Patriots: Danny Amendola Must Step Up for Julian Edelman


After a narrow victory over the New York Giants, the New England Patriots are 9-0 on the season, and among the favorites to win the Super Bowl. Another Lombardi Trophy appears to be in their sites, but mounting injuries are making that all the more difficult by the passing week.

The Patriots’ offensive line is currently held together by bubble gum. Cameron Fleming started the season on the practice squad, and he is now forced to be Tom Brady‘s blind side protector at left tackle. Despite never really playing the position in his life, center Bryan Stork has returned from injury in recent weeks, and he has immediately been the primary right tackle. Also gone is the depth the Patriots had on the interior offensive line earlier in the season.

The offensive line is the unit dealing with the most injuries, but they are far from the only one. Star linebacker Jamie Collins has missed the last two weeks with an undisclosed illness, and last week, the Patriots had to place breakout running back star Dion Lewis on IR with a devastating knee injury.

Now, number one wide receiver Julian Edelman has suffered a broken foot. While Edelman may be able to return to the team later in the year, the Patriots will undoubtedly miss their star receiver. Aaron Dobson and Keshawn Martin are likely to take on a larger role with Edelman out, and the Patriots could even look to free agency to help them out.

That being said, the one player who simply must step up and perform in the absence of Edelman, is fellow wide receiver Danny Amendola.

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While Amendola does not possess the same quickness and natural ability to find open spaces in the defense as Edelman, he is a talented player in his own right. Amendola is a fast player with good quickness and reliable catching ability. He knows how to get open in the middle of the field, and does a nice job of making plays after the catch.

Edelman has elite quickness and change of direction ability that allows him to easily get open with quick cuts on short passes. Amendola does not have the same kind of foot quickness, but he is adequate in that department, and he is better than Edelman at making the catch in traffic. Amendola may not be able to get open on such a consistent basis as Edelman, but Brady can force the ball in tighter spaces with Amendola as the receiver.

With all of the offensive line issues, the Patriots are going to have to continue to get the ball out of Brady’s hands quickly. That means the short passing game must be the primary focus of the offense. That is usually the case anyway, but Edelman is the primary option for the team on short routes. If their success in the short passing game is to continue, Amendola has to be the one to step up and make a mark.

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He has the correct skill-set for the job, and I think Amendola will step up and do a very nice job for the Patriots in Edelman’s absence. The significant injuries continue to pile up, but that just means that the next man needs to step up and make plays. In this situation, Amendola is clearly the next man, and if the Patriots have any chance of keeping this undefeated streak going, Amendola must make a huge impact.