Was it us?
Do you have any idea how fucking pissed off I am? Check that stat line in the image above, that is Brandon Lloyd, Broncos receiver, leading the league in receiving yards with 1046 yards in ten games, TEN GAMES THE DUDE HAS CAUGHT 54 PASSES FOR ALMOST A TWENTY YARD AVERAGE IN TEN FREAKING GAMES!
Brandon was traded to Washington from San Francisco in the 2006 offseason on the first day of free agency, the Redskins gave up two picks, a 2006 third round pick and a 2007 fourth rounder, to acquire Brandon, then turned around and gave him a seven year, 31 million dollar contract with ten million guaranteed. He was supposed to bolster a 2005 receiving corps that principally consisted of Santana Moss, Chris Cooley and Clinton Portis. Antwaan Randle El also arrived that offseason as a free agent, the Redskins had their bunch of sparkplug wideouts, no one over six feet tall.
I knew what Brandon could do, I had followed him in San Francisco and even seen him in person in the Redskins 52-17 circus in 2005, I was all about this signing, my recidivist take on Washington pushing TWO MORE Santana Moss clones in favor of pursuing a receiver free agent with size, height or physical credentials was simple: If Mark Brunell wants little guys that can get separation, who am I to disagree?
Pretty quickly though it got rough, the early returns on Brandon were indicative of how he would perform overall in his two troubled seasons in Washington. Through a miserable 2006 season that saw Mark Brunell give way to Jason Campbell at quarterback and the team win only five games, Brandon caught 23 passes for 365 yards in fifteen games, barely third receiver quality numbers, Brandon was supposed to be a solid number two that could push the number one.
In game seven that season against the Colts Brandon argued with Antwaan Randle El, the two had to be separated. Brandon did it again in game twelve against the Falcons, throwing his helmet on the field in the fourth quarter, earning the Redskins a fifteen yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. This second egregious loss of control earned Brandon a closed door sit down with head coach Joe Gibbs who you remember was supposed to be the guy ultimately behind the Redskins player acquisition decisions.
Brandon's reaction to being singled out on the team and in the media for detrimental behavior, and of being hauled behind closed doors for a verbal whipping by a Hall of Fame head coach? Not so much.
Still, coach Gibbs said he was satisfied with the outcome of the meeting and indicated Brandon would play in game thirteen against the Eagles, Brandon did not start and had one catch, off an option pass from Antwaan Randle El.
Three games later coach Gibbs had had enough, Brandon was inactive for the season finale against the Giants, the injury report indicated Brandon had bronchitis, no one believed it, Brandon's first season in a contract with ten million dollars guaranteed was a disaster.
Heading into 2007 it was not feasible to cut Brandon, Joe Gibbs and the team clearly was going to give Brandon another shot.
It did not start well. After bragging about how the 2007 offseason was the first time he had ever engaged in significant offseason workouts, Brandon gave himself shin splints and was unable to practice at full speed for the first three weeks THREE WEEKS of training camp. Still, he made the 2007 team.
And things did not get any better for Brandon. Two weeks into the season he did not have a catch. In the third week, Redskins fans were treated to one of the all time great displays of tone deafness, Brandon was featured in the Washington Post Business section as a compensated spokesman for Microsoft and their upcoming video game Halo III. In the article, Brandon named all the free gear and the advance look at the game experience the number one perk he had ever received as an NFL player, and then went on to talk about what a huge part of his life playing video games is. It would still be two more weeks, into October until Brandon got his first catch in 2007.
In November Brandon missed a team meeting and was barred from accompanying the team on the road to game eight against the Jets, and once again Joe Gibbs insisted Brandon was still important to the team and viable as a receiving option. Little did we know at that time that with seven games still left in the 2007 season that Brandon had already produced everything he would produce: two catches for fourteen yards.
One more game and no more catches later, on the last play of practice on Wednesday 14 November 2007, Brandon broke his collarbone, the team put him on injured reserve, ending a season that never really happened for Brandon. In all he missed nine games between healthy scratch, bronchitis and the clavicle injury, and produced 25 catches for 378 yards and no touchdowns. In February of 2008 the team cut Brandon, two years into thirty million dollar contract with ten million dollars guaranteed. Washington barely noticed.
Brandon played with Chicago in 2008, holding close to Washington form with 26 catches for 364 yards in eleven games. In 2009 he signed with Denver and produced only eight catches in two games.
Coming into 2010 no one expected Brandon Lloyd to do what he is doing now, Josh McDaniel has Brandon and quarterback Kyle Orton really working on the same page, Brandon has already set a career number for catches, with six games still remaining in the schedule, and is nearly four yards per catch ahead of his highest yards per catch season ever.
Something has happened, hell has frozen over, Brandon Lloyd has turned into a franchise receiver. I'm pretty pissed about it.
Image screencap detail of this page.