McDaniels: Several reasons for Lloyd's lack of production

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McDaniels: Several reasons for Lloyd's lack of production

Brandon Lloyd was targeted once on Sunday in Miami. He made a 10-yard catch along the left sideline, diving out of bounds and keeping his lower body in bounds to make sure it was a completion.

It moved the Patriots down to Miami's 18-yard line in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, and gave them a first down on a drive that ended up being the difference-maker in Sunday's win over the Dolphins.

So, while it was only one catch, it was a big one.

Still, only one target -- and that target not coming until late in the fourth -- will raise eyebrows. But Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels tried to explain the situation in a conference call on Monday, defending Lloyd and calling his production against Miami a function of what the defense was giving them.

"I think that's really a function of a lot of things," said McDaniels, when asked about Lloyd. "Brandon certainly played hard and has played hard all year. There's been games where we've targeted him a lot. And then there's been other games where, based on the way somebody may play us, we target him less, and the ball goes somewhere else.

"So I think Brandon should just keep doing his job, and trying to execute his assignments well. We've never been a team that likes to force the ball to one person or another, although it may seem like that at times, because certain players get targeted more in certain games, but really, the biggest emphasis point we try to make to our group, is to try to find the guy who's open, or who the defense doesn't take away and give them the football. And Tom usually does a good job of that. Yesterday, Lloyd certainly didn't have a lot of action in the passing game, but hopefully that will change, or could change based on the way we get defended.

"He's done a good job of running good routes and getting open, and being available when his opportunities present themselves," added McDaniels. "And he'll continue to do that that, I know him. And hopefully we call things that give him an opportunity to get the ball. When that's really when we should go with it, hopefully Tom finds him, and we connect."

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Chris Sale brings with him to Boston some attitude. He also brings a measure of defiance and, perhaps, a little bit of crazy.

All of which the Red Sox starting staff just may need. And if Sale pitches as he has for much of the past five years, he'll probably be celebrated for it.

I still wonder how it will all play here, especially if he underachieves.

What would we do to him locally if he refused to pitch because he didn't like a certain kind of uniform variation the team was going with? What would we say if he not only refused to pitch, but took a knife to his teammates' uniforms and the team had to scrap the promotion? Sale did exactly that in Chicago last year, after which he threw his manager under the bus for not standing by his players and attacked the team for putting business ahead of winning.

All because he didn't want to wear an untucked jersey?

"(The White Sox throwback uniforms) are uncomfortable and unorthodox,'' said Sale at the time. "I didn't want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in. Not only that, but I didn't want anything to alter my mechanics. ... There's a lot of different things that went into it.''

Wearing a throwback jersey would alter his mechanics? Was that a joke? It's hard to imagine he would get away with that in Boston.

Ditto for his support of Adam LaRoche and his involvement of that goofy story last March.
 
LaRoche, you'll remember, retired when the White Sox had the nerve to tell him that his 14-year-old son could not spend as much time around the team as he had grown accustomed to. Sale responded by pitching a fit.

“We got bald-face lied to by someone we’re supposed to be able to trust,'' said Sale of team president Kenny Williams. ``You can’t come tell the players it was the coaches and then tell the coaches it was the players, and then come in and say something completely different. If we’re all here to win a championship, this kind of stuff doesn’t happen.”

On what planet does allowing a 14-year-old kid in a clubhouse have anything to do with winning a title? In what universe does a throwback jersey have anything to do with mechanics? If David Price had said things that stupid last year, he'd still be hearing about it. And it won't be any different for Sale.

Thankfully, Sale's defiance and feistiness extends to the mound. Sale isn't afraid to pitch inside and protect his teammates, leading the American League in hit batsmen each of the last two years. He doesn't back down and loves a fight. And while that makes him sound a little goofy off the field, it should play well on it.

In the meantime, the Sox better hope he likes those red alternate jerseys they wear on Fridays.

E-mail Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m. on 98.5 FM. The simulcast appears daily on CSN.