloyd at a FedEx Pack and Ship with the Pros event in Denver. Lloyd was there to lend a helping hand as local customers came down to the FedEx office to ship their Christmas packages.
“I didn’t change anything,” Lloyd said Tuesday morning of his increase in production. “I think it was just the right system, and the right offensive coordinator who believed in my ability to throw me the ball. Also, the right quarterback who believed in my ability to pick me out of all the receivers out there on the field to throw the ball to.”
It turns out that the relationship between a quarterback and his receiver needs to be strong and rooted for any kind of success to be seen on the football field.
“Jeff Garcia told me in my rookie year when he was getting into it with T.O. He says, ‘I choose who I throw the ball to. It’s my decision.’ That’s something that I always carried with me my entire career,” Lloyd said.
So far this season, Lloyd has had the chance to work closely with both Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow. He said that both quarterbacks bring a tremendous amount of poise and confidence into their leadership roles, but Tebow has a certain fire in the belly, if you will.
“What Tim brings to the huddle is he’s going to execute the play,” Lloyd said. “You look at him in the huddle and you just know he’s going to do extra to make sure the play’s successful. You have a lot of respect for that as a player in the huddle with him because you know if the play breaks down, he can take off, he can scramble, and then we can block downfield. It brings another level of excitement to playing.”
Lloyd’s achievements on the field this season come despite playing against the best corners in the league. Everyone has tried to come up with a way to stop him, but he’s risen to the level of a Pro Bowl caliber receiver, and made big catches in tight coverage against the best in the league.
Considering he’s gone up against Nnamdi Asomugha (twice), Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Champ Bailey in practice on a daily basis, his answer as to who the best shutdown corner in the league comes as no surprise.
“I feel Champ is the best because Champ operates with little to no safety help. There isn’t a double team at all,” Lloyd said. “The Broncos’ defense is a man defense. They blitz a lot, they rush, and he’s out there, literally on the island. I have so much respect for Champ and him being able to do that.”
To give credit to another great shutdown corner, Lloyd selected a divisional rival.
“My next pick would be Nnamdi because I compare him to Al Harris. He’s tall, he’s long, he’s quick, and he’s physical. He brings a lot of tools to the table and then he adds in his knowledge of the game. He plays splits, he plays tendencies. As a receiver, you’re just hoping that the coaches are going to put you in the right situation because he knows what he’s doing,” Lloyd said.
With all of the attention that Lloyd has received throughout this season, it would be easy to get caught up in the lights, cameras, and action, but he tries to remain grounded, particularly this time of year. Forget the cars, the second homes, and the expensive bottles of champagne.
“I need a toiletry set for Christmas. Some really nice fingernail clippers, some toenail clippers, nail files, some products like that,” Lloyd said.
Would you expect anything else from the NFL journeyman?
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