Thursday, December 29, 2011
Chat wrap: Brandon Lloyd's prospects
By Mike Sando
The St. Louis Rams aren't getting much attention beyond periodic speculation about potential leadership changes.
One of the Rams-related questions in our latest NFC West chat caught my attention. Receiver Brandon Lloyd has been a bright spot for the team since the Rams acquired him. He makes spectacular catches appear routine and gives the Rams needed talent at receiver. But with his contract set to expire after the season, it's unclear whether Lloyd will remain with the team in 2012 and beyond.
We touched on that subject and a few others, including ...
Daniel from Alameda, Calif., asks whether Alex Smith's aversion to risk taking hurts his accuracy.
Mike Sando: Smith is definitely cautious about interceptions, but I think he has become more decisive this season. He isn't getting caught in a no-man's land as much. He'll usually take off running when something is not there, as opposed to drifting the way Tarvaris Jackson did on the play where Larry Grant forced the fumble Saturday. Accuracy-wise, I don't think Smith has been horribly inaccurate. He has been generally accurate, I would say. He has a 61 percent completion rate even though the 49ers rank tied for fifth with 27 drops, six more than the NFL average, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
B from Glendale, Ariz., sees asks whether NFC West assistant coaches could draw attention from other teams now that Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh have won division titles in their first seasons. He also points to the Arizona Cardinals' success under Ken Whisenhunt.
Mike Sando: Seattle's Tom Cable and Gus Bradley are two guys I think could get consideration as head coaches down the line. Arizona's Russ Grimm was once such a candidate, but he has faded from those conversations and seems content doing what he is doing. Greg Roman could be someone to watch in San Francisco. It's too early to know whether Ray Horton is going to succeed as coordinator in Arizona, so I would not expect any change there.
Mackay from Utah asks whether I'm amazed by Larry Fitzgerald's production. He notes that other top receivers tend to play with better quarterbacks.
Mike Sando: Yes. I was watching the Cardinals-Bengals game again this morning and wondering how Fitzgerald has avoided injury while going after so many passes thrown too high. He really is an unbelievable player. The biggest surprise, to me, has been the Cardinals' ability to generate big plays -- more completions of at least 40 yards than all but one team -- without consistent play from their quarterbacks. Fitzgerald's yards per catch has jumped by 5 from last season. That is amazing.
Nick from St. Louis asks what are the chances the Rams re-sign Brandon Lloyd.
Mike Sando: I'd say outside chance of it. One, Josh McDaniels could very well be gone. He was the connection between Lloyd and the Rams. Two, how much is Brandon Lloyd really worthy on a long-term deal? Is he the type of guy teams make mistakes on? I think he could be.
Following up on that last item, Lloyd has been quite productive when playing for McDaniels, but not when playing for other coaches. Coincidence? The Rams would need to feel good about the answer to that question before committing starting-receiver money.
If McDaniels winds up coaching elsewhere in 2012, Lloyd could conceivably follow.