FOXBORO -- With the clock ticking on 2010 second-rounder Jermaine Cunningham, the light appears to have gone on.
Bill Belichick said Tuesday that the defensive endoutside linebacker has had a "great offseason," adding that Cunningham "really worked hard. He looks good."
Given that the offseason has so far consisted of voluntary weightlifting and OTAs, I asked Belichick where improvement can be seen.
"A player's physical improvement, overall mental grasp of what we're doing and what we can see on the field which is non-contact but reactions and technique," Belichick explained.
After starting 11 games as a rookie at outside linebacker in the Patriots 3-4, Cunningham played in just nine games and didn't have a start last year. He was completely and utterly out of the mix as the Patriots went to the 4-3 more often.
What went wrong, Belichick was asked.
"I don't know. I'm sure it was a combination of things," he said. "But whatever happened with any of our players last year whether it was good, bad or indifferent it's not that important. We're trying to move forward and evaluate the team on its current basis.
"We'll see where it takes us this year," Belichick added."It will be up to him, and how he performs, relative to the other players at his position. I think we have good competition there."
FOXBORO -- The Patriots have added some receiver depth to their locker room by signing Da'Ron Brown to their practice squad.
Brown, 25, was a seventh-round pick of the Chiefs in 2015 and spent his rookie season on the Kansas City practice squad. At Northern Illinois, the 6-foot, 199-pounder caught 155 passes in four years, accumulating 2,295 yards and scoring 19 touchdowns. He also rushed for two scores in his career. As a senior in 2014, he caught 68 passes for 1,065 yards.
With the signing, the Patriots have filled out their practice squad. The team has had an opening on its 10-man unit since the Colts signed away receiver Devin Street for their 53-man roster.
With just four receivers on the Patriots roster, not including special teams ace Matthew Slater, they've loaded up on receiver depth through their practice squad with Brown, Devin Lucien and DeAndrew White.
FOXBORO -- The Patriots had both of their qurterbacks on the field and suited up for Tuesday's shells-and-sweats practice on the fields behind Gillette Stadium.
Both Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) and Jacoby Brissett (thumb) are dealing with injuries, but both were present for the session, as were the rest of their teammates on the 53-man roster.
Brissett was spotted in the Patriots locker room before practice with no brace or wrap of any kind on his thumb, but he did have his right thumb taped when out on the field.
Patriots tight end AJ Derby was the lone player in a black practice jersey, indicating that he has been named practice player of the week. Running low on quarterbacks, Derby may have served as the scout-team quarterback as the Patriots defense prepared for the Texans. He played the position at Iowa and Arkansas before changing positions.
The Patriots have four practices scheduled this week, and the team will release injury reports, as usual, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.