Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Lloyd isn’t catching any deep passes in John Fox’s conservative, run-oriented offense, and he’s letting his quarterback and his coaches know just how he feels about it.
Kyle Orton and Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said Lloyd has asked to be more involved in the offense even as opponents roll a safety over the top to bracket him in double-coverage.
A year after leading the league with 1,448 yards receiving, Lloyd said he thinks he’s being underused by the Broncos. He had 17 catches of 25 or more yards last year and none of his 10 catches so far this season have gone for more than 20 yards.
“It’s not like we’re not trying to get him the ball,” McCoy said.
Fox pointed to a strained groin as one reason for the dearth of downfield chances for Lloyd. Orton noted that Lloyd’s getting a lot of attention from defensive coordinators and the flow of the games has dictated a different approach.
Lloyd said Denver’s offensive doctrine is the primary culprit.
“I think it’s just us, the coaching staff, staying true to the philosophy of running the ball,” Lloyd said Thursday. “I think we’ve kind of gotten in game management mode, as opposed to an aggressive, take-control mode. I think that’s what has limited us.”
So far, the Broncos have called plays that have led to long, time-consuming drives that rely on a heavy diet of runs and underneath passes and not the quick-strike deep ball that was featured so often in 2010.
Orton said Lloyd is commanding so much attention after his breakout season but the Broncos will certainly capitalize on his speed and athleticism at some point.
“He’ll have to stay patient,” Orton said.
And healthy, Fox suggested.
“He was hobbled in the fourth quarter of the opener, missed the whole second game. It’s hard to be any kind of a threat when you don’t have a uniform,” Fox said. “I don’t think he was 100 percent” last week, when he caught four passes for 38 yards at Tennessee. “I’d say that was a little bit of a reason.”
“I’m healthy,” Lloyd countered.
“I mean, I’m not frustrated, but I want to go down the field more,” he added. “I think that just helps us. I feel like we play better when we have a lead. I think that explosive pass plays hurt a defense more, when you can get big chunks passing the ball and running the ball.”