It's the chicken-egg paradox for the 21st Century NFL:
Is Danny Amendola the way he is because of the five seasons he spent in New England?
Or did he last five seasons with Bill Belichick because of the way he's innately programmed?
“I’ve always been that kid, really,” Amendola insisted this week, when asked about his borderline-maniacal drive for perfection.
Dolphins scribes have only been around Amendola for a few weeks now, but they have already seen his temper up close.
During an OTA practice last week, Amendola threw his helmet, cursed loudly and needed to be consoled after a couple of bad plays.
And it was just what the Dolphins coaches believe last year's lackadaisical roster needed.
"In our minds, it’s not just practice, it’s not just OTAs," said Ben Johnson, Miami's receivers coach. "It’s more than that, and that is a great example. We don’t want throwing helmets, no; but at the same time, that’s the passion, that’s what it takes for us to get to a championship level. If somebody is saying, ‘Hey, it’s just practice.’ No, no, no. I’m going to tell you, they’re not winning many championships like that. So, what he brought to the table last week, it’s already paying dividends for the rest of the guys."
But Amendola is more than a hype guy.
He's going to be a big part of the Dolphins' offense.
Gone are the days when quarterbacks have to force the ball to Jarvis Landry 10 times a game. This will be a by-committee passing attack.
That's right in Amendola's wheelhouse.
He played an important role in New England's offense despite never getting 100 balls thrown his way in any season he spent with Tom Brady.
"We have a lot to prove," Amendola said of Miami's receivers. "We come out every day with a chip on our shoulder and try to get better. That’s the mentality that we bring to practice every day. That’s what we’re going to bring every day and try to improve every day. That’s what we’re going to focus on, not really listen to what our expectations are, but just get out there and practice hard one day at a time.”
Sometimes it takes an extra few reps in practice. Sometimes it takes shot-putting your head gear.
But what it never takes, based on Amendola's limited interaction with Miami media, is revealing much of anything to reporters.
After uttering a total of 56 words in response to five relatively non-intrusive questions, Amendola had to be reminded that he's no longer under Belichick's thumb.
"I’m not giving you all much."
As for the Dolphins, he plans to give him everything he can at age 32 — which, according to Johnson, is still plenty.
“Haven’t seen any difference right now," Amendola's position coach said, when asked if there are any limitations based on Amendola's age. "Nothing. Not a thing.”
Amendola added: "You want to create an atmosphere that’s conducive to winning and practice at a championship level. Whether that’s an individual drill to open up the practice, you want to be perfect. You want to practice with great fundamentals and continue to sharpen up and that’s what it’s about."