Photo: Jeffrey Beall, FlickrBY NICK ST. DENIS
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will have plenty of familiar targets to throw to in 2012.
The NFL's leader in receptions from a season ago in Wes Welker will be back at least one more year, and the Patriots extended the league's best tight end in Rob Gronkowski.
New England also re-signed receiver Deion Branch and acquired Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney, who were past Patriots before departing for other teams for a couple years.
However, a Patriot who will likely be one of Brady's top targets this season is new to Foxborough. New England signed veteran receiver Brandon Lloyd this offseason to join a crowded and talented receiving corps.
"He's got a unique skill set so it's going to take some time to get used to things that he does really well," Brady told reporters Wednesday. "We haven't had anyone quite like him, so just to understand where he likes the ball placed and how he gets open. ... he can be a big part of this offense if we can really get up to speed."
While Brady is still relatively unfamiliar with Lloyd, Lloyd's ability is probably making the transition much easier.
"If you get it near him, he's going to catch it," Brady said. "It's just a matter of sometimes it doesn't look like he's really open and then boom, he springs open on you. So sometimes you think, ‘Oh he's covered,' and then you get off him and then you watch the film and you're like, ‘How did he get open?'
"He knows what he's doing to set the guys up and he makes the move and you have to trust that he's going to beat the guy and he does. It's just really a matter of, don't really let your eyes take away from what he's doing in his route, because ultimately he's going to get open at some point."
Follow Nick @NickStDenis
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily