Lloyd succinct when asked about learning curve


Lloyd succinct when asked about learning curve

FOXBORO -- The shortest answers from Brandon Lloyd were his most telling.

Speaking with media after a Patriots OTA practice Thursday morning, the team's most intriguing free agent acquisition was asked if he'll have difficulty picking up the Patriots offensive system.

"No," said Lloyd, letting eye contact linger and his two-letter answer hang in the air.

Later, when asked if he'd ever been on a team with so many weapons on it, Lloyd was again succinct.


The often loquacious Lloyd could have emptied a bag of words to answer both questions, but his brevity is appreciated.

Especially in the wake of listening to Chad Ochocinco's bleatings last year about how hard the offense was, the time it took to get it down and how close he was to playing freely and without thinking.

Because although the Patriots offensive arsenal is loaded, the fact Lloyd gets the offense and brings a skill set that was missing from the 2011 Patriots makes New England better now -- on paper -- than it was last year.

Lloyd's experience working with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in 2010 and 2011 makes his transition simple on the Xs and Os end. It's the other elements of getting acclimated that will be a process.

"(I'm) plugging away," said Lloyd. "Getting into the OTAs and understanding the process and the way the plays are called and run and the execution of the workouts and the scheduling. It's been a change and I'm excited to see how everything works out."

Asked about Tom Brady, Lloyd said he's learned that, "He's good. He's good from far away and he's good up close."

And the differences he's seeing in the team-wide atmosphere?

"The coaching, the way that the message is delivered and the way that the coaches coach and the players all fall in line," said Lloyd. "Its been a good experience so far."

With the Patriots' first preseason game looming less than 90 days away, the urgency to figure out the receiving pecking order is on.

Yeah, not really. This whole thing will take time to sort itself out. And despite the fact there are a bunch of names people recognize -- Stallworth, Gaffney, Ochocinco among them -- those players need to create their roles on this team.

"There are a lot of talented pass catchers not only that are on this team and played last year but that are new to the team and were successful at previous stops," said Lloyd. "Theres a lot of talent there."

Even though it's early, Lloyd said, the anticipation and excitement in the group of targets is there.

"Everybody has been communicating and excited. However this pans out, however the lineup falls, its going to be a talented group of players."

Enough said.

Not a lot of talk about Cannon this season, and that's a good thing for Patriots


Not a lot of talk about Cannon this season, and that's a good thing for Patriots

Marcus Cannon has had his run as a piñata. The Patriots offensive lineman is a frequent target when things go wrong up front and, usually, he’s deserved it.

A bit of anecdotal evidence? 

Sunday, I tweeted that every time I watched Cannon, he was making another good play.

On cue, about 10 tweets came back at me with variations of “Keep watching him!”

I asked Bill Belichick if he agreed with the layman’s assessment that Cannon’s playing well.

“I think Marcus [Cannon] has done a good job for us for quite a while,” Belichick began. “I mean he’s stepped in for Sebastian [Vollmer] and then last year when Nate [Solder] was out [and he substituted] for Nate. He has played a lot of good football for us.

“We extended our agreement with him off of his rookie contract which I think speaks to the fact that we want him on the team and we like what he’s doing and so forth and he’s continued to I’d say show with his performance [that he has] validated the confidence that we have in him.”

Cannon’s ending to 2015 – a poor performance (along with the rest of the line) against the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game was followed by a performance against the Cardinals that was marred by late-game holding calls.

But with Sebastian Vollmer injured (and still injured) it was sink or swim with Cannon which had plenty of people rolling their eyes.

But – as I said – every time I see Cannon, he’s either holding off a defensive end in pass protection, steamrolling downfield in the running game or making really athletic second-level or cut blocks in the screen game.

“Like every player, as they gain more experience they do get better,” said Belichick. “I think our offensive line’s certainly improved over the course of the year and playing with more consistency than we did last year. But there’s always room for improvement and the continuity that we’ve had there since (right guard) Shaq [Mason] has gotten in the last few weeks – we had Shaq over on the right side a little bit at the end of the season last year and then this year most all of the year except when Shaq was out for a few weeks there at the end of training camp and the start of the season – but our overall consistency and communication on the offensive line has been better because we’ve had more continuity there so that helps everybody.”

It can’t hurt that the lineman whisperer, Dante Scranecchia, has returned to coach the group. Cannon’s conditioning and physique looks better. He just appears more athletic and explosive. And he’s seemed more relaxed in the limited time the media’s in the locker room.

All off that added up equals nobody really talking about Marcus Cannon.
“Like any lineman, the less you call his name probably the better he’s doing,” said Belichick. “It’s probably a good thing when you guys don’t talk about him. Then that probably means they’re not doing something too noticeably wrong, right?”