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Broncos provide emerging Lloyd with 'right opportunity'

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- It has taken a long time for Brandon Lloyd to show what he really can do.

He had stints with the San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins and Chicago Bears before the Denver Broncos signed him in June 2009. Then he sat out the first 14 contests with the Broncos before getting a chance to dress for a game.

Throughout that time, it would have been fair to call Lloyd nothing more than a talented journeyman. But things change. In his eighth NFL year, Lloyd is now just 32 yards shy of his first 1,000-yard season.

"It doesn't mean that much," Lloyd said this week. "I work hard. I always have. I'm dedicated. I'm devoted. This is just something that happened. I think I've been prepared for it my entire career and I didn't do anything extra this year to make it happen. It was just the right place, right time, right opportunity. I'm just seizing the moment."

Lloyd's 968 yards to date are only one off Rod Smith's team record for the best start in franchise history through 10 games. Lloyd has at least one 40-yard catch or longer in five of the past six games and leads all receivers (minimum 40 catches) with a 20.4-yard average per catch.

"Some systems just put guys in better situations," said Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton, who was teammates with Lloyd with the Bears in 2008, when the receiver finished with 26 catches for 364 yards. "We weren't a passing team in Chicago. That's just the way it was. He still played well there, it's just you're going to get different results with different schemes."

In Denver, Lloyd is the player charged with stretching the field. Defenses have put safeties over the top, matched him with their best cornerback, and he still manages to produce.

"I think coach (Josh) McDaniels puts the players he thinks are going to help the team be successful out there on the field. I don't think that's always the case on other teams," Lloyd said in helping explain his breakout season.

The Broncos currently have three players with 40-plus catches. But Lloyd has been the most consistently dangerous.

"It's tough in this league with the rules how it is to totally take away a guy, just double coverage," Orton said. "So throw it up and let him go grab it."

Lloyd, 29, admitted he had no expectations about the kind of season he might be able to have with the Broncos diversifying their passing offense after Brandon Marshall was traded to the Miami Dolphins.

"I signed a two-year dealm and I was just going to take it a day at a time. Go through camp. Get through camp. Get through preseason. Get to the regular season," Lloyd said. "But not having expectations didn't mean I didn't have confidence, because I have a lot of confidence in my ability and always have. But as far as what am I going to get? What are my goals? I didn't have any. I just don't do that because I don't like being let down."

McDaniels actually scouted Lloyd's college pro day at the University of Illinois. The coach remembers seeing great hands, great leaping ability -- "the traits you look for in an explosive receiver."

"I can't comment on the things he's gone through as far as being on other teams and why it didn't work out at one place or another," McDaniels said. "I just think his skill set is a good fit for what we're trying to with him."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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