After signing a lucrative five-year deal prior to the 2013 season, Danny Amendola has become the “invisible man” in the Patriots’ passing game, writes Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. Through two games in 2014, Amendola has two catches for 16 yards, and he was on the field for just 18 snaps against the Vikings last weekend. As Volin notes, “It’s a continuation from the end of last year, when he had one pass thrown his way in the AFC Championship game, which he dropped.”
Volin writes that there is a disconnect between quarterback Tom Brady and Amendola, and there is plenty of blame to go around. Some of it should be placed on the offensive line, whose shoddy pass-blocking has forced Brady to get rid of the ball on hot reads and bubble screens, and some should be placed on Brady himself (after all, Amendola has gotten himself open at least a few times and Brady has missed him). Nonetheless, there was some talk at the beginning of the offseason that New England would release Amendola, and if things do not improve soon, a release following the 2014 campaign could be inevitable.
Now for some other Patriots items:
- Amendola is not the only New England wideout yet to establish himself in the team’s aerial attack this year. As Volin writes in the same piece cited above, newly-acquired Brandon LaFell is “frustrated as hell” that he has mostly been reduced to blocking, but Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald writes that more passes will come to LaFell, Aaron Dobson, and Kenbrell Thompkins when the Patriots “expand a game plan that called for a run-first offense and quick throws to offset protection concerns.”
- Speaking of the run-first offense, Howe writes in the same article that rookie RB James White has been the team’s only healthy scratch for the first two weeks of the season, and despite his impressive training camp, White realizes that he will need to continue to excel in practice to get a shot on game days.
- Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com tweets that the Patriots could look to bring back DL Bruce Gaston, who was waived by the Dolphins yesterday, and place him on the practice squad.
- In a separate piece, Reiss writes that, since the Logan Mankins trade, Nate Solder has stepped up to fill the off-the-field leadership void. Reiss also wonders if the Buccaneers are regretting the trade, which appeared to be a big win for them at the time it happened but has drawn more scrutiny during the team’s early struggles.