Danny Amendola has been around in the NFL. Now entering his 11th season in the league, he has seen it all. He was cut on national television his rookie year, as HBO viewers watched a 22-year-old fail to make the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent. He has since seen his hard work pay off in the form of a long, productive NFL career with two Super Bowl rings to show for it.
But he’s also lived on the other end of the spectrum. In his four years with the Rams, Amendola’s team went just 17-46-1.
So now entering his 11th season in the NFL and his first with the Detroit Lions, how does he feel as the team’s most veteran player on offense?
“I’m in the best shape of my life,” Amendola said. “I feel confident in the offense.”
Part of that confidence comes from Amendola’s experience in Detroit’s new offense, which is being spearheaded by newly-hired offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. According to Amendola, the system is very similar to the one ran by the St. Louis Rams during his time there, but he knows there will be some differences in personal preferences.
“I’ve been in an offensive very similar to this one for a number of years in my past,” Amendola said. “So I’m familiar with the verbiage, and it’s good getting out here in OTAs, get an early jump on what these coaches like, what the quarterbacks like, and how we’re going to run our routes, how we’re going to play our games. This is an important time for us.”
During Amendola’s time with the Rams, he played under three different offensive coordinators—Pat Shurmur (‘09-10), Josh McDaniels (‘11) and Brian Schottenheimer (‘12). And while Amendola thrived during that time—earning two of his career best statistical seasons over that span—the Rams did not. They ranked in the bottom three in offensive efficiency in three of his four years.
Still, Amendola remains confident, in part, due to the strength of the wide receiver room. Just a few weeks ago Kenny Golladay noted how Amendola’s work ethic was contagious, and the veteran receivers sees something in Golladay, too.
“Amazing player, we’ve been watching film together,” Amendola said. “A lot of our guys in our room have been watching film together, kind of get a head start on what we’re going to need to do. We’ve got a lot of good football players in our room, a lot of roles to fill in our room, and we’re going to do our best, collectively, as a whole, to get the job done.”
But is it possible to really get a sense of whether this 2019 Lions team is more Patriots or more 2010 Rams at this point in the offseason? Amendola admits it’s probably too early.
“It’s early, man,” Amendola said. “We’re trying to grasp the offense. We’re all learning together, and there’s a long way to go.”