FOXBORO -- Danny Amendola has quietly had a very solid first week of training camp.
He hasn't made the flashy diving grabs that we've seen from Kenbrell Thompkins. And he hasn't been Tom Brady's go-to option on a play-to-play basis that Julian Edelman has been. But Amendola has been where he's supposed to be, and when Brady has delivered the ball he's caught it.
Simple enough, but a player can only make the most of the opportunities he's been given. And so far, Amendola's done that.
He explained after Thursday's practice that being in his second year with the Patriots has helped him grasp things much more quickly than in 2013.
"I feel comfortable," Amendola said. "It’s different. A year under your belt in a system and a new place and a new organization, and it’s kind of like when a rookie comes in for the first time and tries to learn a new offense. It might be difficult sometimes, but the second year, that learning curve is much less. I feel very comfortable right now, and just trying to come out here and work."
Amendola had a roller coaster first season in New England. He exploded in a Week 1 meeting with the Bills in Buffalo and finished with 10 catches for 104 yards. However, he also suffered a leg injury in that game that lingered throughout the season.
In Week 5 and Week 10 he broke the century mark for yards for the second and third times, but his production was generally all over the map. He had 15 yards on three catches in Week 8, and 17 yards on three catches in Week 11.
In the AFC Championship Game in Denver, he received as many targets (one) as Matthew Slater and Matthew Mulligan -- and five fewer than mid-season pickup Austin Collie.
But so far during camp, Brady has noticed that Amendola is gaining more familiarity with the Patriots offense in his second season.
"I think everybody -- Danny and all of the guys who are coming in here after their first year with our team -- it’s a different offense. We do quite a few things, we move guys around a lot, there are a lot of post-snap reads, a lot of pre-snap reads, there is a lot of non-verbal communication that goes on," Brady said. "So we’re still working at it, and he’s been out here every day working his butt off, too. That’s been great to see, and for the most part we’ve had full participation, so that’s really helping our team get better to be out here on the field doing the things that we’re going to need to be able to do."
If Amendola can remain healthy and continue to be a full participant in Patriots workouts well into the season, he won't have to show much flash -- just strong hands and dependability on underneath routes -- to get his fair share of opportunities.