- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The AFC East blog continues its “Show and Prove” series for the division in 2013.
Next up Monday we take a look at New England Patriots’ starting wide receiver Danny Amendola.
2012 stats: 63 receptions, 666 yards, three TDs
What he must prove: Perhaps no wide receiver in the AFC East has more to prove this year than Amendola. Not only is Amendola trying the fill the huge shoes left behind by former Patriot Wes Welker, but Amendola must also prove his durability. Amendola has missed more games (20) than he’s played in (12) the past two seasons. Still, New England saw his talent and signed him to a five-year, $31 million contract. Amendola must produce immediately to make Patriots fans forget about Welker.
Walker’s 2013 outlook: Amendola, 27, is a younger and more athletic version of Welker. From that perspective, it makes sense why New England made this move. But what was questionable is New England making the switch when Welker was still extremely productive and still had a strong chemistry with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. I don’t see Amendola developing Welker-like chemistry with Brady in one year, and that’s a problem because the slot receiver is very important to Brady and New England’s offense. Welker also was very durable, which Amendola is not. The biggest goal for Amendola is to play all 16 games this year, which he’s only done once in his career. That would mark a good first step with the Patriots.