The Detroit Lions are set for their regular season “dress rehearsal” against the New England Patriots. If there is a preseason game important to fans this is it as it is the game the starters typically see the most action and it is the final game before the first round of cuts.
Here are five questions with FanSided’s New England Patriots site, Musket Fire, to get you ready for the game. My thanks to the site’s editor, Joe Soriano, for taking the time to answer my questions.
1. I’d say most NFL fans are highly skeptical that Danny Amendola can hold up as a suitable replacement for Wes Welker over the course of a full season. What do you say?
Honestly, I’m not overly concerned about Amendola being able to stay healthy, and I don’t really consider him an injury-prone player. The contract that the Patriots gave Amendola indicates that we shouldn’t count on Amendola being able to stay healthy for the entire season, but I look at his injury history and wonder if all of these concerns are overblown. In four seasons with the Rams, Amendola missed games with injury three times. He missed 15 games in 2011 after being placed on the IR, and he missed five games last year with shoulder and foot injuries. That shoulder injury was the clavicle injury that nearly killed him, and I always tell this story to give a glimpse at just how tough and dedicated Amendola is. When he came off of the field in that game against the Arizona Cardinals, they showed him in the locker room. He threw his helmet out of frustration and yelled to get back on the field. He recovered from that injury in just three weeks. The injury concerns with Amendola are real, but I’ve always believed that they are overblown.
2. With Amendola being the “big” offensive acquisition, how worried are you that the team will lack the firepower they need, even with Tom Brady at quarterback?
I don’t think this team lacks “firepower” on offense at all, because I associated “firepower” with “explosiveness”. This offense will still run a no-huddle, and it’s going to be a whole lot more explosive than it was last year. If you look at the Patriots wide receiver corps, this team made a consecrated effort to get younger and more explosive at receiver. Aaron Dobson/Kenbrell Thompkins vs. Brandon Lloyd. Josh Boyce vs. Deion Branch. Danny Amendola vs. Wes Welker. In each case, the new player is both younger and more explosive. Shane Vereen is going to be a big weapon for the Patriots, and his incredible speed can make him quite the catalyst for this offense. I think the Patriots are deeper and have more upside on offense, but there is still uncertainty despite how well the rookie WRs have gotten a hang of things in August. I’m still worried that Aaron Dobson isn’t all that he’s cracked out to be, but the emergence of Zach Sudfeld and the news that Gronk can play in Week 3 are both big for this team.