With next man in mantra continuing, it is time for Danny Amendola to shine for the New England Patriots.
Julian Edelman will likely miss the rest of the regular season with a broken foot. While Edelman has been the best receiver for the Patriots and Mr. Reliable for Tom Brady, Patriots fans should not be worried. Danny Amendola is more than capable to fill in the slot role Edelman has been so great at in recent years.
Amendola has drawn comparisons to former Patriots pro bowler Wes Welker. Before Edelman, Welker held the slot role that Edelman has held in recent years. Barring injury, something he has struggled with, Amendola will fill in admirably for the Patriots.
Amendola showed a world of promise for the St. Louis Rams as a slot receiver. Amendola’s best season came in 2010 with the Rams. He finished the year with 85 receptions. While the promise has always been there, injuries have always plagued Amendola. In 2012 he suffered a dislocated clavicle and later on had season ending triceps surgery.
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A smaller player like Welker, Amendola has proven less durable than the ultra durable Welker. Welker played at least 14 games each year during his Patriots tenure. Amendola has played in every game just twice in his seven-year career. While injury is always of concern with Amendola, the talent is there and he finds himself in the best situation presented to him up to this point in his career.
The slot man is the go to man for Brady, and he has gained a great amount of confidence in Amendola since he came to the team in 2013. Amendola has yet to drop a pass thrown his way this season. As a result, Brady has an 83.3% completion percentage when targeting him. Amendola saved the Patriots perfect record last Sunday making a momentum shifting catch on 4th and 10.
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I will never be able to explain why on first down Brady took a shot deep down the field with plenty of time on the clock to drive down the field methodically and kick a field goal to win the game. But it happened, and before we knew it, it was fourth down with the game and perfect record on the line.
Brady looked Amendola’s way and he delivered big time with a catch for a first down. All of the sudden, the momentum was on New England’s side. Amendola continued his trend of making big play after big play in the Patriots uniform. Amendola is not replacing Edelman but rather bringing a Wes Welker type player back to the forefront in New England.
Many people look at Welker, Edelman and Amendola in the same light, as slot receivers. While Edelman excels as a slot receiver, he is a better athlete than the other two and more of a touchdown threat every time he touches the ball. Welker and Amendola are both world-class at making big catches in traffic and being reliable targets to move the chains on third down.
With Edelman lost, the question has to be how many injuries can one coaching staff deal with? The next man up motto works best in New England, as the coaching staff is undoubtedly the best in the NFL.
New names are inserted almost weekly it seems and they tend to deliver big games countless times. Some injuries may be devastating but Patriots fans should not worry too much about this one, Amendola is just getting started in a system that fits his game perfectly.