The New England Patriots haven't employed a game-changing deep threat since the days of Randy Moss.
This offense has been anything but vulnerable, but the lack of a field-stretching receiver plagued New England in Super Bowl XLVI. With Rob Gronkowski hobbled, Tom Brady was left throwing the ball to Wes Welker and friends -- intermediate fare over the middle of the field. That defeat cut deep.
The Patriots signed Brandon Lloyd to remedy the problem, and it appears to have done the trick.
Lloyd has prospered under the direction of Josh McDaniels, the Patriots offensive coordinator who coached the late-blooming wideout with the Denver Broncos and St. Louis Rams. The chemistry here is underrated.
You don't think of New England's attack as missing key pieces, but nobody played Lloyd's role last season. Bill Belichick in just two short years has reimagined the tight end position with Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez (as productive as any pass-catching duo in football), but this receiver group was a hodgepodge.
They now have their deep threat. That alone should keep Rex Ryan up at night.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.