Danny Amendola?

Posted: March 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 48 Comments »

Geoff Mosher is breaking another story (quite the hot streak).  This time he’s reporting that the Eagles “are interested in pursuing” WR Danny Amendola.  Very interesting news.

Let’s talk about Amendola first.  He was on the Eagles practice squad back for part of 2009 before joining the Rams.  He quickly became a workhorse player for the Rams.  Amendola is at his best in the slot.  He lacks ideal size for playing on the edge.  He’s also more quick than fast.  Playing in the slot lets him take advantage of his quickness.  He’s able to get separation and then has the RAC skills to run in traffic.  Think of him as the opposite of DeSean Jackson, who needs space so that he can use his speed.

Amendola set an NFL record in 2010, but not the good kind.  He caught 85 passes, but averaged just 8.1 yards per catch.  No other player has caught that many passes with such a low average.  Part of that was on the offense, but part was on Amendola’s lack of top speed.  He’s coming off his best season and only averaged 10.6 ypc.

Several teams will be bidding for Amendola.  While he’s not an explosive weapon, he is very good at what he does.  He knows how to work the middle of the field.  He is tough.  He will block.  Amendola does have good RAC ability.  He was a RS for the first couple of years in St. Louis, but didn’t do that much in 2012.

Now for the Eagles angle.  Going after Amendola surely has to mean Jason Avant will be cut.  Amendola is a slot guy.  Avant is purely a slot guy.  I’d hate to see Avant go, but he’s not an ideal fit for Chip Kelly’s offense.  At Oregon Kelly had mainly 2 types of receivers.  Some were tall.  Some were short, quick/fast types.  Avant fits neither of those profiles.  He’s also older and has no RS ability.

Amendola played for Pat Shurmur for 2 years in St. Louis.  Shurmur knows how to use him.  I also think Amendola is Kelly’s kind of player.  Kelly preaches that WRs must block.  Amendola will.  He is tough and tenacious.  Kelly also likes to go no-huddle and have things move quickly.  Amendola is the kind of guy who can get open quickly.  That will allow the QB to get rid of the ball in a hurry and keep the offense on schedule.

Avant only has 2 TDs in his last 150 or so catches.  Amendola has 6 TD catches in that same span.  That doesn’t make him Plaxico Burress, but every TD helps.  Amendola is also versatile.  He has been used on end arounds and reverses.  He is 12-87 for his career.  Avant is 1-1 as a runner.  I’m pretty sure that was a RZ play, but I’d have to go back and look it up.

The angle on this that has me confused is Michael Vick and the slot receiver.  Vick and Avant were hardly a dynamic connection in the last 3 years.  Avant had a single 100-yard game with Vick.  He also had one with Vince Young and one with Nick Foles, despite just playing in a few games with them.  Avant only had consecutive games with 5 or more catches once with Vick at QB.  Avant’s  best 4-game stretch in terms of receiving yards came with Nick Foles at the helm.  You obviously don’t build around Vick or what he does well, but it is interesting that this move would be such a poor fit for Vick’s skill set. On the other hand, Foles is very good with using the slot receiver.  Maybe Nick has a better chance of starting than some people realize.  Just something to keep in mind.

I would have to think that the Eagles would plan for Amendola to be the primary PR and possibly KOR.  He has 6 career KORs of more than 40 yards.  He has 3 career PRs of more than 40 yards.  I don’t think I need to go over last year’s return numbers for the Eagles. We all remember how miserable they were.  Field position was a major issue for the team.  I figured that all the talk of building through the draft and going with young players would mean that Damaris Johnson and Brandon Boykin would get a chance to show what they could do for the new staff.

The simple selling point is that Amendola is younger, faster, and more versatile than Avant.  He would upgrade STs.

The argument against the move is that Amendola has missed 20 games in the last 2 years.  Cutting Avant would also strip the offense of a vocal leader and very high character guy.

While the Eagles may want Amendola, there will be competition.  If the Pats lose Wes Welker, they could make a strong play for Amendola.  This isn’t a matter of the Eagles simply making a decent offer.  They won’t have to break the bank, but Amendola won’t be a bargain player.

When Jimmy Bama and I did the free agency preview, I totally blew off the idea of signing a WR.  Chip Kelly is already throwing us a curve ball and making things interesting.

_


  • SteveH

    I really liked Amendola back in 2009 and thought we should have kept him at the time. He was not an explosive guy but even then you could see his ability to get open in a small amount of time.

    And thanks Tommy, I was so focused on how bad the offense and defense were that I had completely forgotten how miserable the ST’s were last year until you brought it up just now.

    • http://twitter.com/MFlicker Mike Flick

      Yeah, outside of the coaching staff, offense, defense and special teams we were a championship team.

      • Ark87

        We were THAT close

      • xeynon

        The cheerleaders, ticket staff, and stadium beer vendors are clearly championship caliber.

        • knighn

          Nah, they clearly had to upgrade the Cheerleaders uniforms. That’s why they brought back Vera Wang.

      • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

        You might say: We were just one Juan away.

  • Iskar36

    I recognize tht Amendola fits the slot role so that makes Avant expendable, but isn’t he the exact same type of player as Damaris? Both guys are not particularly fast, but both are very quick. Both are probably limited (and at their best) to the slot WR. Amendola is significantly more physical and has certainly proven to be productive over multiple years, but he has the injury issues. I guess my question is though, does this affect Johnson at all? It just seems he has less value to the team if we sign Amendola.

    • Kevin Powell

      I could still see Chip bringing Damaris in for screens and the occasional deep ball in 4 WR sets. I could see Amendola taking kickoff and Damaris handling the punts.

    • http://twitter.com/MFlicker Mike Flick

      Not exactly. Damaris is 5’8 with platform shoes on. He would have difficulty blocking anyone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/xbcsmith Brett Smith

      Well if Brandon Gibson is available we can sign him and Amendola and we will be right back were we started….

      Seriously though we don’t have any use for Amendola unless they are truly planning a Patriots style offense. Personally I am holding hope for a run first, run second, pop up throw the bomb offense.

    • TommyLawlor

      Danny and Damaris do have similar skill sets. Amendola is proven. Damaris is still a project.

      • Iskar36

        Oh, I absolutely agree with that. My question isn’t really who is better or more proven, but more if we do sign Amendola, could this mean moving Avant to 4th on the depth chart, Cooper to 5th and Johnson being the guy cut instead of replacing Avant with Amendola?

    • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

      Similar skill sets yes, but do you really think Chip couldn’t find uses for both of them?

      • Iskar36

        I would guess that Kelly is capable of finding uses for both of them, but to me, the question would be is that the best use of resources at the position. There are only so many things you can do with a 5’7″ WR who lacks elite speed. If Amendola is going to take on a large portion of that role anyway due to the similar skill set, what are the advantages of keeping a guy like Damaris Johnson over a WR with a different skill set. On top of that, consider that if Amendola is going to take on PR responsibilities, Damaris wouldn’t even fit a role as a STs player.

        I like Damaris a lot and certainly I am not saying that I want to get rid of him, but I think he would have an extremely limited role if we signed Amendola (who you would presumably sign for multiple years).

        • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

          While they are similar, I think of Damaris more as a RB/WR, while Danny is more of a WR/RB…if that makes sense. Damaris could absolutely get some carries out of the backfield. I don’t think Danny could do that.

          Of course now none of this may matter (Thanks, Spuds) but still. If Danny were to come I think there could absolutely be a place for both of them.

          And as for ST’s, why couldn’t one return KO’s and the other returns punts? It’s not like we’re truly “set” at either of those spots.

  • ICDogg

    Does Mosher really know his stuff or does he just make crap up?

    If this signing does actually happen, it would be about the least exciting one imaginable.

    • http://www.facebook.com/xbcsmith Brett Smith

      I think he makes it up…

    • TommyLawlor

      Mosher has been hot this year. First one to report the Bill Davis hiring. Has gotten a couple of good player scoops.

  • brza

    Please don’t let this be true. Haven’t we already reached the limit on tiny, injury-prone WRs? At the price tag that Amendola will command I just don’t get a move like this. They should use that money to increase their chances of getting Jared Cook. And give Damaris Johnson a chance to grow into that quick slot receiver role.

    • brza

      Yeah!! per twitter now conflicting reports on Eagles interest in Amendola:
      “Les Bowen
      ‏@LesBowen
      All respect in world to @GeoffMosherCSN, but I am NOT hearing Eagles want to sign Danny Amendola. So let’s hold off on selling Avant’s house”

  • Dave

    This again leads me to believe Foles is in the plan to run a Brady-type offense… Using the tight ends, speedy slot receiver, and running backs in a quick, short area offense.

    • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

      I agree. This to me screams, “We want to be the Patriots”. Spread sets out of the shotgun. Quick timing throws. Moving the chains consistently. All of these things are perfect for Foles’ skill set. Add in a creative running game and our offense could be really explosive.

      Not explosive in the Andy Reid, every play needs to gain 25 yards in the air way. But explosive in the, every play gains at least a few yards and has the opportunity for more based on YAC, and no negative plays way.

      I also love the fact that the Eagles aren’t looking at the offense (other than the o-line of course) and thinking, “Ok, we’ll be fine here. Let’s just focus on defense”. If you can make one third of your football team elite, no matter what third it is, you’ve got to do it. You win in this league with offense and passing, and I’m ecstatic to see that Chip and Howie aren’t just happy with really good. They want elite.

      • Patrick Hanley

        I have been torn between signs that Chip wants a Patriots offense with Foles or that he wants a mobile read option QB. Not trading Foles to the Chiefs, more TEs and this Danny rumor feed into the Patriots type of offense. Keeping Vick and stockpiling other mobile QBs feeds into the Oregon read option.

        So I just was thinking that since the one thing we seem to be certain with Chip is that you can never be certain what he will want to do, and that he will be unconventional, perhaps he will try to keep defenses off balance with a base Patriot offense using Foles for most of the game and a read option offense using Vick or other interchangeable mobile QB with adequate arm (lots of these around it seems, but few mobile/elite arm QBs) for a few series a game.

        I usually dislike any sense of platooning at QB. Against having a Vick or Tebow come in a few plays as wildcat. But since Chip will likely want 80+plays a game for his offense and since he will want his starting NFL QB to last ten years, not two or three years as in college, he will see the need to reduce the amount of per game plays for Foles or other Patriot type of throwing QB. And he will love making opposing DCs have to plan for multiple offenses.

        • D3Keith

          Interesting theory.

  • austinfan

    This would be a weird addition, sure Amendola can try to block, but he ain’t exactly a force, he can’t stay healthy, and he’ll cost real money. Would make more sense to go for a WR like TJ Moe in the draft except for the ST angle – but with Amendola’s durability issues, do you want him returning kicks?

    • TommyLawlor

      Good question about RS/durability. Key issue.

  • bdbd20

    Great point on the impact on the QB position. I’ve always wondered if the starting QB is not currently on the roster. Vick’s height and inaccuracy does make it difficult to use the middle of the field.

  • Mitchell

    I liked Danny’s passion when he messed up his shoulder last year, throwing his helmet. he wanted to play badly. we could use that passion….

    • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

      Here’s to hoping everyone they bring in has that kind of attitude. Not possible I know. But it’s the small things that really count, and passion for the game is something that can’t be taught.

  • knighn

    ” At Oregon Kelly had mainly 2 types of receivers. Some were tall. Some were short, quick/fast types.” That statement makes me think about Jared Cook (TE). If the Eagles pick him up, could they actually be thinking about moving him outside much of the time? He’s got good enough speed for a big WR. More than enough size to be a mismatch against most CBs and WRs. And while Cook’s blocking against LBs might make him a liability, I’m guessing he’d be just fine going against CBs and Safeties. Just a random thought here…

    • TommyLawlor

      Cook played in the slot mostly in TEN…as if he were a WR. Would do the same thing here. He’s not a traditional TE.

      • knighn

        Still, that’s got me wondering: would it be the DeSean Jacksons and the Danny Amendolas in the slot and the bigger guys out wide? Or is my mind as foggy as the Greater Philadelphia area was this morning?

        • Ark87

          The wrap on D-jax is that you can’t put him back in the slot. He isn’t big and physical (to be productive going over the middle and taking the beating you get for doing that), and he isn’t quick enough to finesse the slot position either (he is lightning fast once he gets going, but his first steps off the line or breaking a route are a bit mushy by comparison).

          I think he did just fine in the slot in his rookie season, he was a mismatch for the people covering him, he was going deep with incredible speed, with no sideline to limit the directions he could go.

  • Mac

    Pains me to ask this: Could we trade Avant to KC?

    • TommyLawlor

      Sure.

    • Ark87

      I struggled with these sorts of things as well. But part of me hoped for an exodus of certain players to go to KC, where Reid gets good players that fit his system, the players have the best chance for success, and the Eagles come away with the resources they need to go in this new direction. Foles, Avant, and to some degree Celek come to mind, all players I like, and it would seem like we’d be ejecting all the players who gave a damn last season, but it would probably be the best thing for them. Celek should produce just fine in Chip’s system, but we seem more interested in finding a Jimmy Graham type OR an Aaron Hernandez H-back type.

    • holeplug

      I doubt you’d get more than a 7th for Avant.

  • TommyLawlor

    Couple of quick FA nuggets from Twitter, including Les saying Amendola might not be a target.

    http://eaglesblog.net/2013/03/eagles-fa-updates/

  • ATLeagle

    I always thought of Avant as a good blocker, and will never forget his block for DeSean in the MaTNM. Knocked himself out. I could only see this move for getting younger, and maybe if Chip really wants to separate from the old regime as much as possible.

    I am confused though. You say that Amendola has good RAC ability, but also has these absurdly low distance stats. Are all of these passes caught at LoS and all the yardage is on the receiver to pick up?

    I do remember liking him when he was an Eagle.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gaparsons Greg Parsons

    I keep hearing that the Eagles will have close to $40m of cap space available, if Asomugha is cut. That is a lot. Does anyone know if there is a minimum that they have to spend? How are they going to spend all that money if they are going to concentrate on the draft?

    • Iskar36

      I’m by no means a cap expert, so take this with a grain of salt (and feel free to bash it if I ‘m completely wrong), but here is my understanding.

      First off, teams are allowed to carry over cap space from the previous year. This amount (which for us is ~$23 Mil) does not apply to the minimum.

      Second off, my understanding is that this all applies only once the 53-man rosters are finalized. Right now, only the top 51 paid players count against the cap.

      Third off, starting this year, every team needs to spend a minimum of 89% of the cap space (not including the carried over amount). The last two years, this was not true. In addition to this though, league-wide, 95% of the cap must be spent each year. The 95% obviously can’t be forced on any specific team, but if the league does not reach that amount, the league pays the players that difference.

      From a Eagles stand point, with the salary cap at 123 Mil, they have to spend around $109.5 to be above the 89% mark. As of right now, I think they are right around that amount. When Nnamdi is cut, we will have to make up that difference somehow, but with rookies and just a few 2nd and 3rd tier FAs, that will not be an issue at all I don’t think.

      • http://www.facebook.com/gaparsons Greg Parsons

        That’s great info thanks

  • TommyLawlor

    Dave just said definitively on Eagles Live that Danny Amendola is not a target. Dave rarely says this type of thing. Trust him on this.

    • holeplug

      Looks like poor Mosh got duped by Amendola’s agent

  • ACViking

    Re: Personnel Rumors in the Media

    I get that *disinformation* is a rampantly used tactic by all sports teams.

    Conversely, I’m unfamiliar with teams — at least competently run teams — going public with what they want to do.

    So when I read or hear media rumors about personnel moves, I default to “false until proven otherwise.”

    If Roseman learned anything from Banner, I’d hope it was his paranoid desire for secrecy.

    Very Nixonian that Joe Banner.

    • D3FB

      As long as we don’t go full Scott Pioli I have no problem with secrecy in the front office.

      • ACViking

        Seems like I wasn’t clear.

        My point is, no well-run team openly covets anyone. It’s all about secrecy in the NFL.

        I suppose there are exceptions . . . like the 49ers in 1994 and Cowboys in 1995, each of whom coveted Deion Sanders. They were championship-caliber teams who were battling each other for a SB birth from ’92 – ’95. They were the best two teams in the NFL.

        Or Richie Kotite in the ’91 draft openly coveting either of the U-Tenn OTs, Antone Davis or Charles McRae. And Kotite paid a steep price. But no one would mistake Kotite for a coach who runs a well-oiled NFL team on the personnel side.
        _______________

        Even worse then Kotite’s 1991 love-fest for Davis was his open affection for 6’6″ 330 lb South Carolina OT Ernest Dye.

        The Eagles had the 19th pick in Rd 1.

        With pick 18 overall, the Cardinals selected Dye.

        Maybe Arizona goes there anyway. But when a team knows they have no chance to trade down even 2 or 3 spots, then you grab the guy you like — and screw the team right behind you who wants the same guy.
        ______________

        So, for example, sending Kelly, Roseman and Lurie to Morgantown WV to see Geno Smith may be — with all respects T-Law — a great example of a transparently unconvincing attempt to appear interested in a player whom the team has absolutely no interest in.

        Maybe they like the kid. Or were intrigued enough to explore whether he’s worth taking Iskar36 commented over at Eaglesblog.net), irrespective of what the 2014 QB class looks like.

        And if they brain-trust came away convinced, then there’s no amount of draft choices the Eagles should accept in a trade. Not in today’s NFL.

        But if the Eagles went to WV — as T-Law argued over at (the new and great) Eagles Blog — just to generate interest in the pick to trick some team to jump up, then the Eagles seem to have wasted 3 airline tix.

        That kind of counter-espionage disinformation may work with a DL, or OT, or CB, or WR.

        But not with a QB. Not in the current NFL.
        _________________

        All I’m saying is, if I see reports that a team is interested in a free agent or even a potential draft pick, then I don’t buy it as a general rule.

        The exceptions for me are when a team on the precipice of winning the SB find a guy they want. Like the Eagles and T-Owens in early ’04. The Eagles needed him. He wanted out of SF. And it was no secret he was the first or second best WR in the NFL. What’s to hide. Go after the guy.

        Otherwise, when you’re talking about teams in shambles, like the Eagles, who have a dearth of talent. Get out the salt.

        • D3Keith

          From the media angle, a lot of stuff starts with agents and players. However, once you already have the info and you get the GM or coach or whoever on the phone, those guys are surprisingly candid so long as you don’t attribute it to them.