The Patriots’ passing game has been disappointing so far this season, and Tom Brady is personally taking steps to correct that.
Brady has been calling and texting former Patriots wide receivers Deion Branch and Brandon Lloyd, checking on their availability and readiness to play, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Silver. Branch has responded to Brady, telling him that he’s ready to go whenever, but Lloyd still isn’t ready for a return, according to the report.
The Patriots’ young receiving corps hasn’t lived up to the preseason hype, giving Brady all the more reason to seek out any and all alternatives. Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson have shown some issues with drops as well as miscommunications with Brady on routes at times. Julian Edelman has been a steady presence on the field, catching 20 passes through two games, but Brady has even shown frustration with him at times. With Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola out again in Week 3, Brady continues to work with limited options on the outside.
Branch, 34, slowed down quite a bit during the 2012 season, catching a career-low 16 passes for 145 yards in 10 games with the Patriots. Brady has always had an impeccable connection and relationship with Branch both on and off the field, so that contact shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Lloyd, 32, enjoyed a strong season with the Patriots in 2012, finishing the season with 74 catches for 911 yards and four touchdowns. The Patriots released him in March, though, deciding against paying him a $3 million roster bonus. Lloyd isn’t planning a return to the NFL this season and is even trying his hand at acting.
Ultimately, Brady has no say in personnel decisions but his input might matter, especially if the Patriots’ offense struggles for a third consecutive week. Whatever the end result, it’s obvious that Brady is frustrated enough with what has looked like a ragtag group of receivers to this point.