FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Neither quarterback Tom Brady nor head coach Bill Belichick met with the media at the New England Patriots’ first open organized teams activities workout of the offseason on Tuesday.
So the spokesman left to talk about the dramatic overhaul at the receiver position with the Patriots was the guy most involved in that positional transition — free agent addition and would-be Wes Welker replacement Danny Amendola.
The former Rams wideout admitted after his second OTA practice in New England that he feels a little bit like the new kid in class working with Brady and the rest of the offense.
“Sometimes, yeah,” he chuckled. “Walking around, I got lost in the building a couple times. I feel good, though. It’s good to be here.”
Better to get lost in the stadium than on the field, where much will be expected of Amendola this season. As New England’s first major free agent signing of the offseason, he arrived in Foxborough just as the well-liked and highly productive veteran Welker was leaving town.
Amendola looked sharp in his route-running, quick getting into and out of his breaks, and sure-handed when the ball was thrown his way in the media’s first chance to see New England’s new No. 80.
He appeared quite comfortable overall in his role with his new club, looking anything but lost.
That may be in part due to his relationship with Josh McDaniels, the Patriots offensive coordinator with whom Amendola worked briefly in St. Louis.
“It’s familiar,” Amendola told reporters after practice. “When Josh was in St. Louis, I got to know it pretty good. It’s a little more intricate out here. It’s something to grasp. I’m learning every day. It’s the verbiage. That’s the most important thing, the vocabulary of the offense. I’m learning, day in and day out, studying at night.”
If language is the most important thing for Amendola right now, developing his on-field relationship with Brady is a close second. Already, the two have worked together out in California on their own, and during special teams periods in OTA action, Brady and Amendola, along with veteran free agent receiver Michael Jenkins, went to another part of the practice fields to work on routes and timing.
“Anytime you get a jump and get to work with each other is good. We’re getting a lot of good work in right now,” Amendola said of his extra reps with Brady.
“The more work is the best in this OTA period. It’s something we’re working on. It’s good to have all the guys out here. Everybody looks good so far.”
The new New England receiver came away impressed with the guy throwing him the football.
“He darted me in the chest with one ball. Inside my head, I was like, ‘Wow, this guy can really wing it. That’s why he’s Tom Brady.’
“He’s a really good quarterback. Everybody knows that. I’m just trying to be on the same page. So far, so good. It’s very important. It’s something you work on every day in the meeting rooms, outside of the building, forming relationships. You play better on the field that way.”
As for the inevitable comparisons to Welker, Amendola brushed those aside like a seasoned pro.
“That’s not something I need to worry about,” he stated. “I’m worried about the playbook and getting the routes down and getting on the same page with my teammates. The good thing is, I don’t have to worry about that stuff.”
Amendola is one of 12 Patriots at the receiver position, only two of whom — Julian Edelman (who hasn’t been on the field as he recovers from a foot injury) and Matthew Slater — have experience on the field with New England. The rest are rookies or veteran free agents. They also have Kamar Aiken, a practice squad holdover in his third NFL season.