No huddle: Four Pats rap about roster cuts


No huddle: Four Pats rap about roster cuts

The league clock is steadily ticking away on roster cuts. By Friday, every team must be at 53.
One day before New England's roster gets trimmed from 90 to 75, four different players were made available via conference calls. Cornerback Devin McCourty, receivers Matthew Slater and Julian Edelman, and D-lineman Kyle Love all spoke about what this week is like.
MCCOURTY: "I think it's one of the worst parts about this business those two large cutdown dates. I think a lot of the young guys and guys that are on the team have worked hard and I think coming in every day, putting their best foot forward, working hard and then letting the chips fall where they may.
"I remember when my brother Jason was in the same spot early when he was a sixth round draft pick just trying to encourage him and help him out. I told him, 'You did everything you could to work hard for that position so, whatever happens, just be happy and be proud of yourself.'"
SLATER: "It was definitely a tough time. Reality is, you have to get through a certain amount of players down to 53. What I learned early in my career is to try not to think about it and just go out and continue my job, focus on what I had to do. Really, at the end of the day, if I put forth my best effort that's all I could control. It's tough when you're worrying about things you can't control because it can consume you. I just learned not to play the numbers game and just try to go out and take advantage of each and every day that you have here, and hope for the best from there.
"There is a bit of stress that comes with that, but I think every day around here is an up-tempo, tense day. We have to have a sense of urgency every day around here because we have a lot of things to improve on and a lot of things to get done. We understand what time of year it is and what happens. But that's part of the game and we can't do anything to change it."
EDELMAN: "People really don't talk about it. You're over here just thinking about yourself and what you have to do to make the team and contribute to the team. When that day comes I'm mostly thinking about what I've got to do to help this team.
"It's a stressful job. That's part of it getting into this that it's a possibility. What I do is just worry about what I can worry about, what I can control, and that's trying to be a better football player every day and taking the coaching from the coaches.
"You've just got to go out there and do what you think is best for your situation and the situation of the team. That's what I try to do."
LOVE: "It's just another work day. Guys just come in, try to do your job, get better every day. It's just another day for us.
"A couple guys have asked me, 'What about this? What's going on with this? When do you get that call?' and stuff like that. I just tell them, 'Guys, don't too much worry about that. Don't worry about that. Just work hard every day, give it your best effort and play hard when it comes down to it."

Not a lot of talk about Cannon this season, and that's a good thing for Patriots


Not a lot of talk about Cannon this season, and that's a good thing for Patriots

Marcus Cannon has had his run as a piñata. The Patriots offensive lineman is a frequent target when things go wrong up front and, usually, he’s deserved it.

A bit of anecdotal evidence? 

Sunday, I tweeted that every time I watched Cannon, he was making another good play.

On cue, about 10 tweets came back at me with variations of “Keep watching him!”

I asked Bill Belichick if he agreed with the layman’s assessment that Cannon’s playing well.

“I think Marcus [Cannon] has done a good job for us for quite a while,” Belichick began. “I mean he’s stepped in for Sebastian [Vollmer] and then last year when Nate [Solder] was out [and he substituted] for Nate. He has played a lot of good football for us.

“We extended our agreement with him off of his rookie contract which I think speaks to the fact that we want him on the team and we like what he’s doing and so forth and he’s continued to I’d say show with his performance [that he has] validated the confidence that we have in him.”

Cannon’s ending to 2015 – a poor performance (along with the rest of the line) against the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game was followed by a performance against the Cardinals that was marred by late-game holding calls.

But with Sebastian Vollmer injured (and still injured) it was sink or swim with Cannon which had plenty of people rolling their eyes.

But – as I said – every time I see Cannon, he’s either holding off a defensive end in pass protection, steamrolling downfield in the running game or making really athletic second-level or cut blocks in the screen game.

“Like every player, as they gain more experience they do get better,” said Belichick. “I think our offensive line’s certainly improved over the course of the year and playing with more consistency than we did last year. But there’s always room for improvement and the continuity that we’ve had there since (right guard) Shaq [Mason] has gotten in the last few weeks – we had Shaq over on the right side a little bit at the end of the season last year and then this year most all of the year except when Shaq was out for a few weeks there at the end of training camp and the start of the season – but our overall consistency and communication on the offensive line has been better because we’ve had more continuity there so that helps everybody.”

It can’t hurt that the lineman whisperer, Dante Scranecchia, has returned to coach the group. Cannon’s conditioning and physique looks better. He just appears more athletic and explosive. And he’s seemed more relaxed in the limited time the media’s in the locker room.

All off that added up equals nobody really talking about Marcus Cannon.
“Like any lineman, the less you call his name probably the better he’s doing,” said Belichick. “It’s probably a good thing when you guys don’t talk about him. Then that probably means they’re not doing something too noticeably wrong, right?”