Thursday, February 28, 2013

I Would Not Miss Brandon Lloyd

74 catches, 911 yards. 74 catches, 911 yards. 74 catches, 911 yards. All week, whenever Brandon Lloyd has been discussed, these figures were repeated. Over. And over. And over.

I'm not impressed. Not at all.

On the surface 74 catches and 911 yards seems productive. Especially compared to what Chad Ochocinco gave the Pats in 2011. However, other numbers tell a different story about Brandon Lloyd's season. He was soft, unreliable, and not explosive at all. Numbers prove it.

Before I delve into those numbers, how many catches and yards would Lloyd have had if Hernandez, Gronkowski, and Edelman been healthy all season? I'd say 55 catches and 650 yards would be fair. So that 74-911 is partially due to Brady's other options missing time.

Brandon Lloyd was 2nd on this team with 74 receptions. But was 5th in Yards After the Catch (YAC). With only 180 YAC from 74 receptions, that works out to be an average of 2.43 yards after the catch per reception. That's abysmal. Especially for a so-called "outside the numbers" receiver. Lloyd fell to the ground quickly and skedaddled out of bounds at the first sign of trouble. He was soft.

As a team, the Patriots had over 2,000 total YAC. Lloyd's contribution to that was a measly 8.9%. Lloyd's 2.43 YAC per Reception was the worst among Patriots with 20+ catches. Danny Woodhead was the best in that category with 6.55, followed by Julian Edelman at 6.48, then Rob Gronkowski at 5.55, Wes Welker at 5.25, and Aaron Hernandez at 3.82. All but Hernandez doubled Lloyd's production after the catch.

Another stat demonstrates Lloyd's inconsistency and unreliability. All season long, he made absurdly difficult catches, but struggled with the easy ones. He was targeted 130 times (only Welker was targeted more at 174) and managed to catch the ball 74 times. That's 56.9%. And that's for a guy who spends most of his time on the outside, not in the clustered middle of the field. 56 times this season, Brady threw the ball in his direction and Lloyd didn't catch it.

Welker caught 67.8% of his targets, Gronkowski 70%, Hernandez 61%, Woodhead 73%, Edelman 66%. Whenever Lloyd was on the field, he was Brady's least reliable target.

Lloyd was inconsistent from play to play, and was also inconsistent from week to week. He only had four games with 80+ yards. And only eight games with 50+ yards.

Finally, Lloyd was not explosive at all. He had 10 catches of 20 yards or more. So 64 of his receptions were for 19 or less. In the NFL last season, 55 players had 10+ catches of 20+ yards, so his 10 aren't stunning (especially considering his 130 targets). Lloyd only had 2 catches of 30+ yards. He averaged 12.3 yards per catch, which was a career low.

He did catch 50 first downs, which was 2nd only behind Welker's 74. Then again, the Pats had 256 receiving first downs, so his contribution was less than a fifth. And the Patriots ran for 151 more first downs (407 total), so his contribution is more like an eighth (12.3%).

I'm not arguing that Lloyd is a problem and needs to go. He was kind of productive, in his own way. But, he was also soft, limited, not explosive, inconsistent, unreliable.

Replacing Lloyd's 74 catches and 911 receptions might prove difficult. But getting more meaningful production from someone else won't be hard at all.

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