WR Lloyd may jumpstart Rams offense
Friday, October 21, 2011
ST. LOUIS (AP) — In obtaining veteran wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, the St. Louis Rams have added a pair of sure hands to a receiving corps that has been plagued by dropped passes this season and an offense than barely scores.
The winless Rams (0-5) are underdogs for Sunday's game at Dallas (2-3) and likely to be one at home the following week against New Orleans.
The offense under new coordinator Josh McDaniels has yet to click but the Rams now have Lloyd following a trade with Denver. The hope is that he can jumpstart an offense that has scored an NFL-worst 49 points this season and one that was held to a field goal by Green Bay last weekend despite gaining 424 yards.
"We've made some progress with certain things that we were doing, but whenever you put yourself in an opportunity to score, we're learning that one mistake is enough," McDaniels said Thursday. "There's no excuses for it. We've got to eliminate our mistakes. It's really about us.
"Once we eliminate our mistakes, we'll have an opportunity to see if what we can do with the ball and our offense and our schemes and our players is going to be good enough to put enough points on the board to win."
Lloyd said doesn't feel like he has been brought in to turn things around. He does hope he can help.
"Just as a professional athlete, I think our pride would like to be stroked that way where we feel like that," Lloyd said. "I think that this is a really good football team and it doesn't reflect it in the record. If it takes that, I'm prepared for it. I'm prepared to be that. I'm going to prepare myself and be as healthy as possible going into these games ready to rock and roll."
The 6-foot, 190-pound Lloyd brings instant credibility the Rams' receiver corps. Lloyd, a Blue Springs, Mo., native and graduate of Illinois, had a league-leading 1,448 yards receiving last year. He averaged a robust 18.8 yards per catch and scored 11 touchdowns.
St. Louis thought they needed him. The Rams surrendered a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2012 draft for Lloyd, a pick that can become a fifth-rounder if Lloyd catches 30 passes for the Rams. His contract is up at the end of the season.
The move reunites Lloyd with McDaniels, whom the Rams hired after Pat Schurmer left to go to Cleveland to become the head coach. The opening enabled the Rams to hire McDaniels and give him a chance to resurrect this career, which included a praised stint as New England's offensive coordinator and a bad run as the Broncos' head coach.
It has not gone well so far. St. Louis ranks No. 25 overall offensively, and penalties and dropped passes have plagued the Rams all season.
"We've been able to move the ball up and down," quarterback Sam Bradford said, "but we just have so many mistakes, it doesn't allow us to put the ball in the end zone. We've got to find a way to score touchdowns. The way we've played at times has been positive. We understand we can do that and there's no reason, if we keep working, we can't do that in the red zone, that we can't score touchdowns."
Gaining yards is a positive, McDaniels said, but it isn't enough.
"I'm saying until we get points on the board, until we score enough points to outscore somebody regardless of how many they score offensively, we're not going to be satisfied with that," McDaniels said. "Hopefully, we can take another positive step this week and get better.
"Our identity probably will only come when we start winning games and scoring a lot of points. I hope our identity is never to pile up a bunch of yards and lose games."
Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo is hopeful the addition of Lloyd will help.
"I am encouraged by the fact that he knows exactly what he is doing," Spagnuolo said. "Him and Josh knocked out a lot of stuff. He went out there and made a number of catches here in practice. I am hopeful that he will be able to step in and won't skip a beat. That is my hope."
Notes: Bradford (ankle) did not practice along with CB Brian Jackson (knee) and DE C.J. Ah You (wrist) ... S Quintin Mikell missed practice as his wife gave birth Thursday morning.