New England Patriots No. 1 wide receiver Danny Amendola is clearly back to full strength, but it still remains to be seen whether or not the Patriots will actually play him in Week 4. Amendola would have unquestionably played in Week 3 against the Detroit Lions if this were the regular season, as his foot or ankle injury was definitely minor. However, it made little sense to play Amendola against the Lions, and it might also make little sense for the Patriots to suit him up tonight against the New York Giants. Although he is clearly healthy enough to play, the Patriots are still best served to give as many snaps as possible to the rookie receivers, especially in game situations. Kenbrell Thompkins looks plenty polished, but Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce still have a whole lot of developing to do.
According to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, is in “tip-top shape”, which is great news for everybody and more confirmation that Danny Amendola is in essentially perfect health right now. That description seems to point in the favor of Amendola getting a very brief cameo appearance tonight at Gillette, but whether or not the Pats decide to play him in the Giants is still an open question. I remain steadfast in my belief that we clearly know that the Patriots have a great, experienced player on their hands in Amendola, while we still need Boyce and Dobson to develop. The most important thing about Reiss’s description of Amendola? As he stated earlier, it’s the fact that a player who keeps himself as well-conditioned as Amendola can usually help prevent injuries (we’ll see how that goes).
Speaking of Josh Boyce, Reiss also wrote in his mailbag that Boyce is below Aaron Dobson on the wide receiver depth chart, and that is absolutely no surprise. Dobson has looked better than Boyce, has more talent than Boyce (draft slot is one indication), and he has received more snaps and been more productive in the preseason than Boyce. But Boyce is still a pretty good rookie wideout in his own right, and I found it incredibly interesting that Reiss stated that Boyce is only “a notch below” Aaron Dobson. I don’t know if Reiss is just being conservative with his word choice, but that stood out to me. One thing that I think most people can agree on is that Dobson has the most upside of any wideout on the Patriots, because he has the upside to be a big-time playmaker in this league. However, he doesn’t look anywhere close to realizing that potential right now, but he can be that good in time and if all falls into place.