|After disappointing season, Lloyd sits behind Randle El at Redskins camp|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 29 July 2007 11:14|
Instead of the fashionable baggy burgundy shorts worn by nearly all the Washington Redskins players on the second day of training camp, Lloyd went old school. His tighter, shorter gray shorts made for a hard-to-miss advertisement for the bulk he added during the offseason.
``I just wanted to be stronger and faster, and getting bigger was just a byproduct,'' said Lloyd, who is listed at 200 pounds. ``I'll probably be running 8 pounds heavier than I did last year, and it feels good.''
Lloyd needed to do something. Last year, he was perhaps the most underachieving receiver in the NFL, and he is paying the price. He opened camp as the No. 3 receiver instead of No. 2, having fallen behind Antwaan Randle El on the depth chart.
It's not hard to see why. Last season, Randle El and Minnesota's Mewelde Moore were the only two players in the league to throw a touchdown pass, catch a touchdown pass and return a punt for a touchdown.
And Randle El was a good soldier all along. Although he came to Washington from Pittsburgh hoping for more opportunities as a receiver, he mostly played behind Lloyd and didn't complain about his 32 catches for 351 yards.
Lloyd, meanwhile, couldn't hold the ball or his composure. He was thrown 57 passes and caught only 23 - a meager success rate of 40 percent. No one else in the NFL who was thrown so many passes caught so few. By contrast, Randle El caught half of the passes tossed his way, and top receiver Santana Moss snagged 54 percent.
Lloyd didn't score a touchdown and lost his starting job late in the year after an in-game, helmet-throwing tantrum that prompted two meetings with coach Joe Gibbs within a week. The two had another long meeting in the offseason.
``We just talked over generally what he means to the club and what his future is here,'' Gibbs said. ``We had a good sit-down. We're expecting him to make a real impact on our team.''
Lloyd caught a nice sideline pass for a touchdown from Jason Campbell during Saturday's practice, prompting cheers from fans that hope the receiver actually might pay dividends on his six-year, $30 million contract. Later, in his first full session with reporters since last season, he mixed short, stoic answers with longer hints on why last season went awry.
``Coming here, it was a big move, and I wasn't stable,'' Lloyd said. ``And so this year I was actually stable. I have the family, was able to pickup and move, rent a house. The comfort level was a lot better.''
Lloyd also said this was the first offseason in which he has pursued an aggressive workout program.
``I'm not using this camp to get in shape,'' Lloyd said. ``That's what I was doing in the past when I was younger. Now I'm coming into camp in shape.''
Lloyd said his disappointing debut season in Washington wasn't the motivation for the extra work, but it's easy to suspect otherwise.
``He kind of learned from a lot of mistakes last year,'' Moss said. ``Being the guy that he is, he expressed his feelings in a different guise, and I think we as a team had a chance to learn him and he had a chance to learn what the team expects out of him.''
For one thing, the Redskins don't want any more troublesome outbursts, so Lloyd gave a politically correct answer when asked about his demotion to No. 3 receiver. He said the team runs many plays that use three wide receivers, so he'll often be on the field at the start of the game.
``I'm going to get my share of passes,'' Lloyd said. ``And whatever I need to do to help the team, I'll do it.''