Quiet Cannon has opportunity in camp

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Quiet Cannon has opportunity in camp

FOXBORO -- Marcus Cannon had a crossbow for sale.

So he put it on Craigslist. From there, a special thing happened. Robert Rodriguez, an Iraqi War veteran who suffered head and shoulder injuries from an IED back in 2007, answered the ad and purchased the crossbow.

When Cannon learned Rodriguez' situation, Cannon delivered the crossbow personally and gave Rodriguez the crossbow for free.

Asked about the gesture on Sunday, Cannon said simply, "It was something like that."

The second-year tackle is not going to talk anyone's ear off. But he does have an opportunity in this camp to open some eyes.

With upheaval on the offensive line due to injuries and excused absences, Cannon's working extensively at right tackle in place of Sebastian Vollmer.

It's been a mixed bag. Cannon's a tenacious run-blocker but has had moments of inefficiency in individual drills focused on pass-blocking.

Cannon, who underwent treatement for non-Hodgkins Lymphoma last summer and made his NFL debut in November, has changed his body noticeably. He's thinner in the face and seems more sturdily built.

He says he weighs about the same but credits the change to the offseason training program in Foxboro.

With Vollmer still not active, Cannon is likely going to spend a chunk of the preseason working at right tackle. It's a big opportunity for a player who had no preseason in 2010.

"We just do our jobs," said Cannon. "(Offensive line coach Dante) Scarnecchia is a great coach, he's always got everybody on whatever needs to be happening, he tells us what to do and it always works."

Hopes for the season?

"I want to get better every day, do the best I can and somehow help the team," Cannon said.

There's no doubt the former fifth-rounder can help. Whether he can wrest a spot from the oft-dinged Vollmer is the bigger question. So far, the answer is "unlikely."

But it's early and Cannon has shown in a lot of ways he's got a big heart.

Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh

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Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh

Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss the aftermath of Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video. Curran interview Matt Light ahead of the AFC Championship. They dissect the press conferences of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and look at how to beat the Steelers.

SUBSCRIBE iTunes | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | AudioBoom

2:29 Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live aftermath

13:14 Stopping Le’Veon Bell

27:16 heywassyonumba? with Patrick Chung and Kyle Van Noy

32:30 Injury report updates for AFC Championship

36:51 Brady and Belichick’s press conferences

44:50 Matt Light interview

Belichick asked if playing at home helps: 'Go ask Dallas and Kansas City'

Belichick asked if playing at home helps: 'Go ask Dallas and Kansas City'

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick knows that how you play, not where, is what matters most. 

That's why when he was asked on Wednesday about the advantage the Patriots will have by playing at Gillette Stadium in the AFC title game, he wasn't willing to go all-in on how a comfortable environment will positively impact his team.

"I don’t know," he said. "Go ask Dallas and Kansas City."

The Patriots apparently thought enough of home-field advantage that they played their starters throughout their regular-season finale win in Miami, exposing their best players to potential injury in order to maintain their positive momentum while simultaneously ensuring a better road to the Super Bowl. 

The Patriots fans in attendance on Sunday will help when the Patriots take on the Steelers, Belichick acknowledged. But there's much more to it than that. 

"Yeah, of course," he said, "but the game is won by the players on the field. That’s who wins football games – the players. And they’ll decide it Sunday night."

And if you needed any further proof, just ask the Cowboys and Chiefs how helpful their home crowds were in the Divisional Round.