|Eagles OC Pat Shurmur: Patriots are ‘lucky to have’ Danny Amendola||08.13.14 at 8:00 am ET|
FOXBORO — Former Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is in his first year in the same capacity with the Eagles. On Tuesday, prior to the joint practices between Philly and the Patriots, he was asked about getting the chance to work with Danny Amendola when Amendola was in St. Louis.
“I was the offensive coordinator and [QB] Sam Bradford was new in the league,” said Shurmur, who was with the Rams in 2009 and 2010. “I think he became the offensive rookie of the year, and he threw Danny about 90 balls that year.
“[Bradford] was smart enough to realize that he was an outstanding player — awesome on special teams for us,” Shurmur added. “I think the Patriots are very lucky to have him. Tough guy. There aren’t many negatives to Danny, so I’ll look forward to seeing him when we get out there [Tuesday].”
|Danny Amendola ‘all good’ with Tom Brady calling receivers ‘pygmies’||08.06.14 at 3:49 pm ET|
After practice Tuesday, Tom Brady was asked if he appreciates throwing to 6-foot-3 Brandon LaFell.
“Absolutely. I’ve got some of the little pygmies out there like Julian and Danny and it’s nice to have a little bigger guy out there from time to time who has a bigger catch radius,” Brady joked. “Hopefully Danny and Julian don’t get mad at me for saying that. They won’t. They know I’m joking.”
Amendola confirmed Brady’s instinct after Wednesday’s walkthrough.
“I did hear that,” Amendola said with a good-natured smile. “I don’t know. It’s all good. I don’t even know what [a pygmy] is.”
That’s why we’re here. A Wikipedia search revealed the following:
A pygmy is a member of an ethnic group whose average height is unusually short; many anthropologists define pygmy as a member of any group where adult men are on average less than 150 cm tall.
For the record, Amendola (180 cm) and Edelman (178 cm) are well above the cutoff. So, how are Edelman, Amendola, LaFell and Thompkins all getting along?
“We’re all boys, we’re all really good friends,” Amendola said. “We work well together and we’re just trying to get better every day.”
Only time will tell if “The Pygmies” will join the ranks of “The Smurfs” and “The Fun Bunch” as other great diminutive receiving corps in NFL lore.
|Tom Brady thanks Wes Welker for mentoring Julian Edelman, develops chemistry with Danny Amendola||08.05.14 at 9:34 pm ET|
After a scorching practice against the Redskins Tuesday in Richmond, Brady thanked Welker for helping to develop Julian Edelman, a working relationship that continues to blossom in the Patriots passing game.
Brady was asked Tuesday if he feels he’s getting close to the same chemistry with Edelman that he had with Welker.
“Well, it’s hard to compare,” Brady said. “I think Wes was such a special player for our team and I was fortunate enough to play with him for that period. But Julian in his own right has worked his tail off. I think he really had a great mentor in Wes, someone he could really look up to.
“They play a little bit similar; different players, but they both work extremely hard. Football is so important to the both of them and I think that really wore off on Julian. Julian has worked his tail off to get where he’s at. I think he’s really taken advantage of every opportunity that he’s gotten, Julian has. I’m really proud of him. He keeps coming out and making plays and he’s done such a great job being so dependable and reliable for our team, it’s great to have him.”
What has been obvious so far in training camp practices is that Brady’s favorite target not named Rob Gronkowski is Edelman. Brady and Edelman have been clicking. Edelman has made play after play and Brady has rewarded him by looking in his direction time after time.
That doesn’t mean Brady won’t poke a little fun at Edelman and Danny Amendola, who showed flashes of brilliance on Tuesday in the marathon practice in Richmond.
“I’ve got some of the little pygmies out there like Julian and Danny and it’s nice to have a little bigger guy out there from time to time who has a bigger catch radius,” Brady said. “Hopefully, Danny and Julian don’t get mad at me for saying that. They won’t. They know I’m joking.”
That “little bigger guy” Brady refers to is Brandon LaFell, who has been getting a few more looks on the first team when not catching passes from Ryan Mallett.
“He keeps making more plays,” Brady said of LaFell. “He’s done a great job. Today he made a lot of plays out there. He’s understanding better and better. He’s a veteran. He’s savvy, knows how to run the routes, big body, big frame, makes a lot of tough catches.”
RICHMOND, Va. — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia has the details from Day 2 of joint practices between the Patriots and Washington Redskins. Among the highlights, Vince Wilfork intercepted Robert Griffin III, Darrelle Revis knocked away a TD pass from DeSean Jackson and Tom Brady found a groove with Danny Amendola.
|Tuesday practice report: Tom Brady, Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman show off chemistry, Vince Wilfork, Darrelle Revis show off hands||at 5:49 pm ET|
RICHMOND, Va. — In the longest and hottest practice of training camp, the Patriots worked in pads against the Redskins for two hours, 45 minutes before cooling down.
Both teams worked up-tempo offensive drills.
Rob Gronkowski was again absent from the practice. Running back Brandon Bolden, receiver Aaron Dobson and center Bryan Stork were again absent. Matthew Slater took part in receiving drills, including red zone chances. Each offense had approximately 90 reps on the day. Alfonzo Dennard took part in individual drills but later joined Deontae Skinner and James Morris on the back field for conditioning work.
Here are some quick takeaways:
Tom Brady and Julian Edelman have looked good all summer working together but Tuesday may have been their best day yet, connecting on a variety of seam routes and sideline patters as the offense worked specifically on hurry-up and no-huddle execution. Danny Amendola also looked good, including early on when, after a Brady incompletion, Brady found Amendola twice, Shane Vereen once and Kenbrell Thompkins. The series ended with Brady connecting with a wide open Amendola down the left sideline for a touchdown.
Later, Brady fired a timing pass on an in cut to Edelman who made the catch and was popped slightly by Keenan Robinson. Edelman’s response was to get up and yell ‘Whooooo’ in Robinson’s ear hole. Brady and Edelman continue to show chemistry as Brady released the ball before Edelman made his cut. Edelman later caught a touchdown pass from Brady in 11-on-11 drills.
On defense, Vince Wilfork and Darrelle Revis provided the highlights. Early on, Wilfork intercepted a pass from Robert Griffin III, much to the surprise and delight of the several thousand Patriots fans in attendance. For the record, it was the second straight day of over 21,000 attendance at Bon Secours training complex. Later, Griffin attempted to connect with DeSean Jackson but Revis was all over the receiver in coverage and batted the pass away cleanly, though Griffin said later he thought there might have been interference on Revis on the play.
Wilfork participated in the early and later 11-on-11 drills while Zach Moore filled in for him during up-tempo and hurry-up situations. Another good sign that Wilfork is ready to go this season and recovered from his Achilles injury came when he rushed upfield later in practice and slipped to the ground. He immediately got up and ran to the sideline as part of a scheduled substitution and return several plays later as part of his regular rotation.
Despite the intense heat and humidity, there were no significant dustups or scuffles on the long day.
Patriots defensive lineman Sealver Siliga left early on with an apparent left hand injury. He returned to the field without his shoulder pads in the final 15 minutes.
The two teams will likely take it down a notch on Wednesday morning, with a walkthrough taking the place of a full scrimmage. The two teams will open the preseason Thursday in Landover, Md. at FedEx Field.
|Danny Amendola on MFB: ‘We’re vibing on offense’||07.30.14 at 1:18 pm ET|
“I’m feeling good,” said Amendola, who battled injuries throughout 2013, his first season in New England. “I’m running around, feeling real strong, feeling healthy and ready to go.”
Injuries aside, Amendola was able to adapt to the Patriots system, something other receivers have struggled to do. However, Amendola made it clear there’s plenty of work ahead.
“This playbook’s constantly evolving,” Amendola said. “We try to change stuff up every day and progress and get better. I’m learning. Everybody’s out here learning every day, trying to get better. We’re seeing some good things out there. We’re competing. We’re vibing on offense, trying to compete with the defense to try to get better every day.”
There have been some intense battles between the receivers and the defensive backs early in training camp. Amendola said there’s a lot of trash-talking but no lingering hard feelings.
“It’s very competitive. It gets heated at times. But at the end of the day we’re brothers and we’re family,” he said. “Nothing carries over from the field to the locker room, which is huge, very professional. Everybody out here is trying to get better every day. It’s going to get heated, it’s going to get competitive. But at the end of the day, we’re family.
Rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is under the microscope after the Patriots selected him in the second round of May’s draft.
“He’s doing well. He’s catching on quickly. I know he’s working really hard,” Amendola said. “The coaches are doing a great job of putting him in a position to learn and to get as many reps as he can and make the throws he needs to make. He’s a rookie. He’s getting better.”
For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.
|Brandon LaFell: ‘I haven’t been consistent, I think I am getting better’||07.29.14 at 9:56 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Brandon LaFell is hardly the first offensive player to come to the Patriots and struggle to get with the system. Even last season, Danny Amendola needed several regular season games under his belt before he was comfortable. It’s no secret that learning the Patriots playbook can be a challenge for any player coming over from another organization.
With the complex offense quarterback Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels run, training camp is one of the most important times of the year, especially for wide receivers to get on the same page as their quarterback.
For LaFell, a four-year veteran, he is still in the learning process phase after he was signed by the Patriots on March 17 coming over from Carolina after spending his first four seasons in the NFL with the Panthers. Although it’s only the fifth day of training camp, LaFell feels he is getting better with each passing day.
“I’m getting better and better everyday,” he said. “We put in a lot of plays, every night is study night for me, something I am not used to because in Carolina we ran the same offense for three years so I knew it. It’s a ton of work every night. The more and more I get reps — I started feeling good at the end of minicamp and then we took the long break so now I am trying to get back in the swing of things.”
LaFell, self-admittedly, had a rough first few days of camp with several drops in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 situations, but he’s aware of it and followed that up with a productive day on Tuesday.
“I think I’ve been OK,” said LaFell. “I haven’t been consistent. I started out slow the first couple of days with a few drops, but I picked it up from there so as of now I think I am getting better, but it is still early in camp. I have to learn to be consistent and put good days together back-to-back like the rest of this offense. We need to start putting good days back-to-back and if we continue to that we’ll get better.”
The 6-foot-3, LSU-grad, made possibly the catch of training camp thus far on Tuesday when during passing drills on a deep ball from Brady, he split Malcolm Butler and Nate Ebner in coverage taking the ball away from them in the end zone. The play fired up the offense, Brady in particular, as he met the receiver on his way back to the huddle emphatically patting him on the back.
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