New England Patriots: Praise all around for Danny Amendola

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 5: Wide receiver Danny Amendola
TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 5: Wide receiver Danny Amendola /

New England Patriots veteran wide receiver Danny Amendola continue to step up in key moments for the defending Super Bowl champions.

In a season that has already been labeled uncharacteristic for the New England Patriots, one player continues to demonstrate all the characters that describe the Patriot way.

That player is Danny Amendola.  As displayed in Thursday night’s 19-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 31-year-old receiver was Tom Brady’s top target.  The two connected on all eight pass attempts for 77 yards.  Five of those catches were third-down conversions which further proved just how clutch Amendola has been when healthy.

"“I think Danny’s been one of our most dependable players since he’s been here,” head coach Bill Belichick said during his conference call on Friday.  “Catches the ball well, returns kicks, blocks well, has run after the catch and return ability.  He’s made those plays every year.  The Buffalo game, the opener four years ago, the plays he made in that game, I don’t think we would have had much chance to win without the plays he made on the last drive in Buffalo.”"

Belichick did not include the clutch plays Amendola has made in the playoffs and in both Super Bowl victories over the past three seasons.  Although Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman get much of the credit in how the offense flows, Amendola deserves recognition as well.

Thursday night there was no Edelman or Gronkowski and Danny Amendola was the one Brady relied on.  He by no chance replaces the production of either one of those players, but he definitely helps fill some of the void left by Brady’s top targets by being in the right position at the right time.

His time to shine

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As much as Tom Brady has appreciated the production and reliability of Amendola, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels also lauded the gutty veteran.

"“There’s nothing I don’t love about Danny Amendola,” McDaniels said, via the Boston Herald.  “Every time he’s out there, you feel good about what may happen if the ball is headed towards him, and he always comes up big in the biggest moments or biggest games.”"

Signed by the Patriots to replace Wes Welker, Amendola hasn’t lived up to those particular expectations mostly due to injury.  What he has done in a Patriots’ uniform is do his job and come through when the team needed him most.  Add the fact that he has taken two pay cuts to remain with the team and Danny Amendola has become the true model of a team player.

Can he continue it?

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As long as he’s healthy, he will remain one of Brady’s more reliable and dependable receivers.  He could end up being a reason, if not the reason, the Patriots’ offense continues to be one of the top offensive units in the NFL, even without Julian Edelman.