|Tom Brady on D&C: Feelings about Wes Welker’s departure ‘very personal to me’||05.23.13 at 8:00 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to talk about the Patriots’ offseason moves as OTAs begin as well as promote next weekend’s Best Buddies charity event.
The biggest changes on the roster have come at wide receiver.
“There’s quite a few new guys on the roster, certainly at the receiver position, almost the entire group,” Brady said. “So, as many days of practice as we can get, as many opportunities that we can have to actually get out there and throw the ball together in a competitive environment, I think that’s where the improvement comes. We’ve only had two days of practice.
“It’s a very competitive position. I think there’s a lot of positions that are very competitive on our team. I’m excited to see — at this point, the work that we’ve put in, how well it’s paid off.”
The most heralded new receiver is former Ram Danny Amendola, who worked out with Brady in Los Angeles recently.
“Danny, he’s always had a lot of talent,” Brady said. “To watch him out there and play against him — when he was at the Rams he was very productive. It’s been fun to work with him. He’s got the tenacity to him and the drive and the determination and the work ethic. In a short period of time, it’s really easy to see. Like I said, he’s one of those guys where the more we throw, the better we’re going to be. So, we’re trying to always kind of talk and communicate through practice, through OTAs. We threw in the spring a lot, and hopefully as the summer continues leading up to training camp, we’ll get as many reps as we can together so we’re on the same page.”
Amendola has drawn comparisons to departed free agent Wes Welker.
“They’re [at] similar positions, they’re about the same height, they’ve both got very good ability,” Brady said. “Wes was so productive for so long. I think it’s unfair to compare anyone to Wes and what he was able to accomplish in his time here. Danny, he’s just been fun to work with. I think he’s come in really with an open mind and understanding of the way that we as Patriots, the way we need to play.
“Josh [McDaniels] is trying to get everyone on our entire offense up to speed with how we’re going to play offense this year, how we’re going to try to be more consistent than we’ve been the last few years. Danny’s really taken to that; all the receivers have. And all the receivers have really had, like I said, a willingness to come in and work and listen and try to get better.”
Asked his reaction to Welker’s departure, Brady said he understands the business of the league.
“I don’t think anything surprises me any more in the NFL,” he said. “I’ve been around long enough to see things happen at different times with the greatest players of all, whether that’s Wes, or Randy Moss being traded from the Raiders, or Brett Favre playing for the Jets and the Vikings. That’s what happens. Like I said, it’s a very tough, competitive business.
“Nobody appreciated Wes more than I did and what he was able to accomplish for our team. But he’s moved on. He’s in a good situation with another great team and a great quarterback. We’ve always kind of kept in touch, we always will. He’s one of my best friends. I certainly wish him the best.”
Brady has not publicly voiced any displeasure toward management about Welker’s departure, and he explained that there’s a reason for that.
“Of course I have feelings. But those feelings are very personal to me,” he said. “I used to get caught up in anger and frustration and disappointment. But I don’t make the decisions. These things aren’t up to me. At some point you’ve got to realize the things that are out of your control. You’ve just got to let go and focus on my job and what I need to do. Because the game moves on, the team moves on. There’s only so long you can dwell on the past. At some point you’ve got to move forward.
“Like I said, my job for my team is to be the best quarterback, and not the general manager and not the coach and not the owner. It’s to try to go out there and bring my own competitiveness to the field so that those guys that I’m playing with this year can really rely on me and count on me to be the best I can be.”
|Danny Amendola: I can’t be concerned with Wes Welker comparisons||05.21.13 at 1:09 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Danny Amendola isn’t worried about comparisons to Wes Welker.
The receiver, signed as a free agent this offseason, said Tuesday can’t concern himself with people who might try and make a connection between him and Welker, who signed with the Broncos in the offseason after six years in New England.
“That’s not something I need to worry about,” he said after Tuesday’s OTA session on the fields behind Gillette Stadium. “I’m worried about the playbook and getting the routes down and getting on the same page with my teammates. The good thing is, I don’t have to worry about that stuff.”
Amendola, who spent a sizable portion of the nearly two-hour session working with quarterback Tom Brady, said it’s easy to see Tom Brady‘s greatness after a few sessions.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I said it today — he darted me in the chest with one ball and I was just like inside my head, ‘Wow, this guy can really wing it.’ That’s why he’s Tom Brady.
“He’s a really good quarterback. Everybody knows that. [I'm] just trying to get on the same page — so far, so good,” added Amendola, who had the chance to work with him in Southern California earlier this spring. “More work is best going into the season. Any time you get a jump and get to work with each other, that’s good. We’re getting a lot of good work in here right now. That’s the most important thing.”
Amendola does have some history in this offense, as he had the chance to work with current Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for a year in St. Louis.
“It’s familiar. When Josh was in St. Louis, I got to know it pretty good. It’s a little more intricate out here. It’s something to grasp, and I’m learning it every day,” he said.
“It’s the verbiage — it’s everything. That’s the most important thing. The vocabulary of the offense. I’m leaning, day in and day out, and studying at night.It’s a process. Second day, so I’m looking forward to the next practice and just getting ready for that.”
Amendola is one of several new faces at wide receiver for the Patriots this year. It’s a group that includes veterans Mike Jenkins and Donald Jones as well as rookies Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce. While he confessed to feeling a little like the new kid in school — even joking that he’s gotten lost inside Gillette Stadium a couple of times — there’s a feeling that he and the rest of the new guys are all in this together.
“Yeah, there’s a couple of guys here who have been here a while, but we’re leaning on them to really show us the ropes of the drills and the practice and trying to get the tempo going in the practice,” Amendola said. “We kind of thrive off that and we kind of get it going. I feel like we have a really good group. I feel like there are some guys coming from other teams with a lot of experience and it’s exciting to see what we’re going to be able to do.
“You have questions and meetings and you kind of thrive off each other. It’s definitely a group atmosphere and a group effort. That’s the way it goes.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|NFC scout on Patriots draft: 4 players could contribute immediately||05.08.13 at 1:49 pm ET|
While the grades are starting to trickle in on how the Patriots fared last month in the NFL draft, one NFC scout said he was impressed by what New England was able to do, saying the Patriots picked up at least four players who will be able to contribute as rookies.
“The Patriots seemed to have a solid draft,” he told WEEI.com on Wednesday. “They went out and picked potential playmakers that have the ability to contribute immediately.”
On offense, the selection of wide receivers — Aaron Dobson in the second round and Josh Boyce in the fourth round — defined New England’s draft, as far as he was concerned. While his team had some questions about Dobson as a collegian, he feels that the Patriots will be able to develop Dobson into a “solid player.”
“Dobson is a size/speed wide receiver that has tools to develop into a solid pro,” he said. “However, he does have some motor and contested-catch inconsistency in college but if Patriots can get it out of him, he can be a solid player. Boyce could also be a solid contributor as a developmental wide receiver and special teams player in his first year in the league.”
While several people have raved about the football IQ of both Dobson and Boyce, the two receivers are unlike most receivers the Patriots have targeted in the draft the last few years in that they are bigger, more physical types: Dobson is a 6-foot-3, 203-pounder out of Marshall (tied with P.K. Sam as the tallest receiver Bill Belichick ever drafted) who ended up with 165 receptions, 2,398 receiving yards and 24 touchdown catches. Meanwhile, the 5-foot-11 Boyce electrified the combine after recording 161 catches for 2,535 yards and 22 touchdowns in his three seasons at TCU.
“The Patriots seem to view wide receivers differently,” the scout said, “as they are willing to take a chance on size/speed guys and are willing to admit mistakes and move on if they don’t fit the bill.”
|Vince Wilfork joins relief effort in wake of Marathon bombing||04.16.13 at 3:35 pm ET|
On Tuesday, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork joined wide receiver Danny Amendola as one of the Patriots who will assist in the Boston Marathon relief efforts.
Text VINCE to 50555 to donate $10 to the Vince Wilfork Foundation all proceeds until end of the month will benefit victims of Boston bombs
— Vince Wilfork (@wilfork75) April 16, 2013
New Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola offered to help victims of the Boston Marathon by donating money per reception — and dropped pass — next season.
I will DONATE $100 for EVERY pass I catch next season to whatever “Boston Marathon Relief Fund” there is. And $200 for any dropped pass.
— Danny Amendola (@DannyAmendola) April 16, 2013
Amendola, who played the last four seasons with the Rams,caught 63 passes last season. He was signed by the Patriots last month, agreeing to a five-year, $28.5 million contract.
A native of Texas, Amendola has family in Massachusetts.
|Father of Danny Amendola filing suit against Cowboys Stadium after golf cart accident||04.11.13 at 4:23 pm ET|
The father of Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola has filed a $1 million lawsuit against Cowboys Stadium in the wake of an incident after a 2011 high school game.
Willie Amendola, the father of one of New England’s newest receivers, is a coach at Spring Dekaney High School, and was on the field when a runaway golf cart careened into a group of people on the field at Cowboys Stadium. As you can see from the above video, the unmanned cart took off after an end zone pylon accidentally became wedged against the accelerator and went shooting downfield. The cart collided with a group of people — including Amendola — at midfield, then carried the coach roughly 30 yards. Amendola was saved when someone was able to jump on the cart, remove the pylon and apply the brakes.
According to the suit, Amendola suffered “great personal anguish and embarrassment” to him and his family following the incident.
|Another reset of Patriots depth chart at wide receiver||04.10.13 at 4:49 pm ET|
After a busy morning that included the extension of an offer sheet to Emmanuel Sanders and the apparent agreement on a one-year deal between the Patriots and Julian Edelman, it’s time once again to reset the depth chart at wide receiver for New England.
As was the case when we did this last month, it’s important to remember that there is still time in the team-building process (between the end of free agency and the draft), so things can change between now and the start of the 2013 season. But as it stands right now, here’s a thumbnail look at each one of the receivers who are currently on the roster, as well as some possible additions for New England at the position between now and the start of the season.
Julian Edelman: Right now, Edelman is the only receiver on the roster who caught a pass from Tom Brady in 2012. The former college quarterback, who was a seventh-round pick of the Patriots in 2009, has spent the last four seasons with New England, and has 69 catches for 714 yards and four touchdowns as a pro. It will be interesting to see what sort of role he has in the 2013 passing game — he had a terrific offseason last year, and as a result, got off to an impressive start (10 catches in first two-plus games) before a late September injury. Right now, he likely figures as a backup to Amendola, but if he stays healthy, the 5-foot-10, 200-pounder should have an important role in the offense and on special teams.
Donald Jones: Right now, Jones figures to be in the mix for the No. 3 receiver spot, but as always, that situation remains fluid based on other possible free-agent additions as well as what the Patriots might do in the draft. The 6-foot, 208-pound Jones is a Youngstown State product who spent three seasons in the league, all with the Bills, and has 82 career receptions. His best year came in 2012 when he caught 41 passes for 443 yards and four touchdowns. Jones has some experience in the slot, as well as outside.
Danny Amendola: The big offseason addition at receiver, Amendola will likely be the closest thing the Patriots have to a traditional wide receiver in 2013. Amendola has worked in the slot and outside, and will likely be asked to do both in the New England offense. The 27-year-old, who had a career-high 85 catches for St. Louis in 2010, has followed an eerily similar career arc as Welker, who blossomed when he first arrived in New England in 2007. The Patriots hope that the 5-foot-11, 188-pounder can continue on the same path that saw Welker — who was a little-used part of the Miami offense before he arrived in Foxboro — catch 100 passes in five of his six seasons with the Patriots.
Mike Jenkins: The addition of Jenkins looks to be a case of the Patriots kicking the tires on a veteran to see if he has anything left in the tank. The 30-year-old, who has had knee issues the last few years, caught 40 passes for 449 yards and two touchdowns last season with the Vikings. He’s a 6-foot-4, 214-pounder out of Ohio State who has been in the league for nine seasons — seven with the Falcons and the last two with Minnesota. His best seasons came in 2007 and 2008, when he caught a combined 103 passes for 1,309 yards and seven touchdowns. If he does stick, it will be for depth purposes.
Not currently on the roster, but possible additions.
Emmanuel Sanders: While Sanders isn’t technically a Patriot just yet, we will include him here for purposes of this exercise. Like Amendola (and, to a lesser extent, Jones and Edelman), Sanders does have some position experience in that he’s played both in the slot and outside. The 26-year-old, a third-round pick out of SMU in 2010 by the Steelers, caught 44 passes for 626 yards and one touchdown in 2012, starting seven games. In his three-year career, Sanders has 94 receptions for 1,290 yards and five touchdowns. For more on Sanders and his potential impact here in New England, click here.
Brandon Lloyd: With each passing day — and with each subsequent addition the team makes to its receiving corps — the chances of Lloyd’s return seem to grow faint. He was released last month, just prior to the date the team was contractually obligated to deliver a $3 million roster bonus. In his one season with the Patriots, Lloyd had 74 catches for 911 yards and four touchdowns. While he had some terrific moments — including eight catches against Arizona, nine against Baltimore and 10 against the Niners — he was underwhelming at times.
Deion Branch: Branch, who will be 34 before the start of the 2013 season, has to be considered a long shot to return, but it still wouldn’t be a surprise to see the 5-foot-9, 195-pounder back on an emergency basis if needed. He ended the 2012 season with 16 catches for 145 yards in 10 games for New England.
(In addition, the Patriots depth chart also includes Kamar Aiken, Jeremy Ebert and Andre Holmes. Ebert was a seventh-round pick of the Patriots last season who spent some time on the practice squad, while Aiken ended the season on the practice squad and Holmes was added to the roster in January after spending part of the 2012 season with the Cowboys. And while Matthew Slater is technically listed as a wide receiver, he’s more of a special teamer.)
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