In March of 2013, the New England Patriots acquired Danny Amendola via free agency after the departure of long-time, and extremely productive receiver Wes Welker. Patriots fans were irate with the decision, seeing how Welker had fought through injury throughout his six-year Patriots career and hardly missed any time.
On the other hand, Amendola had missed a total of twenty-two games in four seasons with the St. Louis Rams for various injuries, including a serious collar bone injury that could have taken his life. Amendola entered Foxborough the same way he entered Texas Tech, taking over for a record breaking Wes Welker at slot receiver.
Amendola’s first year and a half in Foxborough was tough and frustrating for himself and the fans. Not only did he struggle to stay healthy, which was his biggest question mark heading in, he also could not get on the same page as Tom Brady. He was the polar opposite of Wes Welker at the beginning.
Amendola’s career really jump started in week seven of last season against the New York Jets on a rainy Thursday night at Gillette Stadium. The score was 20-19 in the fourth quarter, and the Patriots were hanging on to the lead by the skin of their teeth. On a third and nineteen play, Tom Brady rolled out of the pocket to his left side and looked as if he was just firing the ball into the back of the end zone, when out of nowhere Amendola snagged the ball out of the air while getting hit by Jets safety Antonio Allen, for a touchdown. The Patriots prevailed in the end with a 27-25 victory.
That single play helped carry Amendola throughout the season, and particularly into the postseason. In three playoff games Amendola finished with eleven receptions, for 137 yards, and three touchdowns. The divisional round against the Baltimore Ravens is where Amendola contributed the most.
In the fourth quarter the Patriots faced a huge third down play while trailing 31-28. Brady fired a quick out-route to Amendola, and he then shook off Baltimore defenders to dive over the first-down marker, setting up a fresh set of downs. The Patriots would later score on a touchdown reception from Brandon LaFell, which gave the team the lead 35-31, the score they would win by.
Of course Amendola’s most notable moments came in the end zone. His second touchdown of the Baltimore game from Julian Edelman which tied the game up at twenty-eight.His second touchdown of the Baltimore game from Julian Edelman which tied the game up at twenty-eight. Then about three weeks later, Amendola helped bring the Patriots back into Super Bowl XLIX, finding the end zone to narrow the Seattle lead to 24-21 in the fourth quarter.
Going into the 2015 season, Amendola looked set to be the number three receiver on the Patriots roster. However, with Brandon LaFell still on the physically unable to perform list, and Julian Edelman fighting injuries, Amendola has received more first team reps and targets from Tom Brady than any other Patriots wide receiver.
This increased amount of reps and comfort with the starting quarterback could very well lead to Danny Amendola’s first full season where he is a productive player on the Patriots roster. He brings a lot to the table. He has the ability to play in the slot, and also at times catch the ball outside of the numbers. In addition, his most underrated trait is his ability to run block. Last season, Josh McDaniels called a lot of sweep plays to the outside where Amendola would come down and stalk block on a defensive back.
Furthermore, Amendola was without a doubt the Patriots best kick returner in 2014. He came onto the scene in week twelve against Detroit where he had two very solid returns that helped jump start the Patriots offense.
In conclusion, now that Danny Amendola is a, “made-man” in the Patriots offense, he can now be apart of a plethora of targets that should be one of the league’s best offenses. With the contributions of All-Pro Rob Gronkowski, and the reliable Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell, and now you can throw in Amendola who could bring in about sixty receptions, the Patriots offense should be lethal.