On Now
Coming Up
  • Sat., Jan. 27, 2018 12:30 PM MST Senior Bowl Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama.
  • Tue., Feb. 27, 2018 12:00 AM MST NFL Scouting Combine begins Feb. 27-March 5: NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Mon., Mar. 12, 2018 12:00 AM MDT Clubs may negotiate with unrestricted free agents March 12-14: Clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2017 player contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 14. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 14.
  • Wed., Mar. 14, 2018 2:00 PM MDT 2018 league year and free agency period begin

    Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must exercise options for 2018 on all players who have option clauses in their 2017 contracts.

    Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.

    Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit a minimum salary tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2017 contracts who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.

    Top 51 begins. All clubs must be under the 2018 salary cap prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    All 2017 player contracts will expire at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    The 2018 league year and free agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    The first day of the 2018 league year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14.

    The first day of the 2018 league year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14.

    Trading period for 2018 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2017 contracts.

  • Sun., Mar. 25, 2018 12:00 AM MDT Annual League Meetings begin March 25-28: Annual League Meetings, Orlando, Florida.
  • Mon., Apr. 16, 2018 12:00 AM MDT Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs April 16: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.
  • Thu., Apr. 26, 2018 6:00 PM MDT 2018 NFL Draft begins April 26-28: 2018 NFL Draft, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX.
Print
RSS

Five to Watch: 3. Edelman and Amendola

Posted Jan 17, 2014

Independent analyst Andrew Mason continues his look at key Patriots to watch in Sunday's AFC Championship Game.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This week, independent analyst Andrew Mason will take a closer look at five players to watch in this Sunday's AFC Championship Game. Third on the list: Patriots receivers Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Because Danny Amendola signed with the Patriots within hours of Wes Welker's departure in free agency last year, the two were always going to be connected, even beyond their slot-receiver skills and shared alma mater, Texas Tech.

But injuries kept him from finding a groove last year, and in the end, it was Welker's understudy in New England, Julian Edelman, that ended up picking up most of the slack in the wake of Welker's departure. 

Now that Amendola is healthy, you can't mention one without the other. With Rob Gronkowski out for the season after suffering a knee injury, the Patriots needed both, with one taking Gronkowski's role -- that often necessitated lining up in one slot.

So you will sometimes see them both in the slot. One of the key plays in their frantic comeback win over Cleveland saw each receiver line up in the slots to each side of Brady. This kind of formation can force safety confusion; each has the speed to get upfield if the need arises.

Although neither has Gronkowski's size, their speed and quick cuts provide another dimension. Covering either with a linebacker can be a futile task, and Tom Brady's ability to fire the football into narrow windows means that even tight coverage might not do much good.

The two are also lethal when they're flanked to one side. New England used this formation early last week in an attempt to force the Colts' cornerbacks to collide. It was unsuccessful, and the Colts' man coverage maintained its integrity, but Amendola still managed to cut in front of the cornerback and ran a post toward the goal line, catching a 16-yard pass just behind a safety. The play was properly defended, but still moved the chains on third-and-3 anyway.

But Amendola and Edelman are more than just move-the-sticks specialists. Combined, they averaged 10.62 yards per reception on 159 catches: 105 for Edelman and 54 for Amendola. 

But with the emergence of LeGarrette Blount, they can take advantage of play-action and pick up yardage in larger chunks.

Amendola had a 53-yard reception last week, running a post route and taking advantage of the safety and cornerback biting on the fake. By the time Amendola caught the football, he had three yards of separation and was 39 yards downfield, adding another 14 after the catch. 

"He’s showed me really what he’s all about," said Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. "He’s fought through a lot of adversity earlier in the year and is really playing his best football. He’s done a great job. He’s been in and out of different roles in the whole offense and different positions, different formations. He’s had to learn a lot of different spots. He’s willing to do whatever it takes. He’s doing great and I love being out there with him."

On the 53-yard connection, Edelman was available as a short option, running a crossing route just past the line of scrimmage. But the two are interchangeable, and it could be Edelman who gets the deep shot Sunday.