Danny Amendola Not Enough to Fix Patriots' Offense

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIMarch 15, 2013

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 25:  wide receiver Danny Amendola #16 of the St. Louis Rams during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Rams defeated the Carindals 31-17.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

A blink of an eye was all it took. In one instant Wes Welker was out, and Danny Amendola was in. That's Bill Belichick for you. That's the New England Patriots.

Since taking over in New England, Belichick has had one MO: No one is untouchable, and no one's job is secure.

That's been especially true on offense, where the Pats have never had issues letting go of star wideouts. They did it with Deion Branch in 2006 and with Randy Moss in 2010, and now they've done it with Wes Welker.

The belief in New England seems to be as long as they can catch, Tom Brady can make them a star. And while that may have been true three Super Bowl rings ago, it hasn't worked out so well lately.

Which is why bringing in Danny Amendola is a good move, but not enough to get the New England offense back on track.

Despite his small stature and inexperience, Welker became a force in New England. In six seasons he averaged 112 catches and 1,243 receiving yards a year, accumulating 37 total touchdowns.

Welker was, for the lack of a better word, uncoverable with New England. Using sneaky speed and overall shiftiness, he always knew how to get open.

That level of production is nearly impossible to replace, especially given a guy as unproven as Amendola.

At times, the 27-year-old has shown promise with St. Louis. He averaged 10.6 yards per catch last season and has seven touchdown catches for his career.

One of the biggest issues in Amendola's career has been health. Injuries limited him to one game in 2011 and just eight starts last season—though he had 666 receiving yards.

The potential is there, but the fact remains that Amendola is unproven. Taking gambles on unproven talent isn't something New England can afford to do right now.

And while the parallels will be drawn between Welker coming in in 2007 and Amendola coming in this season, there's one big glaring issue: The Patriot's never won a Super Bowl with Wes Welker.

The reason for that is that New England's offensive problems go far beyond the position of slot receiver.

Despite great starters, the Pats' O-line lacks depth and youth. It's why they lost to San Francisco, Seattle and Baltimore (twice) last season. They just can't handle physically dominating defenses.

Then there's the lack of a vertical threat. For all the talk of New England spreading the ball around, they still don't have deep speed that makes opposing secondaries cringe. Brandon Lloyd just doesn't cut it.

While some of these issues can be addressed in the draft, not all of them can. Not to mention the issues the team has on defense (an exposed secondary and a flawed pass-rush).

So with all these holes on an otherwise great football team, why is New England cutting loose one of its most established and elite players to gamble on an unproven wideout?

Good question.