FOXBORO, Mass. — Danny Amendola hasn’t made the kind of regular-season impact that many expected for the New England Patriots, with 81 catches for 833 yards and three touchdowns in 28 games.
However, the receiver did play an important role in the Patriots’ run to a Super Bowl title last season with 11 catches on 16 targets and three touchdowns in three playoff games. Two of those TDs — a third-quarter score on a trick play against the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round and a fourth-quarter score in the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks, were game-changing plays.
Amendola has enjoyed a pretty good training camp so far — he caught a touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the red-zone drill portion of Friday’s practice at Gillette Stadium — and coach Bill Belichick is hopeful.
“Danny had a really good offseason, works hard, has got a good skill set,” Belichick said. “We’ve seen him on offense and as a returner with the ball in his hands. He’s made a lot of big plays for us, made some huge plays last year. But again, just like everybody else, we’re all starting at the bottom working our way up.
“Danny’s worked hard. He’s in good condition. I’m sure he’ll go out there and compete hard on a daily basis and continue to improve. We’ll see how it works out.”
Amendola likely will enter the season opener as the No. 2 or No. 3 wide receiver on the Patriots’ depth chart, but there’s a lot of competition at that position in camp. Some of the younger players, such as Aaron Dobson, are motivated to prove themselves and earn as many reps as possible.
“It’s a bunch of guys out here trying to compete, including myself,” Patriots receiver Julian Edelman said. “You’ve got some veteran players. Everyone has kind of been here for a couple of years at least, so it’s a smart group of guys, but we’re all here just trying to take the coaching here from the classroom and bring it to the grass, to the drills, to the team. It’s a competing group. We’re all competing to try and earn our role.”
Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images