Detroit Lions signing Danny Amendola ho-hum but necessary. Here’s why

Carlos Monarrez
Detroit Free Press

Danny Amendola.

This is the player the Detroit Lions are replacing Golden Tate with? An older, much-less productive version of Tate?

Amendola turns 34 before Thanksgiving. He’s never had 700 receiving yards in a season and hasn’t had more than 65 catches in a season since 2010.

Oct 14, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Danny Amendola (80) reacts during the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

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The free-agent signing period starts Wednesday. So the Lions getting Amendola on Monday is a little like hoping you get an amazing new video game for Christmas, only to find out you get to open one present early and it turns out to be a pair of socks.

But, of course, he was a New England Patriot. So that has to mean something, right? Of course! It means former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia saw what Amendola did in practice all the time in New England and knows how effective he can be.

How can an ex-Patriot miss? I mean, otherwise why would former Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores have released Amendola in Miami last week?

Let’s forget that for a minute and get back to the Christmas tree.

This was one move. It was a pair of socks. And hey, who doesn’t need socks? But to be fair to the Lions, there are still several unwrapped presents under the tree.

Maybe we’ll get that shiny, new Trey Flowers we’ve been asking for all winter. Maybe an Anthony Barr. Maybe, if we get lucky and Bob Quinn can afford the signing, we’ll get a Le’Veon Bell. (Bob, I promise to eat all my vegetables, write all my columns on time and take really good care of him.)

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I do have a confession to make. I’ve always liked Amendola as a player. I’ve liked his toughness and how he was undersized and undrafted but still carved out an NFL career. I remember Jerry Jones cutting him on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” in 2008. I remember Zack Follett lighting up Amendola in 2009 with one of the hardest kick-return tackles I’ve ever seen.

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This is why the signing of Amendola is also about more than just a slot receiver. It’s about Patricia getting more of “his guys” on the team. Because if there’s a Patriot Way, the version of that has become the Patricia Patriot Way. All grit. All grind. All the time.

The Patricia Patriot Way didn’t work last season. Maybe it was because he didn’t have enough of “his guys” on the team. Maybe Patricia should have gotten rid of more of his non-guys like Jim Bob Cooter. Maybe it’s also just a flawed system.

Patricia deserves to succeed, or fail, on his own terms. And clearly he and Quinn believe in this. They should continue to make the kind of moves that bring in players who evangelize Patricia’s vision in the locker room and change the culture to reflect what Patricia wants it to be — even if it flies in the face of convention, like practicing in the snow for an indoor game.

To me, it would have made more sense for the Lions to sign receivers Adam Humphries or Jamison Crowder. They’re younger, more explosive players who probably have a lot more tread on their tires than Amendola. I think receiver is a position that is more dependent on sheer playmaking ability rather than philosophical compatibility.

But that didn’t happen. Amendola is here. Patricia has another one of his guys. And for good or bad, as long as Patricia is the Lions’ coach, it’s really the only way it should be.

Contact Carlos Monarrez at or follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.