Much has been made of Las Vegas Raiders GM Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels bringing in players they are familiar with from their time with the New England Patriots. New QB Jimmy Garoppolo and wide receiver Jakobi Meyers both played under McDaniels in New England as did recently signed backup QB Brian Hoyer.
But apparently, this is not just limited to players as the latest addition to the Raiders’ coaching staff also has ties with McDaniels and Ziegler with the Patriots.
According to Kevin Patra of NFL.com, the Raiders are bringing in former Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola as an assistant in charge of coaching the returners:
Danny Amendola is reuniting with Josh McDaniels once again.
The former NFL receiver has joined the Las Vegas Raiders as a coaching assistant/returners, per the team’s official website.
This is a move that does make some sense for the Raiders as Amendola was one of the most reliable return men in the NFL when he played. In his rookie season with the then-St. Louis Rams, Amendola led the entire NFL in kick return yards with 1,618. In 2015 with the Patriots Amendola led the league in return yards per punt at 12.0.
The Raiders could certainly use some help on their special teams as they ranked 30th in punt return yards and 31st in yards per return. It wasn’t much better on the kick return side as the team ranked 25th in yards per kick return. That combined with the defense’s struggles to take the ball away from the opposition, meant the Raiders were losing the field position battle far more often than not.
The main talking point will likely be about another former Patriot coming to Las Vegas, but the Raiders giving their special teams a boost is far more important, and hopefully, Amendola can do just that.
Raiders owner Mark Davis stresses patience amidst changes
Any time a new regime takes over a franchise they begin to build the team in their image and that is undoubtedly the case for the Raiders under McDaniels and Ziegler. But that process takes time, and owner Mark Davis understands as well.
Speaking recently, Davis said that it is easy for people to criticize and believe they know what is best and what needs to happen just because they watch some games. But Davis believes there is much more to it than that and stressed the need for himself and everyone to simply be patient.