- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The New England Patriots only had one weakness on offense last year: They couldn't get vertical and behind the defense.
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Consider that problem solved Saturday, after the Patriots agreed to terms with veteran big-play receiver Brandon Lloyd. The move was expected for weeks, as Lloyd reunites with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. The pair were very successful during their stint together with the Denver Broncos.
Lloyd joins a dangerous cast of receivers and tight ends that include Pro Bowl receiver Wes Welker, Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski and up-and-coming tight end Aaron Hernandez. Lloyd averages 15.4 yards per reception for his career and gives future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady the deep threat he's been missing since Randy Moss. The Patriots' offense will be a matchup nightmare for opponents next season.
New England also has depth behind the starters with former Pro Bowler Chad Ochocinco, Julian Edelman and newly-signed receiver Anthony Gonzalez. There may be a small question with the experience of New England's stable of running backs. But look for New England to air it out anyway to set up the run.
Lloyd is a typical Patriots free-agent signing. He was not the biggest name on the market, but Lloyd should be very productive.
New England no longer has to worry about any facet of its high-powered offense for 2012. Now, the Patriots can use the rest of their resources in free agency and the draft to focus on their 31st-ranked defense.