Detroit Lions wide receiver Danny Amendola knows what it takes to succeed as a New England Patriot. After spending five years in New England in which he amassed 2,300 yards and 200 receptions, Amendola decided to join former Patriot Matt Patricia in Detroit, where he can help set the tone for the new regime taking place within the Lions organization.
When the Patriots traveled to Detroit this past week to hold joint practices with Detroit, it was a good opportunity for Amendola to give advice for some of New England's new wideouts on how they can succeed and make the Patriots' roster.
“They’re going to have to learn quickly, you know what I’m saying?” Amendola said after Wednesday's walkthrough to The Boston Herald's Karen Guregian. “At this point, I know they’re 100 percent focused in on what (Brady’s) saying, because he is who he is. They’re going to do their best to give themselves the best chance to succeed. But Brady is a huge helper. He’s a coach on the field. He understands how the process works, the operation of an offense. That’s the most important thing.”
Amendola also stated that situational football is something that New England's wideouts will have to adjust to, as the Patriots put more of an emphasis on it than most teams.
"The two-minute drill, all the situational football, that’s all new to a rookie." said Amendola. “But once you get an understanding how the NFL works, how situational football works, you’ll get a pretty good understanding how the game works. Teams like the Patriots stress situational football moreso than a lot of other teams in the NFL.”
Something else that the Patriots receivers will have to adjust to - option routes. Those are a concept that many NFL receivers who join the Patriots have struggled with in the past.
Take Chad Johnson for example; he is arguably the greatest receiver to ever play in a Bengals uniform and in 2011 joined New England via a trade for what would be his last stint in the league. Though he managed to stay on the roster the entire season, his understanding of the offense, or lack thereof, caused him to only muster a stat line of 15-276-1, which was the worst of his career.
Playing in New England's offensive scheme requires much more than athleticism and playmaking ability. It requires a true understanding of the offense.
“Certain routes, on certain plays will demand more reading than others. Different concepts give you option freedom within your route, and stuff like that,” said Amendola. “That comes with time, too. We all have to be seeing the same coverage, at the same time. Even if they’re trying to disguise it, we all have to know they’re trying to disguise their coverage. We all have to be on the same page. That comes with time. That’s what everyone is doing out here now.”
The Patriots' offensive scheme is complicated, but the receivers seem to be picking it up in stride. Take undrafted free agent Jakobi Meyers for example; After quickly shining in training camp, Meyers corralled a 6-69-2 stat line against the Lions in the Patriots' 31-3 Week 1 preseason win. It's a staggering thought, but Meyers is a near lock to make the 53-man-roster already after only one preseason game.
Like Amendola mentioned, having Brady as not just a QB but also a coach helps immensely with players new to the system. That, along with veterans like Julian Edelman, Philip Dorsett, and former Patriots like Troy Brown helping at practice allows multiple angles for rookies and 2nd-year wideout Braxton Berrios to learn and grow within the offense. But it's up to them to take what they have learned and continue to expand upon it, which will hopefully keep them on the roster when September comes.