Danny Amendola does his job.
Amendola had a huge game Sunday, catching seven passes for 105 yards in the New England Patriots’ 34-27 win over the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. It was Amendola’s first 100-yard receiving game since Dec. 15, 2013, but the Patriots wide receiver tends to leave an impression on New England’s coaching staff even when he’s not posting big numbers in the box score.
“Danny’s been very solid for us all year and really every day, whether it be OTAs, training camp, practice, games,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Tuesday on a conference call. “He’s in great condition. He can run all day. He’s done a good job for us in the return game. He’s done a good job for us offensively.
“Blocking, he’s really made some great blocks. He’s helped spring some guys for some big runs. He’s done an excellent job on third down. He’s done a really good job as we use different formations. He’s a versatile player, smart, makes very few mistakes.
“He’s been a very dependable player for us in really everything we’ve asked him to do and nobody works harder or practices harder than Danny does.”
Amendola already has more receiving yards through five games this season (203) than he had in 16 regular-season games last season (200), mostly because of Sunday’s performance against the Colts. It could be a sign of things to come for Amendola, who restructured his contract over the offseason after two rollercoaster campaigns to open his New England tenure, but the veteran receiver views his breakout effort as a product of hard work and continued preparation rather than extra comfort.
“I felt comfortable when I got here. Just a matter of having the opportunity to make plays,” Amendola said Tuesday. “That’s what we strive for each week, we put a lot of work in each week, and try to get better each week at what we need to get better at and go from there.”
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, like Belichick, couldn’t help but praise Amendola’s work ethic Tuesday when asked about the 29-year-old receiver. He’s seen a lot of growth in Amendola, who spent four semi-productive seasons with the St. Louis Rams — one alongside McDaniels (St. Louis’ offensive coordinator for the 2011 season) — before joining the Patriots.
“I think Danny’s gotten better and better every year we’ve had him,” McDaniels said on a conference call. “I think he’s healthy. He works extremely hard every single week in practice to improve little things in his game. He had a very, very productive offseason, very, very good training camp, and again, it starts with taking care of himself, his body.
“He’s out there every day. He’s working on his craft. He’s improving in a lot of different areas. He’s always been a dependable catcher of the football, and we count on him to do a lot of different things.”
Amendola won’t always receive nine targets, like he did Sunday, especially in an offense that also features the likes of Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman. But he’s making the most of his chances.
And isn’t that the Patriot Way?
Thumbnail photo via Erich Schlegel/USA TODAY Sports Images