FOXBORO, Mass. — Out of the current wide receivers on the Patriots’ roster, only Julian Edelman, Kamar Aiken and Matthew Slater have any experience with the New England offense.
Newcomer Danny Amendola may have a step on the rest of the new wideouts in New England, though. Amendola spent a year with Josh McDaniels in St. Louis, although he only played one game after sustaining an injury.
“It’s familiar,” Amendola said of the Patriots’ playbook. “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. I’m learning it every day.”
The wide receivers are taking a group approach to learning the complex New England playbook. That’s something Donald Jones spoke about last week during his first meeting with the media.
“Everybody’s new, so everybody’s working together so that we can learn the playbook together,” Jones said. “It’s not like one guy is coming in and every guy is above him in terms of the playbook and things like that. Everybody’s coming in at the same level.”
Amendola seconded that notion after the Patriots’ second OTAs practice.
“You’ve got questions in meetings,” Amendola said. “You kind of thrive off each other. It’s definitely a group atmosphere. It’s a group effort. It’s the way it goes.”
The Patriots’ free agent signings and rookies are depending on Edelman, Aiken and Slater to show them the ropes around Foxboro. That doesn’t just mean learning the playbook, but knowing what to expect in practice.
“There’s a couple guys here that have been here for a while. But we’re really leaning on them to show us the ropes in the drills and in practice,” Amendola said. “We had a really good group I feel like. We have some guys coming from other teams with a lot of experience. It’s exciting to see what we’re going to be able to do.”
Amendola doesn’t just feel like the new kid in school at practice. He joked that he’s getting lost walking around the Gillette Stadium facility, as well.
Amendola took a lot of reps at OTAs on Tuesday. He and Michael Jenkins took the most targets from Tom Brady out of any of the wide receivers.
Many veteran wide receivers have had a difficult time grasping the offense in New England, but Amendola seems to be taking the right approach. His time with McDaniels in St. Louis can only help him. Still, it’s different with the Patriots. Nothing seems to come easy for wide receivers in Foxboro.
“It’s the verbage that makes everything,” Amendola said of the Patriots’ offense. “That’s the most important thing. The vocabulary of the offense. I’m learning day in and day out and studying at night and everything. It’s a process.”
It seems that every new Patriots wide receiver knows what they’re getting into in New England, and none of them think it will be simple to pick up the offense. Amendola isn’t letting distractions get in his way, either, like comparisons to Wes Welker.
“It’s not something I need to worry about,” Amendola said about Welker. “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 may be under 6 feet, white and a slot receiver, but that doesn’t mean he has to be Welker. As long as he picks up the playbook quicker than guys like Chad Johnson and Joey Galloway, he’ll have no problem fitting in with the Patriots.
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