Lloyd succinct when asked about learning curve

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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.

"No."

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.

Curran's Sunday 4-pack: So, what HAS Tom Brady been up to?

Curran's Sunday 4-pack: So, what HAS Tom Brady been up to?

Six days – four quarters of football – remain in Tom Brady’s four-game suspension.
 
The fact is the Patriots are 3-0 and have gotten a long – and enjoyable – look at their quarterback depth behind Brady. Brady, meanwhile, has gotten a chance to shave one-quarter off the season-long wear-and-tear he takes.
 
But highlighting silver linings and pointing out there’s not much sand left in the suspension hourglass is no real consolation. Said one team source Thursday night, “It’s never going to go away.”
 
What’s Brady been up to? Mixing family time and working out. He’s routinely spent four hours a day training, I’m told, presumably with his body coach Alex Guerrero at TB12 Sports Performance at Patriot Place. Also, aside from his Sunday session with Wes Welker, Brady’s been throwing to young college players at undisclosed locations, eschewing the opportunity to bring in some of the “name” former players who’ve reached out and offered their services.
 
Spotted in Italy with wife Gisele Bundchen last week, Brady’s also been back home in San Mateo visiting with his family.
 
Speaking to two people close to him, I was told he succeeded in making peace with the time off and avoiding the creep of too much bitterness. I was also told he’s unbelievably motivated to return at a high level and wants his transition back to be seamless in terms of performance and conditioning. That last part is, of course, to be expected. But it will be interesting to see how Brady does perform out of the gates after a month’s forced exile.
 
NINKOVICH RETURNS, TOO

The lesser of the two suspended prodigal sons set to return next week – Rob Ninkovich – is no doubt going to benefit physically from the quarter-season vacation as well. And the defensive ends who’ve performed well in his absence – Jabaal Sheard and especially Chris Long – will do well to have Ninkovich back in the mix. Mention should also be made of Trey Flowers who has shown up in opponent’s backfields on a weekly basis. It depends on what your personal cup of tea might be, but through three games, Long seems to me a much better defensive fit for this team than Chandler Jones. Jones was the more explosive pass-rusher but Long’s ability in the running game, and his play-in, play-out impact in applying pressure on the tackle in front of him makes it seem so far as if he’s an upgrade.
 
NEW DEALS AHEAD?
 
Still no word on which Patriot may be in line for a new deal since the team restructured Devin McCourty and freed up some cap space.

Donta Hightower, Malcolm Butler and Jamie Collins have been seen as the most likely targets for extensions and a redo of Hightower at this point would whittle down his $7M cap number and possibly allow another extension to be executed for either Collins or Butler, as our Phil Perry pointed out.  Jabaal Sheard, meanwhile, is the Patriot who flies under the radar when extension talk starts. He may be every bit as important to the success of the Patriots defense as the other three.
 
REX WRECKS
 
The Bills are 0-2, the natives are beyond restless in Buffalo and the Cardinals are in Western New York on Sunday. The Bills are expected to play without wide receiver Sammy Watkins and are a team staring into the esophagus of 0-3 with a visit to the Patriots coming next week. Have a gander at the Bills Mailbag in the Buffalo News.  Seems like years since Rex was all giddy about the paint job on his new truck. It was less than 19 months ago.