No one on the Washington Redskins was more disappointed in the way last season went than Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd came from a re-building team in San Francisco to a Super Bowl contender from the year before dreaming of chance to help put that team over the hump and into the big dance.
That chance never happened, as the offense entered a transitional period under a new coach and playbook, and the defense failed to return to the dominant form of the year before. The result was a 5-11 season and watching all of the other NFC - East teams make the playoffs.
This is a new season; new for the Redskins and new for Lloyd, who spent the off-season working out and training to do what he can to help himself and the team. He added 10 pounds of bulk in the off-season to improve his explosiveness, strength and speed. Now in camp, with a year under his belt in the Al Saunders offense, he is working on translating the self-improvement off the field into improvement on the field as a wide receiver.
"I'm focusing on the small things of being a receiver," Lloyd said, adding, "I'm focusing on the technical stuff, from releases to running my routes, coming out of my routes and catching the ball."
That technical focus has shown on the practice field. Lloyd's routes have been crisp and his transition to the slot has shown immediate dividends. His first reception -in open practice, anyway - from the slot was a 15-yard buttonhook that Lloyd took untouched into the end zone.
Part of the reason the move inside has worked is the attitude that Lloyd displays towards it: "The only statistic I'm worried about is winning games, and if the number three position helps me make catches and score touchdowns to help the team win, then I'm all for it."
That sounds like the kind of attitude a championship team requires of its players.
News and Notes:
At the time of this interview, Brandon Lloyd was suffering from shin splints and was being held out of practice to rest. He has since returned to the field.
Will Whitticker, one of the reserve linemen that had generated quite a buzz over the last few months suffered a high ankle sprain in practice on Monday and has since been released.
NFL Europa MVP Casey Bramlet was also released following Saturday's scrimmage.
Minor injuries consistent with training camp keep mounting, most notably in the corps of running backs. Portis is still sitting out with knee tendonitis; Ladell Betts jammed his neck after Marcus Washington pummeled him in blitz pick-up drills. Mike Sellers is also battling soreness in his knee, and Derrick Blaylock is practicing through an ankle injury. While these guys heal, the Redskins signed former Kansas City Chiefs running back Dee Brown.