ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 8: Danny Amendola #80 of the New England Patriots runs after making a catch during NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 8, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Brady wasn't happy to lose Wes Welker this offseason. Not only because Welker averaged 112 receptions during his six years in New England, but also because he ended up signing with Peyton Manning and the Broncos, the early favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. To replace Welker, the Patriots signed Danny Amendola, who is five years younger and just as explosive … with one pretty big caveat: Amendola has struggled to stay healthy during his four-plus NFL seasons.
And now, after a 10-reception, 104-yard effort in the Pats' Week 1 win over the Bills, Amendola could be out for a while. He missed last Thursday's game with the Jets because of a groin injury, and a source with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora that Amendola will "definitely be back this season." It's hardly encouraging news for a passing offense that looked absolutely atrocious in Week 2.
More from La Canfora:
There is no set timetable for Amendola's return, and projecting specific weeks would be guessing, sources said, but it is being measured in weeks and not months and it's certainly possible the slot stalwart does not play again in the first half of the season.
Brady looked like something less than his Hall of Fame self against the Jets, going 19 of 39 for 185 yards and a touchdown, and for the first time since 2009, completing fewer than half his passes.
At several points during the game, Brady was visibly upset, something he admitted he'll need to work on.
"I think I have to do a better job with my body language," he said. "I definitely can improve that. I wouldn't say it's a real strong point of mine right now."
But these are the growing pains that come with losing your top five receivers from a season ago (only Rob Gronkowski will return at some point), and then having Amendola sidelined. That leaves Julian Edelman, a former college quarterback, and a bunch of rookies who, well, looked a lot like rookies through two weeks.
Luckily, the Patriots play in a weak AFC East. The first team to nine wins should carry the division, and we fully expect New England to do that with very little competition.