Marcus Cannon has found a home.
The former TCU star has found a home in New England, and he’s found a home at right tackle.
Cannon bounced around the offensive line his first five seasons as a reserve. He made 19 starts, playing right tackle, left tackle and guard.
Finally, when starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer went on injured reserve before the season with a shoulder injury, Cannon had a position. He has made all 12 starts at right tackle, playing 818 snaps.
“Wherever they put me, I feel comfortable,” Cannon said in a phone interview. “Coach [Bill] Belichick has been doing this for years. So wherever they put me, and wherever I can help the team, my focus always has been doing my best at that position in trying to help the team as best I can.”
I’m glad we have him going forward. He works hard. A quiet kid, but he’s very dependable, team-oriented.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick, on tackle Marcus Cannon
After taking heat for his play in last season’s AFC Championship Game, when quarterback Tom Brady was hit 20 times, including four sacks, in a 20-18 loss to the Denver Broncos, Cannon has earned praise from Belichick.
“Marcus is having a good season,” Belichick told reporters in New England. “He’s been a good player for us. Marcus has always done a solid job for us whenever he’s played. I’m glad we have him going forward. He works hard. A quiet kid, but he’s very dependable, team oriented. He’s done a good job for us in the running game and the passing game. He’s been a good player.”
Cannon has allowed 2.5 sacks this season, according to STATS and has two holding penalties. Pro Football Focus gives him an 84.9 grade for the season, ranking him in a tie for 12th among all NFL tackles.
“This season is not over,” Cannon said. “We’re still pushing to do things we want to do.”
Belichick credited Cannon’s improved play with a weight loss. Cannon weighed 358 during the 2011 combine. He weights 335 now, according to the Patriots’ roster.
... That was just one of those things that I needed to do was lose a little fat and try to get in the best shape of my life.
Patriots tackle Marcus Cannon, down to 335 pounds
“I got with our strength and conditioning coach, Moses Cabrera, and I did a few different things,” Cannon said. “Talking to him, we were just trying to get me to move better and be all around more healthy and that was just one of those things that I needed to do was lose a little fat and try to get in the best shape of my life.”
Cannon also credits offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who took a two-year hiatus in 2014 and ’15 before returning to the Patriots this season.
“He’s a great coach,” Cannon said. “He always seems to get the best out of his guys.”
The Patriots signed the former fifth-round pick to a five-year, $32.5 million contract, with $14.5 million guaranteed, two weeks ago.
“I thought that was right for me and my family,” said Cannon, who still makes his off-season home in the Fort Worth area. “I’m just very excited to still be here and here going forward.”
Cannon has a Super Bowl loss and a Super Bowl win in his five seasons, and the Patriots regained the top spot in the Associated Press power poll this week, displacing the Dallas Cowboys. But the Broncos are staring the Patriots in the face Sunday, with New England ready to show it’s better than it was in the AFC title game.
“We still have this game and two more and whatever we’re fortunate to do after that,” Cannon said. “We’ve still got to keep working, and we’ve got the Broncos ahead of us right now. Von Miller and [DeMarcus] Ware and all those guys, it’s hard to look past to anything else when you have those guys ahead of you this week and such a big game that we’re about to play.”
My five cents
1Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said he wants to help Johnny Manziel. Carr tweeted his support of Manziel and received a positive tweet from the former Texas A&M superstar before the two spoke on the phone. “I don’t know where it’s going to go,” Carr told reporters in Oakland. “There’s no plan or anything like that. That’s just me being me. I’m just trying to help a friend out.”
2Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has practiced with a finger-less glove to help him grip the football with his dislocated middle finger. The Highland Park alum played with a glove in 2011 when he had a broken index finger and was intercepted three times in three games.
3Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson, 34, underwent surgery to repair his ruptured left Achilles only two days after the injury. Dr. Robert Anderson, a foot specialist and Carolina Panthers team doctor, performed the surgery. The former Texas star, who had his other Achilles surgically repaired in 2014, said he has no plans to retire.
4Drew Brees has thrown for more than 4,000 yards for an 11th consecutive season. The New Orleans Saints quarterback is on pace to throw for 5,132 yards. He owns three 5,000-yard seasons already. No other quarterback in NFL history has more than one.
5Former A&M kicker Randy Bullock is playing for his third team this season. The Cincinnati Bengals acquired him on a waiver claim from the Pittsburgh Steelers. He began the season with the New York Giants. In 45 NFL games, Bullock has made 78 of 96 field goals (81.3 percent) and 91 of 95 PATs (95.8).
New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins is tied with Darius Slay of the Detroit Lions for sixth place on Pro Football Focus’ list of top cornerbacks in pass coverage. League-wide he is tied for second with Kansas City’s Marcus Peters and Tampa Bay’s Brent Grimes for the most passes defensed (17).
Only six teams in history have allowed two opposing running backs to top the 200-yard mark in the same season. The Buffalo Bills became the sixth when Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell (236) joined Miami’s Jay Ajayi (214 in Week 7) in rushing for more than 200 yards against them.
3 Teams that have not allowed a 300-yard passer this season. Minnesota, Arizona and Houston are the three teams.
2017 NFL Draft
Dane Brugler of CBS Sports and NFLDraftScout.com gives his top-10 board for the 2017 draft based on who he projects to declare:
1. DE Myles Garrett, A&M (6-5, 262, 4.64)
2. DL Jonathan Allen, Ala. (6-3, 292, 4.85)
3. SS Jamal Adams, LSU (6-0, 211, 4.54)
4. CB Teez Tabor, Fla. (6-0, 192, 4.52)
5. DL Malik McDowell, Mich. St. (6-6, 285, 4.92)
6. LB Reuben Foster, Ala. (6-1, 240, 4.72)
7. QB Mitch Trubisky, NC (6-3, 220, 4.83)
8. DE/OLB Tim Williams, Ala. (6-3, 237, 4.76)
9. FS Malik Hooker, Ohio St. (6-2, 205, 4.57)
10. RB Dalvin Cook, Fla. St. (5-11, 215, 4.46)
The Dallas Cowboys have allowed 59 runs of 10 or more yards. That leads the league, ahead of Buffalo (57) and San Francisco (52).
Buffalo Bills linebacker LB Jerry Hughes played only 40 percent of the defensive snaps last week. He has one sack in his past eight games.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has a 2-7 career record in Denver, including the postseason.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell leads the league in average scrimmage yards per game at 161.6. That’s the second-highest average in history, bettered only by Priest Holmes’ 163.4 average in 2002.
The Philadelphia Eagles have allowed a league-high 50 pass plays of 20 or more yards.
Denver leads the NFL in sacks per pass play, with linebacker Von Miller’s 13.5 sacks tying for the league lead.
Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan has 19 forced fumbles since entering the NFL in 2011. That is tied for the second most by any active player in those six seasons.
The Eagles are tied for the league lead in false-start penalties with 24, including a career-high nine by eight-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters.
The Cleveland Browns have allowed 30 touchdown passes after giving up 34 last season.
The Chicago Bears had 18 dropped passes during QB Matt Barkley’s first three starts without receiver Alshon Jeffery. Ten of the drops came in a 17-16 loss to the Titans.
The Minnesota Vikings and Oakland Raiders are tied for fewest giveaways (nine).
Detroit has an NFL-record eight fourth-quarter comeback victories.
San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde needs 121 yards to reach 1,000 for the season. San Francisco has had only 10 1,000-yards rushers in history.
Arizona’s David Johnson is trying to become only the third running back in history with 1,000 yards receiving and 1,000 yards rushing in the same season.
Raiders punter Marquette King has two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties the past two games.
Information from The Sports Xchange was used in this report.