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Paul's Calls: McDaniels well received

When Josh McDaniels met with the media Friday at the outset of rookie mini-camp at Gillette Stadium, he offered some thoughts on a variety of topics. One that stood out was his relationship with newly signed wide receiver Brandon Lloyd.

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Lloyd enjoyed a renaissance of sorts after joining forces with McDaniels in Denver. He struggled bouncing from team to team until he found his home operating as an outside threat in the Patriots offensive system while with the Broncos, and largely for that reason he was brought to New England.

McDaniels spoke about the chemistry between he and Lloyd, who also worked with the Patriots offensive coordinator last season after being traded to St. Louis.

"He's a guy I'm familiar with from the last few years," McDaniels said. "He gives us an outside receiver to compete with a lot of the guys that we have here. Brandon is certainly a guy who is familiar with our system, first of all. He understands what we ask of the receiver position. He's brought a skill set on the outside, on the perimeter, that has definitely been helpful to the offenses that I've had a part in the last few years. How he fits in, and what we end up doing with him along with the other receiving corps, we'll find out as we go through the spring and the summer. I'm excited to have an opportunity to coach him again."

McDaniels alluded to the crowded group of receivers in addition to Lloyd and talked about the process of whittling down the group to a more workable number for the regular season.

"Not only do we have a lot of people that have been successful and provided some results individually, but a lot of them have some real background and knowledge of our system too, which is a little bit of a unique situation," McDaniels said, referencing Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney and Donte' Stallworth – all newcomers who have played in the system.

"I think that makes for great competition. I know every year we talk about having great competition at every spot, and the receiver position is certainly going to be filled with that. We have a ton of guys here, working hard, and making sure they're ready for OTAs in the spring. We're going to give them all an opportunity. I don't think you want to assume too many things. Let them go back out there and demonstrate what they know, what they can do, what they can provide our team, and let the competition play out."

In addition to the 11 wide receivers McDaniels is currently working with, he also will have the luxury of a pair of weapons he didn't have when helping to set records with the Patriots offense in 2007 – namely a pair of tight ends. Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez will offer McDaniels another dimension to work with, and he's excited about the possibilities.

"They certainly can do some things similar, but I still think that the tight end position is defended differently than the receiver position is," McDaniels said, when asked about the matchup nightmares the tandem creates.

"It depends on what personnel groupings we have on the field and what the defense has on the field. You know, what are the matchups? If they're being played with safeties and linebackers – which many times they are – then certainly it's more of a tight end-oriented position for them. At times, they're covered by defensive backs and you can do some different things with them there. The versatility they provide our offense is really unique. The skill sets they've demonstrated in the first two years are pretty special. It'll be exciting to see how this year evolves and what we can do to continue to challenge – they all can continue to grow and get better."

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