Sunday, May 22, 2011
The next 100-reception wide receiver?
By Mike Sando
Jim from Westfield, Ind., wants to know what I was smoking before agreeing that St. Louis Rams receiver Danny Amendola had a shot at 100 receptions in coordinator Josh McDaniels' offense. He thinks 70 receptions would be closer to the "ceiling" for Amendola.
Mike Sando: Amendola broke through that ceiling when he had 85 receptions last season. While I think Amendola will approach 100 receptions under McDaniels, I think he's unlikely to reach the milestone. The Rams should have more options at the position than they had last season. Also, only 26 players have reached 100 receptions in a season since 2000. Only 10 have done so over the past five seasons. It is difficult to do.
This discussion began when Ben from Toledo asked during the latest NFC West chat whether Amendola would become "the new Wes Welker" with 100-plus receptions per season. Welker reached 100 receptions in 2007, 2008 and 2009. McDaniels was his offensive coordinator for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Ben noted that Eddie Royal never reached 100 receptions under McDaniels in Denver despite expectations it could happen. Royal, after all, had caught 91 passes for 980 yards in 2008, the year before McDaniels arrived.
The Denver Post made Royal-to-Welker comparisons after Royal's reception total fell to 37 in 2009. McDaniels had this to say then:
"I know that I'm frustrated and disappointed that we couldn't do more in terms of using Eddie Royal. I've been asked that question a bunch. I know Eddie is frustrated with it, too. I'm not happy with that, and I don't want that to be the case. We're going to work hard to try to fix that and get that to change dramatically going into next season."
Amendola's teammate in St. Louis, A.J. Feeley, saw Welker-like potential in Amendola heading into last season. Feeley on Amendola then:
"He has polished his game. Some of these guys discover themselves after a year of playing and realizing what they can do. The guy is a special player. The guy is going to make plays and have a lot of catches this year ... a poor man's Wes Welker trying to establish himself. He fits that mold right now. The guy is cat quick."
As I mentioned during the chat, it seems as though Welker comparisons crop up everywhere. Amendola fits the profile in that he is also a slot receiver, and he did make 85 receptions last season (Welker had 86). McDaniels adds another link.
However, Roddy White and Reggie Wayne were the only 100-catch receivers in the NFL last season. Neither is a Welker type. And when Welker did catch 123 passes in 2009, he was very much the exception in terms of style. The other 100-catch receivers that year: Andre Johnson, Wayne, Brandon Marshall and the New York Giants' Steve Smith.
The most accurate read on Amendola would simply cast him as the slot receiver in McDaniels' offense, a role Welker once played and one that could lend itself to making lots of receptions.
As for reaching 100? Ten players have done it since 2006. The chart lists those players with their reception totals by season when reaching at least 100.