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Patriots - News

Patriots Pre-Training Camp Player Spotlight: WR Danny Amendola



Danny Amendola had a rough first season in New England and will be looking for a better year in 2014. (USA TODAY Images)
2013 Summary:

For Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola, he faced a monumental uphill battle from the time he agreed to terms with New England back on March 14, 2013.   The news of his signing came just hours after fans learned Wes Welker had joined Peyton Manning in Denver, which led to expectations that were far higher than Amendola could have ever hoped to live up to given who he was replacing.

To make matters worse, he was essentially battling himself and his own body, which was the one thing that so far had let him down during each of the two seasons prior to becoming a member of the Patriots.  That had the doubters wondering if he could stay healthy for an entire season and unfortunately for Amendola, 2013 didn't prove to be any better after he suffered a groin injury late during training camp that would ultimately hamper him for most of the campaign.

He put together a memorable outing after re-aggravating it in the first half during their Week 1 battle in Buffalo, but still some how managed to come up with an impressive performance in the final two quarters.  He finished with 10 catches for 104 yrds, including a huge second half where he caught 7-of-8 passes for 64 yards along with six first downs, three of which came on the final drive of the game to help seal the win.

Unfortunately gutting out that contest cost him the next three games and for the most part he never seemed like himself for the rest of the year.  He finished the season with 54 catches for 633 yards and two touchdowns, but was nearly non-existent in the postseason after catching just three passes for 77 yards against the Colts in the Divisional round, followed by none against the Broncos during the AFC Championship Game in Denver.

Best Game of 2013:

Amendola's best overall performance of the season was his week one showing, although his performance down in Miami in Week 15 was nearly equal after he hauled in 10 passes for 131 yards in a disappointing road loss.  However, the latter ended in frustration after he wasn't able to come up with what would have been the go-ahead touchdown with just under 30-seconds left in the game.

Against Buffalo, it was his performance on third down that played such a significant role.  He caught 7-of-8 passes thrown his way, all of which moved the chains, including two he caught during their final drive that helped them run out the clock during the win.  That was a game that should have been a springboard for his season but ended up simply being his best all-around outing of 2013.  However, little did Amendola know that had he caught that pass in Miami (pictured above), that might have been the play that could have given the Patriots an opportunity to battle the Broncos in Foxboro instead of in Denver back in January.

Notable Stat of 2013:

It's interesting to note that down in the red zone, Amendola was targeted just six times in 2013, the second lowest total among all receivers with just Austin Collie trailing him (1 target, 0 receptions. From there, it was Aaron Dobson (9 targets, 4 receptions, 2 TD's), Rob Gronkowski (8 targets, 5 receptions, 3 TD's), Shane Vereen (12 targetes, 7 receptions, 3 TD's), Kenbrell Thompkins (10 targets, 5 receptions, 4 TD's) and Julian Edelman (23 targets, 15 receptions, 5 TD's) who lead the way.  Amendola finished with three receptions along with one touchdown.

What to Watch For in 2014:

In a perfect world, Amendola would have been out there with tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in 2013, giving him the opportunity to establish himself in what likely would have been a much more prolific offense had things not turned out the way they did.  Gronkowski's return was delayed and ultimately ended in disaster when he suffered a torn ACL against the Browns and ended up on injured reserve. Meanwhile, Hernandez was released in June after being charged with multiple murders.

Had the offense returned their two key parts of 2012 for the entire season, that may have taken some of the pressure off of Amendola as he got acclimated but obviously things didn't quite work out that way.  He fought hard and it was obvious he was never able to get back to 100%, which given some of the explosive moments he was able to produce (a 57-yard reception in Week 9 against Pittsburgh) should have most fans looking forward to what will hopefully be a better year from him in 2014.

However, there are a lot of people who have already written Amendola off, which will likely be to their detriment should he come out of training camp healthy.  He's extremely athletic and he's been spotted with his offensive teammates numerous times this offseason, so behind the scenes he's been doing all the right things. After having had a full year in the system, he's at least had the opportunity to work on the things he potentially may have not been comfortable with in his first year.

At this point it's just a matter of taking the next step because in the end, Amendola's got the physical tools and he's got the talent.  Now if his body can come through for him the Patriots might find themselves with a pretty good weapon that could hopefully make them a little more productive in 2014.
PATRIOTS FAN OF THE WEEK


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