HOUSTON -- Danny Amendola has hit the turf running since joining the Houston Texans a week ago, displaying the familiarity of a portion of the playbook and the well-practiced muscle memory to perform at a high level.
Days after joining the Texans on a one-year, $2.5 million contract, the veteran slot wide receiver caught all five passes thrown to him with one touchdown catch during a season-opening win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It was a perfect debut for The Woodlands graduate, former Texas Tech standout and former New England Patriots starter.
“I’m familiar with a lot of the formations, a lot of the motions obviously, and the packages I am in,” Amendola said. “Some of the verbiage and play calling is something that I have to do a lot of learning, get in the books and learn like everybody else did this year. Obviously, they had a lot longer in training camp to do that but lot of studying on my part and just getting familiar with my teammates, trying to build comradery and try to put the best product on the field.”
Amendola scored on a 7-yard touchdown pass, breaking open and catching the football smoothly on a throw from quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
“It was great,” Amendola said. “It was part of a two-minute drive. Defense got us the ball back, obviously. We had a great opportunity to get points before the half. And then we tend to put three receivers on the field when we are going into a two-minute situation. Luckily, I was part of that group and we got it done.”
The 35-year-old now has 598 career receptions 5,998 yards and 22 touchdowns after his five catches for 37 yards and one score last week.
“Any time that you’ve got guys out there that you trust, it makes it feel a whole lot better,” Texans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly said. “ Again, he came in here, learned really quick, really kind of learned a handful of plays. Obviously, his familiarity with the system helped, but he had a little package that he mastered.”
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Back in Houston playing for his hometown team, Amendola has a background with several people in the organization. That includes general manager Nick Caserio, executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby, wide receiver Brandin Cooks and offensive tackle Marcus Cannon.
“I know a lot of people in this building, so it kind of end up working out,” Amendola said. “Very blessed to be here. I know handful of guys in the building. I knew some players and some staff members, obviously. Anytime you have that familiarity and you get in the locker room with them, you can communicate well with those types of players and it just makes your job on the field that much easier. It’s all about communication and being reliable.”
Amendola joked that the best part of being with the Texans is the presence of family, friends and Pappasito’s.
Amendola has played against the Texans for years. Now, he’s part of a 1-0 team that has a difficult road game Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
“I’ve played a lot of football games against the Texans, and every single game in the NFL is tough,” he said. “Doesn’t matter what your record is, everybody is good in this league. Everybody can play football. Everybody is fast. Everybody is strong. When I got to the building, it’s no different either.
“Everybody here is good. Everybody is flying around. We’re eager to get on the field each week to try to prove to the city, prove our fans, prove to the coaches that we can play football and score points, play good defensive and play good special teams. We have a lot to prove.”
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