|Danny Amendola: Tom Brady is ‘going to be juiced up’ vs. Browns||10.05.16 at 4:10 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Although Tom Brady didn’t speak Wednesday, his teammates did for him.
One of those was wide receiver Danny Amendola, who is happy to get his quarterback back following his four-game suspension.
“We’re excited to have our friend back,” Amendola said. “And he’s a good football player. … Obviously, everyone’s psyched, for sure.”
Added Amendola: “He looks great. Tan, happy, pumped and we’re all really excited to get to work.”
Sunday in Cleveland will be Brady’s first real game since last year’s AFC championship game loss in Denver, 20-18. Given it’s been almost nine months since the game, Amendola believes Brady will be fired up for the game.
“I mean, he’s going to be juiced up,” Amendola said. “We’re all going to be ready. We’re all going to be juiced up. We’re going to have a lot of good energy out there.”
As for Brady potentially being rusty being away from the team for four weeks, Amendola doesn’t think that will be the case.
“I don’t really expect him to be too rusty,” he said. “I know he’s been hard at work. I know he hasn’t been here, but he’s been working hard wherever he’s been. That’s no secret to me.”
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|Danny Amendola on OM&F talks pregame scuffle with Bills: ‘It pissed me off. … I’m not going to forget about that’||10.03.16 at 12:53 pm ET|
Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Monday following the Patriots’ 16-0 loss to the Bills and talked about the pregame scuffle between the two teams. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.
During pregame warmups, Jacoby Brissett and Malcolm Mitchell ran on to the Bills’ side of the field and back as part of their routine, but the Bills defensive backs didn’t like it as they shoved Brissett forcing Mitchell to come to the defensive of his quarterback. Coaches got involved and even were shoved by Bills players.
Although he only saw what happened on video Monday morning, Amendola said he’s not going to forget what happened.
“It pissed me off to tell you the truth,” he said. “I’m not going to forget about that.”
Added Amendola: “I just heard they got into it and to be ready to go. I’m always ready to play this team.”
The Patriots wide receiver said Mitchell, a rookie, did the right thing by protecting his quarterback and Amendola wished he could have been there.
“He did the right thing. I would have done the same thing,” Amendola said. “I wish I could have been there, too.”
The two teams will meet again Oct. 30 in Buffalo and it appears the Patriots already have the game circled on their calendars.
“Yeah, for sure,” Amendola said. “I saw that video this morning and it pissed me off to tell you the truth — pushing coaching and [stuff] like that.”
During the week Rex Ryan mocked the Patriots and Bill Belichick, including impersonating a reporter to ask Julian Edelman a question on a conference call. Amendola doesn’t appear to be a big Ryan fan.
“I don’t know Rex Ryan. I don’t interact with him,” Amendola said. “I’ve spoken to him maybe once and I will keep that between me and him, but I don’t really see eye-to-eye with him too much.”
The Patriots get Tom Brady back from his four-game suspension on Monday and Amendola is ready to welcome him back with open arms.
“I just got here and I am about to give a hug and welcome him back,” he said. “I haven’t talked to him in awhile, so.”
|Scouting Report: What you have to know about Bills-Patriots||10.01.16 at 11:32 am ET|
What you have to know when it comes to Sunday’s Bills-Patriots game at Gillette Stadium.
WHEN THE PATRIOTS RUN THE BALL
For one more game — at least until You Know Who returns — this is the unquestioned strength of the New England offense. The Patriots lead the league in rushing, and LeGarrette Blount (75 carries, 298 yards, four touchdowns) is the top individual rusher in the NFL after three weeks. From this viewpoint, if Jimmy Garoppolo plays, that could mean the Patriots will rely more on the passing game, and by association, more on the likes of Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski. If Jacoby Brissett is under center, look for them to pack it in, rely on more big formations with extra tight ends and fullback James Develin and lean on Blount just as much as they have done over the course of the first three games. It’s worth noting that over the course of his career, Blount has enjoyed limited success against Buffalo with a nice yards per carry average, but has never really been cut loose: in five career games against the Bills, Blount has averaged just 12 carries and 65 yards a game, but has a whopping 5.53 yards per carry. That could change this week. On the other side, the Bills are tied for 15th in the league in run defense, having allowed an average of 98 rushing yards per game. (The Jets hit them for 123 yards on the ground in a Week Two win in Buffalo.)
WHEN THE PATRIOTS PASS THE BALL
There’s so much uncertainty here for the second straight week, I’m almost tempted to leave this section blank. Everyone knows the story: it’s either going to be Garoppolo (42-for-59, 496 yards, four touchdowns and a passer rating of 119) and his right shoulder, or Brissett (17-for-28, 61 percent, 195 yards, 81.7 passer rating) and his thumb. Our guy Kirk Minihane said that it’s going to be Garoppolo. But as previously stated, the game plan is going to depend on who’s out there — if it’s Garoppolo, more pass attempts, if it’s Brissett, more of a run-based attack. But regardless of who’s under center on Sunday, when it comes to the passing game, the Patriots will rely on the likes of Julian Edelman (18 catches, 24 targets, 180 yards), Danny Amendola (9 catches, 10 targets, 138 yards, one TD) and Chris Hogan (8 catches, 13 targets, 122 yards, one TD) and tight ends Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett (10 catches, 14 targets, 138 yards, one TD).
Buffalo is 22nd in the league against the pass (285 yards per game allowed), but one of their strengths of this group is its ability to take advantage of things when an opponent becomes a one-dimensional team. Last week, the Bills were able to get up early on the Cardinals and force them to pass to get back into it. As a result, they became the first team in the NFL since 2013 to come away with four fourth-quarter picks. Overall, they have second takeaways (four picks and three fumble recoveries) and just two giveaways (both fumbles). That plus-five is good enough to tie them for third in the league, and trail only Minnesota (plus-8) and Philadelphia (plus-six). When it comes to getting after the passer, outside linebacker Jerry Hughes (three sacks) is probably their best pure rusher. As a ream, they’re tied for third in sacks with 10.
WHEN THE BILLS RUN THE BALL
This was clearly the strength of the Buffalo offense through the first three games, and now, with wide receiver Sammy Watkins (foot) on the sidelines, it’s even more the case. The Buffalo running game is powered by LeSean McCoy, a speedy, multidimensional back who can stress a defense as a slashing runner who can also catch the ball out of the backfield. “Shady” has 227 yards on 48 carries (4.7 yards per carry) and three touchdowns through three games, to go along with 13 catches for 98 yards. McCoy had a pair of touchdowns and his first 100-yard rushing game Sunday against Arizona. Buffalo will also mix in some designed runs for quarterback Tyrod Taylor (16 carries, 112 yards, one touchdown).
On the other side of the ball, the Patriots have done well against the run for two-thirds of the first three games of the season. Things kind of got away from them in the second half against the Cardinals, a game where New England yielded 92 rushing yards, most of them to David Johnson, a back whose skill set does bear some resemblance to McCoy. While statistically, the game against the Texans represented a season-high in terms of rushing yards allowed — 109 — much of that came when the game was no longer in doubt, so we’ll excuse those numbers. The fact those numbers have come without Dont’a Hightower in the lineup for the last two games is a good sign for the Patriots, and from this viewpoint, if he’s out there on Sunday, it’ll go a long way toward taking away Buffalo’s offensive strength.
WHEN THE BILLS PASS THE BALL
Numbers can be bent any way you want, but the truth is that if you want to stop the Bills, stack the line of scrimmage with an eye toward containing McCoy and make Taylor to beat you over the top. Taylor is in the bottom half of the league when it comes to most major passing categories — he’s completed 47-of-77 pass attempts (61 percent) for 527 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions through three games. Taylor has cracked the 100-yard passing mark through the air in only one of his three games (297 yards against the Jets), and in three career games against the Patriots, he’s 0-3 while going 44-for-70 (63 percent), 477 yards and three touchdowns, four interceptions and a passer rating of 73.3. McCoy leads the team in catches, but without Watkins, expect Taylor to also lean on wide receiver Robert Woods (11 catches, 15 targets, 81 yards) and tight end Charles Clay (seven catches 12 targets, 67 yards). The Patriots’ pass defense is 18th in the league, having allowed an average of 271 passing yards per game. In terms of the challenges that have been presented to the New England pass defense to this point in the season, the Bills are easily the weakest of the bunch.
|Danny Amendola to those surprised by 3-0 start: ‘We don’t really worry about what people say outside the building’||09.27.16 at 10:18 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots were never worried about how they would do without Tom Brady as their quarterback for the first four weeks.
That’s because players like Danny Amendola believe in the system and trust the coaching staff inside Gillette Stadium so thoroughly that no challenge is too big.
In three wins, the Patriots have come out and established their will and their game plan. Against Arizona, the Patriots jumped to leads of 10-0 and 17-7. Against the Dolphins, they were up 24-0 and against the Texans, the Patriots were never threatened and cruised to a 27-0 win.
“We don’t really worry about what people say outside the building,” Amendola said. “The coaches have been here for a long time. They have kind of a program instilled in this organization. The guys that come in believe in that and trust it. We truly take it week-to-week and day-to-day and this week is no different.”
Amendola has been one of the underrated stars early on, after not playing a single snap in the preseason and coming off the PUP the week before the season opener against the Cardinals.
Amendola has caught nine passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns in three games. He entered the season after a spring and summer of rehab from knee and ankle procedures. After three games in 11 days to start the season, Amendola and the rest of the team had some valuable resting time over the weekend.
“It was good. I got to watch some football, college and professional so it was a good weekend,” Amendola said Tuesday. “You have one [Thursday game] a year and it’s scheduled that way. You prepare for it all year. I find it a little weird that we get so much time, at least a day and a half, two days off to sit around the house and watch football. You feel like you’re missing something. It’s cool to get your legs back under you and mentally take a little break and then get back at it on Tuesday, which is normally our off day. It’ll be a little longer week this week and a lot of time for us to prepare and get ready.
|Julian Edelman on OM&F: ‘Any time you get a win in this league it feels unbelievable’||09.26.16 at 12:01 pm ET|
Julian Edelman checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Monday to discuss the Patriots’ 27-0 over the Texans last Thursday and also to look ahead to this Sunday’s game against the Bills To hear the interview, go to the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria audio on demand page.
The Patriots were able to blowout the Texans Thursday night with rookie third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett leading the way. Edelman said any time the team wins a game it feels good, no matter what the circumstances are.
“Any time you get a win in this league it feels unbelievable,” Edelman said. “When you’re down a player with a guy hurt, or a guy is not playing who is a big-time player and you scrap and get a win, that’s just showing the mental toughness of a team. Of course it’s good, but winning any game in this league — it doesn’t matter who is there or who is not there — it’s so satisfying because you put so much time and effort into that one game. It’s not like other sports where you can take off five games and you can take off a game here and there, every game matters in the National Football League. Regardless of the situation, it’s always fun and the team is excited to get a win.
“On the other note, you have to move on because there’s only 16 games. It’s fun for those couple hours and that day or so and the long weekend because of the baby bye weekend, but you have to move on and we have a division game staring us right in the face against a team that got a big time win over a good opponent last week. It’s fun, but you have to get back to work.”
Edelman gave credit to the coaching staff for getting everyone to buy in and also talked about how the winning attitude is apparent throughout the organization.
“We have a coaching staff that works its tails off and what they are really good at is taking the players they have and using their strengths and going out and being able to call a game,” he said. “I’ll tell you right now, it’s not just the coaching staff, it’s also the players and the guys buying in. It’s the attitudes of everyone — the equipment guys, the people that are cooking for us — it’s just like a good attitude right now. That’s what winning does. It gets that whole complementary style and it’s what we’re trying to do.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|Target Practice: Danny Amendola continues remarkable run of reliability in passing game||at 11:19 am ET|
Targets have been compiled by the NFL since the start of the 2009 season, and while it remains a vaguely imperfect stat — a badly thrown ball from a quarterback can often go against the record of the receiver as opposed to the quarterback — it remains a good indication of the confidence level a passer or coach might have in said pass catcher. With all that in mind, here’s a look at the target breakdown through the first three games of the regular season.
WR Danny Amendola: 9 catches on 10 targets (90 percent)
WR Julian Edelman: 18 catches on 24 targets (75 percent)
TE Martellus Bennett: 10 catches on 14 targets (71 percent)
RB James White: 8 catches on 12 targets (67 percent)
WR Chris Hogan: 8 catches on 13 targets (62 percent)
WR Malcolm Mitchell: 4 catches on 9 targets (44 percent)
RB D.J. Foster: 1 catch on 2 targets (50 percent)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo: 1 catch on 1 target (100 percent)
WR Matthew Slater: 0 catches on 1 target (0 percent)
TE Rob Gronkowski: 1 catches on 1 target (0 percent)
In his last 19 regular-season games, Amendola has caught 74 of the last 97 passes thrown in his direction for a remarkable 76.3 percent catch rate. It’s the highest rate for any wide receiver with at least 90 targets in that span. For the record, Keenan Allen at 76 percent and Doug Baldwin at 75.4 percent are just off the pace. In that same span, Julian Edelman has a 71.2 percent catch rate, second-best among the Patriots’ receivers.
Through three weeks, no team has run it better than the New England Patriots.
They are averaging 150.7 yards per game and 4.19 yards each time they don’t pass. Those two stats are key reasons why they are 3-0 without Tom Brady.
For all the credit the offensive line and coach Dante Scarnecchia has rightfully earned over the first three games for their efforts in run blocking, the key to the production might very well lie on the outside.
Tight end Martellus Bennett was a huge factor in the run game in the win over the Cardinals.
“I was just trying to whoop their ass all day,” the tight end said after the Patriots ran for 106 yards on 31 carries in a Week 1 win.
In wins over the Dolphins and Texans, LeGarrette Blount bounced outside several times, including a run of 26 yards against the Dolphins and dashes of 41 and 14 yards against the Texans. Jacoby Brissett even raced outside for a 27-yard touchdown run.
The runs to the outside aren’t successful without a combination of the offensive line doing its job at the initial point of attack and the tight ends and receivers blocking at the secondary or perimeter levels.
Malcolm Mitchell executed a block downfield that sprung Brissett into the end zone. Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola were big factors on Thursday night. Rob Gronkowski has always taken great pride in his blocking, and is rightfully considered one of the premiere blocking tight ends in football.