If you have ever heard me talk about evaluating college and NFL players, you know I slot players by color (blue, red, orange, green), Danny Amendola is a blue. Blue means play maker and difference maker; an impact player each and every time they touch the field. It is a future Pro Bowler that can take over a game with great production. A NFL team needs at least 10 Blue players to be considered a playoff team, and if the Rams had three more Amendola’s they would be a playoff team.
Pound for pound he is the toughest player on the Rams’ roster. Amendola stands 5’9 185 and is quicker than he is fast. I have nicknamed him the “human crash dummy”, which is a total compliment. It’s the respect I give to those players that are extremely competitive each and every time they touch the field regardless if it’s practice or a game. He has a total disregard for his body and gives 110% diving for balls, he is fearless as a receiver and return man, and only knows one speed, 100 mph.
“He was very impatient the last couple weeks. He wanted to play, but we sought the medical advice and we told him about when we thought he’d come back and, boy, he did. He played an outstanding football game. It’s unfortunate that two of those big plays didn’t count. He does things for our offense. He creates opportunities for other people. In addition to that, he’s part of the reason that we were better on third down. He can get open and (QB) Sam (Bradford) can get the ball to him. For a little guy, he’s got real good run-after-catch skills” Coach Fisher commented.
A free agent in 2008, Amendola was compared to Wes Welker as a clone for several reasons. People compared their size, route running skills, and sure hands. They even attended the same university (Texas Tech). After his 2010 season where he and Sam Bradford (rookie season) put up some impressive numbers, as an evaluator, I said drop the Wes Welker clone comparison, and just call him Danny Amendola. He has earned it.
While affective no matter where he aligns, 75% of his damage comes from the slot position (inside), but as defensive coordinators are quickly finding out by watching film, you better know where the little big man aligns or he will make you pay. Despite size, Amendola can align outside the numbers because of his initial quickness, short area burst and instant acceleration to create separation from a defender. It is quickly earning him respect among defensive backs in the NFL. In 2012 he has missed a few games with a broken collar bone and has only played in 6 games, but is amassing the following stats; targeted 61 times/43 receptions, 497 yards and 11.6 average, 56 long, 2 touchdowns with 27 receiving first downs, 1 fumble and four drops.
Respect from NFL players is not given to you, it is something that you earn and Amendola has earned the respect of both his teammates and peers around the NFL. He is a impact player and without him there is a noticeable difference.