|Danny Amendola on M&F: ‘There’s no doubt [Rob Gronkowski] is the league’s best tight end’||08.31.15 at 2:01 pm ET|
Patriots wideout Danny Amendola joined Merloni & Fauria as part of WEEI’s Patriots Monday to talk about the Reggie Wayne signing and other team news. To hear the interview, go to the Merloni & Fauria audio on demand page.
Amendola discussed the value a veteran with Wayne’s experience provides for the team.
“Guy’s been in the league for 15 years, so he’s been through quite a few training camps,” Amendola said. “He’s a guy who’s been around forever and has a lot of knowledge and insight on how to play the position. It’s great to have a guy like that in the room.
“He’s a vet and he’s picking it up very quickly. He’s running around in practice really well still and trying to make as many plays as he can. It’s been good to get to know him here for the last week and in the future.”
Following Amendola’s 20-yard catch in Friday’s preseason game against the Panthers, the Patriots offense appeared to get into more of a rhythm. When asked if that faster tempo would be a theme throughout the season, Amendola indicated it did give the offense some options.
“We made some good plays on that drive,” Amendola said. “We didn’t get what we wanted to get done on the previous couple drives, but we got points going into the half and we got some good work. We played at a higher tempo on that drive so we got some looks that we wanted to see, guys made plays when we needed them to and it was a positive going into the locker room.”
With Rob Gronkowski sitting out the rest of the preseason, Amendola said the offense will continue to do what it always does on the field even without his gigantic presence.
“No doubt, Gronk is a huge part of the offense,” Amendola said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that can make plays on this offense too. [Scott] Chandler made some plays, [Michael Hoomanawanui] made some plays.
“We’re focused on what we need to do, specifically trying to [learn] our routes and [make] our conversions and stuff like that. There’s no doubt Gronk’s one of the best in the league. He’s our best player, he’s the league’s best tight end.”
For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.
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|Resetting Patriots depth chart at wide receiver||08.25.15 at 9:27 am ET|
With Monday’s addition of Reggie Wayne, the decision to place Brandon Gibson on season-ending injured reserve and the decision to waive Brian Tyms (with an injury designation), it’s a good time to reset the Patriots depth chart at wide receiver, and what it all means going forward:
Julian Edelman: The unquestioned No. 1 receiver in the New England offense, if he’s healthy. While he was around for the first few camp practices, he’s been limited pretty much since the start of the preseason schedule. He’s missed both preseason games to this point in the summer. Danny Amendola has done well to fill Edelman’s (mostly) slot role this summer, and that time has actually appeared to help create an even greater cohesiveness between the quarterback and Amendola, particularly on those short routes over the middle that Edelman has thrived on in recent years.
Brandon LaFell: Once he was able to overcome a slow start, LaFell went on to have a terrific season with the Patriots, evolving nicely into a dependable intermediate (and occasional deep) threat who could provide a different dynamic to the New England passing game. However, he’s a colossal wild card at this point in the summer — he was in a protective boot for a sizable portion of the offseason, he started training camp on PUP, and has yet to step onto the practice field. If he’s able to get out there, he’s the closest thing this offense has to a No. 2 receiver. If not (and if he’s healthy enough in his own right), Reggie Wayne might move into LaFell’s old role on a part-time basis, as there is some offensive redundancy there. There’s also the chance that LaFell doesn’t start the regular-season on PUP, as the Patriots will have some roster flexibility because of LeGarrette Blount’s one-game ban to start the year. It’s also important to note that they’ve also simply utilized a 52-man roster in some similar cases as well while waiting for a guy to return to full strength. Stay tuned.
Danny Amendola: We’d consider Amendola the No. 3 receiver behind Edelman and LaFell. Standing 5-foot-11 and weighing 190 pounds, the 29-year-old has parlayed a terrific finish to the 2014 regular season (as well as playoffs) to slam-dunk spot on the 2015 roster. Prior to Week 16 against the Jets last year, Amendola had 15 catches for 113 yards and one touchdown. In the last five games of the year (including the playoffs), he had 23 catches for 224 yards and three touchdowns, all while appearing to win back the trust of quarterback Tom Brady. While he managed to hoover up some of Edelman’s snaps at the slot position when he went down earlier this summer, he does have the positional versatility needed to play different spots. And despite the strong work from Harper, he still figures to be the No. 1 choice at the kick return spot this season.
Reggie Wayne: Even though the franchise hasn’t announced the move quite yet, Bill Belichick all but confirmed the news in a Monday afternoon appearance on WEEI. While it’s unclear what sort of role he’ll have with the Patriots and whether or not the soon-to-be-37-year-old has the skills to hold up over the course of a 16-game season, he’d likely provide some support when it comes to intermediate and deep routes. He’ll also provide some insurance in the short-term if LaFell is unable to go to start the season.
|Danny Amendola looks forward to Reggie Wayne, ‘heart sank’ for Brandon Gibson||08.24.15 at 6:31 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It was a day of highs and lows for Danny Amendola.
The first news of the day wasn’t good as he found out when he arrived at Gillette Stadium that good friend and teammate Brandon Gibson was done for the season with a left knee injury, sustained Saturday night in New Orleans.
Amendola and Gibson played together for four seasons in St. Louis, including in 2011 for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Amendola was excited to hear the news in the offseason that the Patriots were signing Gibson to add to a receiving corps at the time that included himself, Julian Edelman, Brian Tyms and Brandon LaFell.
“It’s really unfortunate. He’s a great football player,” Amendola said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll get his knee back and rehab it and get back out there as soon as he can. Brandon and I have formed a strong relationship over the past five, six years that we’ve been together. Obviously, my heart sank when I found out the news. He has a lot of support in our room. We’ve all got his back. His spirits are high.”
Gibson led the Patriots with eight catches on nine targets and 68 yards on Saturday night before injuring his left knee in the fourth quarter.
|Danny Amendola on M&F: Jimmy Garoppolo ‘knows his way around the locker room’||08.17.15 at 12:55 pm ET|
Patriots wideout Danny Amendola checked in with Merloni & Fauria as part of WEEI’s Patriots Monday to discuss his role with the team and Jimmy Garoppolo’s progression throughout training camp. To hear the interview, go to the Merloni & Fauria audio on demand page.
Amendola was complimentary about Garoppolo’s development in training camp, highlighting his work ethic and experience as a second-year player.
“He knows his way around the locker room,” Amendola said. “It’s his second year, so he’s more acclimated with the team [and] with the guys. It’s not his rookie year anymore. It’s hard for any rookie coming in to try to grasp the ways of the NFL. That’s why the veterans are in the locker room, to help him and get him on the right track. … In terms of on-the-field stuff, Jimmy’s done a great job of adapting and learning. He works really hard so he’s out there to get better every day. He’s a professional and he comes in ready to work and learn and be there for his teammates. It’s been a really great thing to see so far.”
As the Patriots prepare to practice with the Saints at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia this week, Amendola said it will provide an opportunity to improve against a solid opponent.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to get out and play against another team,” Amendola said. “It’s good football at a high level and we get a chance to hit somebody else, so it’s quality football and everybody’s getting better.”
Following his late-season surge in 2014, Amendola expects to perform as well if not better than last year.
“Given the opportunity, I think I can play at a high level,” Amendola said. “My job is to go out there and do whatever the coaches ask me to do, and that’s what I’ve been doing. I work and try to expand my role in whatever that may be, but ultimately my job is to go out there and do whatever the coaches put me on.”
For Amendola, gaining the trust of Tom Brady is a requirement and not something that happens overnight.
“It’s a must, regardless of what team or what position you’re playing on,” Amendola said. “Whether you’re a running back, receiver or tight end, you want to gain the trust of all your teammates to assure them that you’re going to be in the right spot at the right time. And that’s why these reps in camp and these reps in OTAs … are so valuable. That’s why we work as hard as we do. Things like that come with time.”
|Mike Petraglia, Chris Price on Jimmy Garoppolo, Danny Amendola, NFL officials||08.07.15 at 9:01 pm ET|
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price recap another busy day of news at Patriots training camp on Friday. There was the good and bad of Jimmy Garoppolo, the sensational catch from Danny Amendola, the departure of LeGarrette Blount with a leg issue and the visit of NFL officials, including back judge Tony Steratore discussing ball inflation protocols and the move by Bill Belichick to use an “ineligible receiver” against the Ravens in the AFC divisional game last January.
FOXBORO — With Tom Brady‘s playing status at the beginning of the season still up the air, Brady and backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo have received a number of reps throwing to the entire wide receiving core.
Amendola, now in his third year with the Patriots, said he doesn’t notice a difference with who is throwing him the ball.
“No difference. They’re both great,” Amendola said. “Just worried about catching it, whoever is throwing it.”
Garoppolo saw action in just six games as a rookie, going 19-for-27 for 182 yards and a touchdown. He’s appeared to struggle at times over the first week of camp, but Amendola noted he’s working hard on getting better each day.
“He’s learning. Every day he’s trying to get better everyday and that’s all you can ask for,” he said.
In Friday’s practice session, Amendola made a fantastic one-handed diving catch up the left side line in a drill from Garoppolo, which arguably was the best catch in camp to this point. After the catch he jumped up and fired the ball into the crowd. He said he had it all the way.
“Yeah. Mmhmm,” he said.
With it being a week into camp and practicing for four straight days to this point, it’s getting to the “dog days” of camp status where it becomes a grind practicing hard day after day. The receiver said it’s something he enjoys.
“It’s a tough camp. It’s physically tough, but that’s what coach demands,” Amendola said. “I love coming out each day and walking in the locker room feeling like — you feel like you got better everyday.”
It’s been an up-and-down first two seasons in New England for Amendola as he battled injuries throughout his first season catching 54 passes for 633 yards and two touchdowns in 2013. Last year he had trouble fitting into the offense until the end of the season where he made a few special teams plays and significant offense contributions leading into and in the playoffs.
Going into Week 16 against the Jets, Amendola had just 15 catches for 113 yards and one touchdown, but in the five games following (including three playoff games) he had 23 catches for 224 yards and three touchdowns.
Amendola would seemingly hope to build on the end of last season, but he’s not too concerned about his role.
“Just whatever coach asks me to do,” Amendola said. “Just like any other year.”
|Countdown to Camp: Wide receivers||07.21.15 at 9:27 am ET|
As training camp approaches, we’ll offer a position-by-position breakdown of the 2015 Patriots. We open with a look at wide receiver.
Depth chart (2014 regular-season stats via Pro Football Reference): Danny Amendola (27 catches, 42 targets, 200 yards, 1 TD), Josh Boyce (none), Aaron Dobson (3 catches, 5 targets, 38 yards), Julian Edelman (92 catches, 134 targets, 972 yards, 4 TDs), Brandon Gibson (29 catches, 51 targets, 295 yards, 1 TD with Miami), Chris Harper (none), Jonathan Krause (none), Brandon LaFell (74 catches, 119 targets, 953 yards 7 TDs), Brian Tyms (5 catches, 11 targets, 82 yards, 1 TD).
THREE THINGS WE KNOW
1. This is a big summer for Aaron Dobson. Heading into his third year in the league, the Marshall product acknowledged this spring he was excited to put 2014 season behind him. Last year, he started slow because of an offseason foot issue and by the time he was able to get on the field consistently he had been surpassed on the depth chart by a group of pass catchers, including Brandon LaFell. He did get back to live action, but ended up shutting it down for good after a hamstring injury in the November loss to Green Bay. The 24-year-old, who had one of the best rookie seasons for any receiver during the Tom Brady era (37 catches, 519 yards, 4 TDs), was able to show some good things over the course of the spring workouts with LaFell on the shelf. With camp just around the corner, he needs to be able to build on those successes if he wants to regain his spot as a key member of the New England passing game.
2. Brandon LaFell is more than just a good blocker. One of the more underwhelming free agent signings of last offseason, the 6-foot-2, 208-pound LaFell came to New England with a rep as a quality blocker, as well as the ability to occasionally show good hands and separation speed. And after a slow start (averaging two catches for 37 yards over the first five games of the season), he really came on nicely as a pass catcher and proved to be a dependable option for Brady, particularly when it came to intermediate routes. He ended the year with six games of six or more receptions, including an October win over the Bears where he finished with 11 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown. Among regular receivers, he led the team in yards per reception (12.9 yards per catch) and enters the 2015 campaign as the only seasoned deep threat on the roster. Provided he’s past the offseason foot surgery (he missed spring workouts, and was spotted in a walking boot), he figures to be an important part of the Patriots’ passing game in 2015.
3. For the second straight year, Julian Edelman is the closest thing the Patriots have to a No. 1 receiver. We said as much at the start of the 2014 season, and it was proven over the course of another year for the college quarterback. While there was plenty to like about his performance over the course of the regular season, he saved his biggest performance for the playoffs, where he became a household name: In all, he finished the postseason as the league’s leading receiver in several areas, including most catches with 26, most targets with 37, most receiving yards with 281 and most touchdown passes by a wide receiver (one, a memorable connection with Amendola in the divisional playoffs against the Ravens). His playoff resume now includes an astounding effort in the Super Bowl against the Seahawks, where he finished with nine catches on 12 targets for 109 yards and a touchdown. Those nine catches included a pair of third-down pickups in the fourth quarter that helped keep late drives alive — with one reception punctuated by a bone-rattling hit from Seattle defensive back Kam Chancellor. Brady, who has become his BFF, called him a “phenomenal player” who earned every ounce of praise he received. “It’s great to see it, and I’m just real proud of him,” added the quarterback the day after Super Bowl XLIX.
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