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.

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Three weeks removed from his team blowing a 25-point, second-half lead in the Super Bowl, Mohamed Sanu offered a possible explanation for the Atlanta Falcons losing their edge against the Patriots.

Lady Gaga.

More specifically, it was the half-hour-plus halftime show that interrupted the Falcons' rhythm, the receiver said Friday on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."

“Usually, halftime is only like 15 minutes, and when you’re not on the field for like an hour, it’s just like going to work out, like a great workout, and you go sit on the couch for an hour and then try to start working out again,” Sanu said.

Sanu was asked if the delay was something you can simulate in practice. 

"It's really the energy [you can't duplicate]," he said. "I don't know if you can simulate something like that. That was my first time experiencing something like that."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did simulate it. In his Super Bowl practices, he had his team take long breaks in the middle.

Sanu also addressed the Falcons' pass-first play-calling that didn't eat up clock while the Patriots came back.

"The thought [that they weren't running the ball more] crossed your mind, but as a player, you're going to do what the coach [Dan Quinn] wants you to do." Sanu said. "He's called plays like that all the time."


 

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

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It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.