Wes Welker 2012: 74 targets, 688 yards, 9.30 yards per target 2011: 172 targets, 1569 yards, 9.12 yards per target Breakdown: Welker appears to be every bit as lethal as he was last year, being ultra reliable and dangerous after the catch. His yards per target is actually up after a career year in 2011. Rob Gronkowski 2012: 51 targets, 434 yards, 8.51 yards per target 2011: 124 targets, 1327 yards, 10.70 yards per target Breakdown: As many have pointed out, Gronkowski is dealing with obvious injuries that have hobbled him, but his YPT is still stellar. He continues to play a huge role in the offense and even in a down year is one of the best receiving TEs in football (as well as blocking.) His yards per target last year was off-the-charts incredible- he will probably never match that feat of 10.70 again, but perhaps no tight end ever will. I expect a healthy Gronk to be between 9-10 ypt. Aaron Hernandez 2012: 24 targets, 143 yards, 5.96 yards per target 2011: 113 targets, 910 yards, 8.05 yards per target Breakdown: This stark decline is clearly attributed to AH's ankle injury suffered in week 2, and it may be awhile before he's at full strength. Especially since AH's game depends on acceleration and breaking/avoiding tackles, there should be no surprise that his production suffers drastically on a bum ankle. Brandon Lloyd 2012: 65 targets, 407 yards, 6.26 yards per target Breakdown: Many people on here feared that Lloyd was a bad addition to the Patriots, based on his receiving skills and route running. Lloyd is a highlight reel freak of nature with incredible athletic ability, but he is not a guy who creates separation or is necessarily a precise route runner. Unfortunately his "best hands in the NFL" have also dropped too many passes to list. Although he has made some great catches and has tremendous body control, it seems those skills don't make up for the huge amount of incompletions thrown in his direction. Looking at his production, it's tough to say the doubters have been wrong. Averaging a low 6.26 yards per target is not exactly the type of production we were hoping for from a "number one" receiver. Not only that, but Lloyd is not really a vertical receiver and hasn't stretched the field. The Patriots have certainly not seen much separation anywhere on the field ala 2007. If anything, the game is even tighter and more "dink and dunk" than the last few years. A couple of comparisons to Lloyd's role as primary outside receiver: Deion Branch 2011: 90 targets. 702 yards, 7.80 yards per target 2010: 74 targets, 706 yards, 9.54 yards per target Chad Ochocinco 2011: 32 targets. 831 yards, 8.63 yards per target (yes I put this in here as a joke, but when you really think about it, it isn't that funny.) Randy Moss 2009: 138 targets, 1264 yards, 9.16 yards per target 2008: 125, targets, 1008 yards, 8.06 yards per target 2007: 160 targets, 1493 yards, 9.33 yards per target Reche Caldwell 2006: 103 targets, 760 yards, 7.38 yards per target *Targets are not counted in my source (ESPN) prior to 2006 Conclusion: The Patriots still have the number one offense in the league, but it doesn't seem that way. Because of a revamped running game and outstanding effort by the offensive line, they are much more balanced. This is a good thing. From the standpoint of the passing game, Wes Welker is the only thing making this a tough team to defend. With Gronknandez hobbled, Brady is throwing to Lloyd a lot. The Brady-Lloyd combination has been beyond disappointing, and if they do not improve drastically, this passing offense will remain ineffective during critical times in the game. Lloyd's average yards per target is very, very low. The fact that Reche Caldwell outperformed him over a full season is not a good sign. Hopefully Brady and Lloyd can figure this out, but it seems that the Patriots have once again failed to get the right outside receiving threat.