GMs, coaches at cram session on new NFL rules


GMs, coaches at cram session on new NFL rules

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran

ATLANTA While NFL owners scooted out of town after jamming through a vote on the proposed CBA Thursday night, team decision-makers coaches and GMs were meeting at an airport hotel to discuss what it all means. Owners are still hoping that the players could ratify the CBA and doors would swing open Saturday. If so, theres a lot of information to process and a small amount of time to process it. The landscape, according to one AFC GM will be freaking nuts.Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum told me that the labor seminar being held at the Atlanta Airport Westin is crucial. Weve been preparing for a while and as soon as we have more clarity on what the rules will be we can go forward, Tannenbaum said. Were looking forward to being productive over the next few days depending what the calendar is.The initialcalendar indicates that teams are clear to contact and begin negotiations with their own free agents and draft picks at midnight Friday (or 12:01 a.m. Saturday). Players may also be waived. At 2 p.m. EST Saturday afternoon, undrafted rookies and free agents from other clubs are fair game to contact. Undrafted rookies can be signed as early as Sunday at 2 p.m. On Wednesday, free agency opens. This may have all changed a smidge since players are not anticipated to take a vote by the end of the day Friday. Amid this frenzy, newly created plans like the rookie wage scale must be understood and implemented. This is all subject to the players ratifying the CBA proposal owners ratified Thursday evening. Well have the opportunity to spend time in the labor seminar with the crew and get a jump start on it, said Bills Chief Operating Officer Russ Brandon. We have a pretty good understanding of it. Everybodys in the same boat so well just go to work.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

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?”