New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spoke with Sirius XM NFL Radio’s Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan, as they did their show at Patriots training camp and also talked to new Patriots slot receiver Danny Amendola. Belichick answered several questions, and it was an excellent show overall with Belichick’s thoughts on Ryan Mallett, Josh Boyce, and Amendola being especially noteworthy. Boyce was one of the standouts at camp yesterday, as he made a great catch on Logan Ryan and generally looked good throughout with precise route-running. A fast and smart receiver, Boyce looks like a guy who is clicking early and should make a solid impact for the Patriots in 2013. In fact, and this is something I told a follower earlier today, Boyce likely has a better chance of producing early than more touted rookie Aaron Dobson (though Dobson has more upside as a potential No. 1 receiver).
Apparently Boyce has been good all week since rookies reported to training camp last Sunday, but Belichick also obviously adds that Boyce still has a ways to go. “He really didn’t do anything in the spring. He was still rehabbing his foot. He trained hard in the offseason, came in, and was ready to go at the beginning of training camp with the rookies. So he’s had a really good full week going back to last Sunday, which was the first day [rookies] were in. He’s had a good week, made a lot of progress. He has a long way to go, but I’m excited to work with him, too. He definitely can run.”
Boyce is such a fast receiver, and it is still incredible thinking he ran a sub-4.4 forty whilst dealing with a toe injury that also kept him out of OTAs and minicamp. His speed stands out just as much as his intelligence, and it only takes a glance at the stat sheet and his yards per reception totals to see that Boyce could really stretch the field at TCU.
Danny Amendola is the best receiver on the New England Patriots right now, and if anyone were to replace Wes Welker for the Patriots, then it would be Amendola. Although Welker is the better player right now, Amendola will prove to be the upgrade as time goes on for age reasons, and Amendola has already looked the part. Clearly the best receiver in OTAs and minicamp, Amendola easily secured an offseason award, and the new slot receiver has also continued to look good in training camp.
Bill Belichick took the time to give Amendola plenty of praise, “He’s a very good receiver. He has a good skill set. He can play outside, play inside. He can run after the catch, has returned kicks. Has good ball skills. Good concentration. Tough kid. We’re excited to have him and we’ll see how it all fits together. I know the quarterbacks are gaining a lot of confidence in his route-running and catching ability.”
This is as telling as anything, and Belichick went into huge detail regarding Amendola, which is another reason why this was must-listen radio. It seems like Belichick loves Amendola, and it looks like the Patriots, as many fans and writers have stated, do have plans to play Amendola both inside and outside (Boyce has been praised for his versatility in playing outside and in the slot). Based on what Belichick said about Amendola, it looks like he is an improvement over Welker in the athleticism and ball skills department, which comes as no surprise. It should be common knowledge that Amendola is a tough receiver who can make things happen after the catch, but I find it interesting that Belichick notes his kick returning abilities. I don’t see returns in the cards for Amendola on the Patriots, but that goes to show you that the Patriots are getting a guy who can better stretch the seam in the slot. Amendola has better long speed, and that will aid him both in the slot and in playing out wide if needed. If you ask the right questions, Belichick will tell you some interesting and notable facts about a player on the roster.