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  • Amendola Providing Happy Returns ..

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    In their long search to find a solid kick and punt returner capable of improving field position, the Rams hoped to overturn a diamond in the rough when they signed Danny Amendola from Philadelphia’s practice squad on Sept. 22.

    The Rams wasted no time in throwing Amendola into the fire, placing him on the field after just three practices as a Ram. Not only did Amendola immediately handle the punt and kick return duties but he also got thrown right into the mix at receiver in his second game.

    And so far, at least, Amendola has been everything the Rams had hoped.

    “It's baptism by fire, because we had to get him some wide receiver reps in just his second game,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “But he's a pretty sharp guy.”

    Indeed, Amendola has picked up the system with little trouble. Although that was expected because he came from a system in Philadelphia that is nearly identical to the Rams’, Amendola’s production has still been a bit of a pleasant surprise.

    After catching one pass for 8 yards in his first two weeks, Amendola has posted 13 catches for 103 yards in the past three weeks and has proved to be a reliable target for quarterback Marc Bulger on third down and an adept runner after the catch with his penchant for taking quick screens and gaining extra yards after the reception.

    “Yeah, that’s what I set out to do. In every situation I have been in, I have tried to make the most of my opportunities wherever I go,” Amendola said. “It’s progressing. I think I have improved in a lot of areas. I am excited.”

    Of course, Amendola’s production as a slot receiver could simply be viewed as an added bonus to the boost he’s given to the team’s previously lacking return game.

    Amendola is averaging 24.3 yards per kick return on 29 attempts with a long of 58. He also had a long return brought back by penalty in San Francisco. And on eight punt returns, he is getting 8.1 yards per try.

    “There’s a lot coach (Tom) McMahon has helped me learn about setting up blocks and stuff, especially on kickoff return,” Amendola said. “That’s a big reason we have been successful. I have learned a lot since I got here.”

    Amendola is likely to continue to figure more prominently in the passing game each week and will certainly continue to get opportunities as the returner.

    “I always have something to prove,” Amendola said. “I think there will be some long returns to come and I am looking forward to them. We are just on the brink of breaking one so it will be nice when it happens.”

    IN A SNAP: Speaking of special teams, this week will be the first time in eight years the Rams have had someone other than Chris Massey enter the game as a long snapper.

    Massey suffered a season-ending ACL injury against the Colts last week and the Rams signed Ryan Neill to replace him. Neill has spent this week playing catch up and getting used to the setup in St. Louis.

    “There’s a lot of adjustment,” Neill said. “There’s timing issues where there’s different calls, different terminology, different types of sets. It’s getting used to the timing and all of us getting comfortable.”

    Neill is in his third season in the league after spending the past two years snapping for Buffalo. Before that, he was on the Bills practice squad as a defensive end. After spending a year there, Buffalo special teams coach Bobby April made Neill aware that his future in the NFL was likely dependent on long snapping.

    “The first year in Buffalo I cam as a defensive end, my goal was to make the team as a defensive end,” Neill said. “Bobby April the special teams coach up there talked me into snapping career wise, and gave me the opportunity to have a long career with it.”

    Neill flew to St. Louis on Monday and participated in a workout with three other candidates. In addition to the pertinent decision makers, punter/holder Donnie Jones and kicker Josh Brown were also present.

    Jones said he was pleased with how it went and the final choice.

    “We were here for the workouts,” Jones said. “That was one thing we talked about was how important it was for us to kind of come here and evaluate him because timing with field goals, myself holding and with punts we want to know exactly what the options are and be able to have our input. Now, ultimately we didn’t make the decision, they did. I was happy with the decision they made. I think the guy has two years experience and it will just be us working and trying to establish timing and going out and being successful.”

    ON THE CORNER: Massey wasn’t the only injured Ram who needed a replacement this week. The Rams also placed cornerback Bradley Fletcher on injured reserve with a torn lateral meniscus and ACL.

    Fletcher had surgery on the meniscus earlier in the week and his season is done. In his place, the Rams have yet to make a final decision on who will start but Spagnuolo indicated Friday that Quincy Butler could get his first opportunity to start this season.

    “Quincy has done a nice job for us,” defensive coordinator Ken Flajole said. “He hasn’t gotten all the reps that the other guys have because we had some people in front of him, but as you mentioned, we’ve had some injuries there so he is getting a chance to step up. He has done a nice job this week and hopefully he’ll continue and play like a seasoned vet on Sunday.”

    Assuming it’s Butler and Ron Bartell on the outside, Justin King, who is returning from a groin injury, would handle the nickel back job.

    LINEBACKER LINEUP: The Rams also have a decision to make in terms of the situation at linebacker after David Vobora made his return from a four-game suspension this week.

    Vobora has been doing a bit of everything on the practice field, working in the middle with the scout team, with the first team on the strong side and playing on special teams.

    Paris Lenon will remain on the weak side with James Laurinaitis in the middle but it appears Vobora will be back in his old strong side spot.

    Spagnuolo said Vobora fit right back in just fine and though he could alternate with Larry Grant, Vobora is the likely starter.

    “To have a guy that has been in our system and to have him back and fresh legs – he’s got the freshest legs in camp right now – it is good to have him back,” Flajole said. “It adds and gives us some depth and gives us some options at linebacker so we welcome him back.”

    GOING HOME: The Rams have plenty of players with ties to the Detroit area and all will be going home to play in a regular season game for the first time in a long time.

    Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe is from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, just on the other side of the border from Detroit. Clifton Ryan is from Saginaw, Mich., and played collegiately at Michigan State. Receiver Ruvell Martin is from Muskegon, Mich., cornerback Ron Bartell is from Detroit and James Hall is a former Lion who also attended the University of Michigan.

    Bartell is going to host some teammates at his house for a bit on Saturday and Ryan said he expects to have a nice turnout of support from friends and family on Sunday.

    “Right now I am at 34 tickets but a lot of people bought their own tickets and a couple of my friends bought their own suite,” Ryan said. “Yeah, there will be a lot of 95 jerseys but probably a lot of 92 Michigan State jerseys in the stands too.”

    INJURY REPORT: The Rams injury report did not change much on Friday as the players expected to be OK were and the ones expected to be out were.

    Ryan returned from illness and is fine. Donnie Avery, Hall and King have been limited in practice but gotten quite a bit of work and should be good to go as well. They are listed as probable.

    As expected, guard Richie Incognito sat out again Friday and will not be available this weekend. C.J. Ah You (ankle) did do some limited work and will be questionable for the game.

  • #2
    Re: Amendola Providing Happy Returns ..

    It's hard to believe some people don't think Amendola has added much. Not only is he a threat to break every return, he's been the only real dependable receiver on the roster the last several weeks. He's been a great pickup IMO.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Amendola Providing Happy Returns ..

      My favorite players (I'm talking new guys) are Danny Amendola on O, and James Laurinaitus on D. I'm hoping they both score today ..

      Danny A. = The Little Engine That Could !!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Amendola Providing Happy Returns ..

        he wasnt to happy when he got leveled today on that kickoff return ouch!!! but what a good win!!!! good job rams

        Comment

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        • r8rh8rmike
          Amendola Gives Rams Return On Investment
          by r8rh8rmike
          Amendola gives Rams return on investment
          BY BILL COATS
          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
          10/17/2009

          When he wakes up on Mondays now, Danny Amendola is sore all over. That's a good thing, he explained, because it means he's playing football on Sundays.

          "It feels good to be beat up again," Amendola said. "It's been a year and a half."

          The Rams signed the 5-foot-11, 183-pound Amendola off Philadelphia's practice squad Sept. 22 and immediately assigned him to return punts and kicks. Because of injuries to the corps of wideouts, he has also been thrust into the mix on offense.

          "It's baptism by fire, because we had to get him some wide receiver reps in just his second game," coach Steve Spagnuolo noted. "But he's a pretty sharp guy."

          Amendola had one reception for 8 yards at San Francisco, followed by a five-catch, 43-yard outing last week vs. Minnesota. He's averaging 7.6 yards on five punt returns and 22.4 yards on 18 kickoff returns.

          Asked whether he preferred catching or returning, Amendola, 23, said, "I like being on the field in any way possible. Whatever way it is, hopefully I can make some plays in both areas."

          Until the Rams grabbed him, Amendola hadn't seen game action since Jan. 1, 2008, when he helped Texas Tech to a 31-28 Gator Bowl victory over Virginia at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium — site of the Rams' game Sunday against the Jaguars.

          As a senior, Amendola hauled in 103 passes — the fourth-highest total in the nation — for 1,177 yards and five touchdowns. But like fellow Red Raiders wideout and former teammate Wes Welker, Amendola was passed over in the draft.

          Dallas brought him in as a rookie free agent, and he spent the season on the practice squad. The Eagles signed him last January.

          With the Rams, Amendola finally is getting an opportunity to show his stuff in the regular season. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said Amendola "has done a nice job for us. He's quick, he finds a way to separate, he can run real well, and he's a tough guy. We feel good about him."

          INJURY UPDATES

          Safety James Butler (knee) and wide receiver Ruvell Martin (hamstring) were listed as doubtful Friday on the final injury report of the week, meaning they're unlikely to suit up Sunday. Safety Anthony Smith (Achilles tendon) was questionable. Quarterback Kyle Boller (concussion) and defensive ends Leonard Little (illness) and C.J. Ah You (illness) were probable.

          GOLDBERG STARTS

          Spagnuolo said that Adam Goldberg would start again at right tackle but that rookie Jason Smith "is going to see some playing time." Smith, who suffered a knee injury late in the first half Sept. 20 at Washington, got in for two snaps on special teams last Sunday.

          Rookie cornerback...
          -10-17-2009, 08:27 PM
        • r8rh8rmike
          Danny Amendola Hopes Solid Season Has Cemented Spot
          by r8rh8rmike
          Danny Amendola hopes solid season has cemented spot
          BY BILL COATS
          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
          01/02/2010

          The Rams' leading ground gainer this season is …

          No, it's not Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson, who has piled up 1,675 yards (1,353 rushing and 322 receiving).

          Danny Amendola has Jackson beat … by a lot.

          Amendola has gobbled up 2,100 yards of real estate — 1,507 on 61 kickoff returns (both franchise records), 287 on 26 punt returns, 308 on 40 receptions, and minus 2 on three carries.

          He's amassed those numbers in just 13 games since the Rams signed him off Philadelphia's practice squad Sept. 22. And he has one more chance, Sunday's season finale against visiting San Francisco, to add to them.

          The 5-foot-11, 186-pound Texas Tech product, who joined the Eagles as an undrafted rookie, has taken a pounding. But he isn't complaining.

          "I'm definitely sore," he acknowledged Friday after the team's last full practice of the season. "That's what the NFL's all about. You play 16 games, and it's a grind. But that's what the people want to see, and it's fun."

          Amendola has been effective on returns, with solid averages of 24.7 yards on kickoffs and 11.0 yards on punts. That came as no surprise, coach Steve Spagnuolo said.

          "We certainly knew that he was a good returner," he said. "I think he's really surfaced as a guy we rely on in the pass game a little bit. He finds ways to get open."

          Only Jackson (51) and fellow wide receiver Donnie Avery (45) have more catches than Amendola.

          "I could have done some better things, but I've definitely improved since I first stepped on the field at receiver when I got here," he said. "You've got to give credit to the coaching staff for helping me do so."

          Asked whether he felt that he carved out a spot for himself on the team, Amendola said, "In a way, yeah. I definitely feel like I got a lot of experience, which has helped me a lot. But ... I've got a job to lose, and I'm going to try to go all out" to prevent that.

          PRIDE OF RAYTOWN

          Another undrafted rookie — the Rams have eight on their 53-man roster — will get his first start Sunday, and he'll have plenty of friends and family members here to witness it.

          "I'll have a nice little support huddle in the stands," said Roger Allen, who will line up at left guard in place of the injured Mark Setterstrom. Allen hails from the Kansas City suburb of Raytown, and his phone has been ringing all week.

          "I'm sure even more will be calling up with ticket requests," he said. "I bought a few in advance."

          Allen, an NCAA Division II All-American at Missouri Western State, was among the inactives for the first 13 games....
          -01-02-2010, 12:24 AM
        • 01d 0rd3r
          Amendolla pinballs into the record books.
          by 01d 0rd3r
          By Nick Wagoner
          Senior Writer

          The Rams were just two games into the season and they found themselves banged up at receiver and looking for someone to inject life into a sagging return game.

          In Danny Amendola, they hoped to find an answer for at least one of those questions. What they might not have expected was a cure for the ailing return unit and a surprise contributor to the offense. In Amendola, they found both.

          “Danny has been great,” special teams coach Tom McMahon said. “Danny has toughness, and that’s the biggest quality that I see in him. And, he’s a pro, he always spends extra time, and the guys see that, and they block harder for him. When you’ve got a guy who is putting in extra time, the other guys perform harder.”

          Since signing with the team on Sept. 22, Amendola has been one of the more pleasant surprises of the 2009 season. For a team that has repeatedly gone to the well in search of someone who can stick, Amendola has perhaps been the most consistent contributor to the team on a weekly basis.

          “Personally, I was just trying to come in and fill a role and do what I do to help the team in any which way,” Amendola said. “It’s been fun getting in there.”

          Upon his signing, Amendola’s foremost job was to help on special teams where he was immediately plugged in as the starting kickoff and punt returner.

          After bouncing around some from Philadelphia’s practice squad this season and the same role in Dallas the year before, Amendola made his NFL regular season debut on Sept. 27 against Green Bay.

          Amendola went right to work, returning eight kickoffs in his debut for 187 yards. The eight returns were tied for the most in franchise history. He also returned a pair of punts for 23 yards. All in all, not a bad first day of work.

          Since, Amendola has made a statement about his ability to return kicks in the NFL. IN last week’s game against Houston, Amendola five kicks for 159 yards. In the process, he set the Rams season mark for return yards at 1,435 yards. That bests the previous mark of 1,379 yards held by Tony Horne from 2000.

          This week, four kick returns for Amendola would push him past Drew Hill for the most returns in a season by a Ram.

          Impressive numbers sure, but ones that Amendola doesn’t spend much time worrying about.

          “I didn’t even know that,” Amendola said. “That’s great I guess. At the end of the day, I just want to get more wins. That’s all I can really say.”

          The always humble Amendola joins some pretty impressive company among players that have held the return duties in Rams history. Although the past few years haven’t provided much in the way of spark in the return game, there is a long line of guys who have done it and done it well in team history.

          Horne, Az-Zahir Hakim, Hill and Dante Hall are among the most accomplished...
          -12-24-2009, 07:21 PM
        • Rambos
          Amendola Embraces Leadership Role
          by Rambos
          Nick Wagoner

          Although he is entering just his fourth full NFL season with the Rams, Danny Amendola at the age of 26 has already become the de facto grizzled veteran of a mostly young and inexperienced receiver corps.

          In fact, of the 10 receivers the Rams have on their current roster, Amendola is the second oldest, only about six months behind Steve Smith and the next closest wideout in terms of age is Brandon Gibson, who is almost two full years younger.

          So as the Rams transition into another new offensive system under coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and continue to develop with a young crew of wideouts, the onus falls on Amendola, along with receivers coach Ray Sherman, to help his young teammates realize their potential.

          It’s a role that Amendola has embraced, not that he has much say in the matter.

          “That’s just the role as a veteran you are automatically kind of slotted into that, I guess,” Amendola said. “The fact that you know, whether it’s questions about where to live, how to turn the computers on, where do I get my car washed or just stuff relative to life in St. Louis, to be a rookie and a new guy here is a learning process. I’m willing to help any way I can.”

          To think that Amendola has become the veritable leader amongst players in the wide receiver meeting rooms is no surprise considering the work ethic and ability he brings to the table on a daily basis.

          What is surprising, though, is that in many ways Amendola is still learning the finite details of the game himself and only a few years ago was fighting simply to salvage a spot on a NFL roster, let alone a practice squad.

          Coming out of Texas Tech in 2008, Amendola bounced between Dallas (where he first learned under Sherman) and Philadelphia, spending his time on each team’s practice squad before the Rams signed him to their active roster on Sept. 22, 2009.

          Since then, Amendola’s career has been on a decided upward trajectory. In just three years, he’s gone from the fringe of the NFL to valuable receiver and positional leader.

          That journey has been an interesting one but Amendola knows better than most that if he stops to take time and think how far he’s come, he could find himself right back where he began.

          “At the end of the day, when my career is over I will look back and look at that stuff but right now honestly I am just trying to get this playbook down,” Amendola said. “I don’t even know what I’m going to eat for lunch. I guess we’ll just have to see how it goes. At the end of the day, I’ll look back but not right now.”

          Right now, Amendola has much bigger fish to fry. In Schottenheimer’s offense, Amendola’s role has expanded greatly from the more simple description of “slot” receiver that he’s been saddled with since his arrival in St. Louis.

          Amendola has proved more than capable of playing...
          -08-15-2012, 06:03 PM
        • MauiRam
          Small in stature, Amendola coming up big for Rams ..
          by MauiRam
          BY BILL COATS • Friday, October 8, 2010

          Asked to describe Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola in one word, running back Steven Jackson replied, "Feisty."

          "Electric," said wideout Mark Clayton.

          "Quick," said fullback Mike Karney.

          "Tenacious," said wideout Brandon Gibson.

          "Energetic," said quarterback Sam Bradford.

          "Special," said wideout Laurent Robinson.

          "Competitive," said offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.

          Amendola laughed when asked to portray himself in one word. "What did the others say?" he asked before finally settling on "effort."

          All are apt adjectives for Amendola, who although he's listed at 5 feet 11 and 186 pounds admitted that he's actually 5-10 and 180. He's the Rams' second-leading receiver, with 21 catches for 208 yards, heading into Sunday's game at Detroit.

          Still, one more word is needed to complete the Amendola outline: "tough."

          "You know what, that's probably the word I would've picked before 'quick,' how tough he is," Karney said. "He'll take some big hits out there. The guy's got a lot of guts."

          Robinson called Amendola "the toughest little guy I've seen. Doesn't care about anything. Just one tough guy."

          Added coach Steve Spagnuolo: "He's off the charts there, in everything he does. ... Walking in the hallway, he looks tough."

          Always 'a handful'

          Willie Amendola chuckled at the various depictions of the youngest of his two sons. "He's been like that since the day he was born, believe me," he said. "He was a handful when he was little."

          Growing up in The Woodlands, a suburb of Houston, Danny was what his father termed a "tag-along kind of guy." Brother Matt was 5 years older, and Danny constantly was in competition with bigger boys.

          "He learned to defend himself," Willie Amendola said.

          Or as Weldon Willig, who coached both Amendola brothers at The Woodlands High, put it, "Younger brothers get to be tougher, because they have the hell beat out of them every day as they're growing up."

          Willie Amendola is the head football coach and athletics director at Dekaney High in Houston. After a long day at practice, he faced the daunting challenge of putting young Danny down for the night.

          "Couldn't get him to bed," Willie recalled. "You'd have to chase him around the house, and I couldn't catch him. We used to do what we called race to bed. So wherever he was, 'I'll race you to bed.'

          "One day he leaped from the doorway over the bed and put his head right through the headboard. Didn't blink an eye."

          Danny...
          -10-08-2010, 01:26 AM
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