By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com 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.