Cunningham sets goal to have big year


Cunningham sets goal to have big year

By Danny Picard Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; With so much talk surrounding the Patriots acquisition ofAlbert Haynesworth, its easy to overlook some of the younger players who mayplay just as big a role on the defensive end in 2011.

One of those younger players is defensive end JermaineCunningham.

Cunningham is entering his second NFL season, and is poisedto have a big year, after making 35 tackles in 2010.

Thats the goal, said Cunningham after Sunday morningswalkthrough. I mean, every season youre supposed to have expectations. I justwant to go out there and do good, and help the team win.

Im feeling good you know, just getting back to playingfootball, just trying to come out here and work hard and keep getting better.

There wasnt even much walking in Sundays walkthrough forthe Patriots defensive linemen and linebackers. For most of the session, itlooked as if they were just standing around doing nothing on the side practicefield at Gillette Stadium.

But in reality, they were doing more than that.

Youve got to make sure you know what youre doing, soweve got to make sure weve got all the assignments down, said Cunninghamafterwards. Just try to get in the best position.

In 2011, Cunningham is in a position to prove himself as aspecial player. Not just because hes a promising talent at 6-foot-3 and 260pounds. But also because of the recent cuts New England just made by releasingTy Warren and Tully Banta-Cain. Cunninghams production, at this point, is evenmore important to the Patriots.

He just sees it as another opportunity to prove his worth onthe Patriots defense.

Every season people get better, people get worse, saidCunningham. Its just, the best person is always going to play. Youve justgot to go out there and prove yourself.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Jets lose, Patriots guaranteed 1st place in AFC East when Brady returns


Jets lose, Patriots guaranteed 1st place in AFC East when Brady returns

When Tom Brady returns to the Patriots following his four-game suspension, his team will be in sole possession of first place in the AFC East.

That became the reality as soon as the Jets fell to the Chiefs in Kansas City on Sunday, 24-3. The Jets committed eight turnovers in the loss to fall to 1-2. 

The Bills and Dolphins each won their first games of the season on Sunday, taking down the Cardinals and Browns, respectively. 

With the Patriots record at 3-0 following their win over the Texans on Thursday night, and with all three of their AFC East rivals sitting on just one win thus far, even if Bill Belichick's club was to fall to Rex Ryan and the Bills in Week 4, it would still be alone atop the division.


Surely the Patriots would like to have a zero in the loss column when Brady returns. Regardless, to be in first place when Brady's Deflategate punishment is finished -- and having achieved that mark with two different starting quarterbacks -- has to be a point of pride for the organization . . . and a source of agita for those who doled out the punishment.

Rex Ryan: 'If Belichick's playing quarterback, we're coming after him'


Rex Ryan: 'If Belichick's playing quarterback, we're coming after him'

Must be Bills week. 

After Rex Ryan's club put together an impressive win at home over the Cardinals, 33-18, it wasn't long before the Bills coach was yapping about the Patriots and their coach Bill Belichick.

Ryan was asked about the quarterback situation in New England since both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett are dealing with injuries at the moment. Who might the Bills see when they visit Gillette Stadium?

"Look, I can sit back and say I don’t care who plays quarterback, cuz I know (Tom) Brady ain’t," he said. "I don’t care who plays quarterback; Steve Grogan can play quarterback. If Belichick’s playing quarterback, we’re coming after him. I promise you that."

There's no indication yet as to whether or not Garoppolo or Brissett will be unavailable for Week 4. When asked about his level of concern when it came to his quarterbacks, Belichick didn't say much during a conference call on Sunday

Ryan, like the rest of us, will probably have to wait for the Patriots to release an injury report before he learns about the status of either young passer. And until then, he'll have to prepare for both.