Danny Amendola kind of had his breakout year already, in 2010 when he caught 85 passes to make the NFL season leaderboard for receptions. Of course, his other numbers left something to be desired thanks to Pat Shurmur's old lady offense. This year looks like he really is in store for something special, call it a breakthrough season.
Through two weeks of play, Amendola has 20 catches, 230 yards and a touchdown. Only two players have more receiving yards than he does, and he leads the league in catches. His 80 percent catch rate is a pretty good indicator of why he's Sam Bradford's top target.
Dig deeper into his numbers and there is plenty that would lead you to believe that Amendola is on the verge of something special. His yards per reception is 11.5; compared to 8.1 in 2010. His longest reception is 56 yards, easily beating out his previous career high of 36 yards.
No wonder, look at how offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is using him. Amendola's primary home used to be in the slot. The bias of NFL coordinators has long condemned any receiver not standing at least 6-foot to the slot. This year, Amendola is working all three receiver positions. You can also see him lined up outside and move into the slot on the line.
Here's 3rd-and-3 early in the first quarter of this week's game. Amendola is lined up outside, on Bradford's right. He comes inside on a crossing route, catches the ball and makes this nifty little move to extend the catch.
He gets pushed off balance and falls, but not before avoiding a tackle with by deeking the defender right after he makes the catch.
One knock on Amendola is that he doesn't pick up yards after the catch. Critics cannot say that after the first two Rams games, and might have to eat a full plate of their words after the season. He can and Bradford will be able to eat up zone coverage this year, but the jury is still out on how he goes against more physical man coverage.
Prior to the start of the season, the Rams were said to be wanting a long-term extension with Amendola. The price of that extension has already gone up with two games under his belt.