Patriots pick OG Cannon, TE Smith in 5th

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Patriots pick OG Cannon, TE Smith in 5th

By TomE. Curran
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO - The Patriots final pick of Friday night was a dice roll - quarterback Ryan Mallett, a quarterbackfrom an Arkansas with a checkered past. They took a chance again with their first pick Saturday, drafting massive offensive guard Marcus Cannon out of TCU, a young man with an uncertain future. Just two days after the 358-pounder began treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma (read more about this form of cancer here), the Patriots made him the 138th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. On one hand, it's magnanimous and a story that warms the heart. The Patriots take a chance on a kid every other teambacked away from.On the other hand, it's an opportunistic and shrewd business. In Cannon, the Patriots have a kid viewed as a possible top 50 pick until health issues came to light. If he recovers, they have a player with second-round value picked up in the fifth round. Buy low, sell high. I guess it can be both. And there's no doubting that Cannon - like Mallett - wins because he's joining one of the most stable organizations in the NFL with a sensible, good-hearted coach and very generous owners. Cannon will get all the time he needs. And when he's ready he'll be fired into the offensive line mix and given a chance to compete at guard. Could be a guy who unseats Dan Connolly. Could be the successor to Logan Mankins. But that will all wait until after the health issues sort themselves out. Saturday, Cannon said he didn't feel washed out from the chemo treatment he'd gotten. "God's blessed me," he said. "I haven't had any of the symptoms of my treatment that I was supposed to have."

As for when he'll be ready for football, Cannon replied, "I'm just taking my treatment day-by-day, and whenever I'm done with my treatment is when I get to go play football."And then there's Smith. You know it's not an NFL Draft until the Patriots take a tight end. They've done that. Kicked out of Tennessee in 2006 after a DUI arrest, he transferred to Marshall and - apparently found himself. He's a two-time team captain and became a vocal and compelling The 6-6, 266-pounder is going to be a Gronkowski understudy even though he turns 24 in November and Gronk turns 22 in May. He's not going to catch gobs of passes but between Aaron Hernandez, Alge Crumpler, Gronk and Smith, there's a good mix of hands, speed and excellent blocking power. Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Belichick: Brady-less Patriots ‘just really focused on Buffalo’

Belichick: Brady-less Patriots ‘just really focused on Buffalo’

FOXBORO -  A verrrrrryyyy long time ago, the Patriots targeted September. There were t-shirts and everything printed back in 2002 as the Patriots came off of their first Super Bowl title.

The names of that season’s first four opponents – Steelers, Jets, Chiefs and Chargers – were all listed on a bullseye.

How’d that work out? Well, they hit the bullseye for most of September, winning the first three. Then they lost four in a row and the notion of “targeting” a segment of the schedule around these parts went the way of the Dodo bird.

Which may be why, as truly remarkable as this September’s been, Bill Belichick isn’t taking any bows after three damn wins.

“We’re just really focused on Buffalo,” Belichick told me Friday morning when I asked about whether winning the first three in the face of some adversity was a point of pride. “I don’t really care about last week. I don’t really care about two weeks ago. I don’t really care about last year. I don’t really care about four years ago. I don’t really care. I think we’re just trying to get ready and compete against Buffalo. That’s our challenge this week.

“The rest of it – it’s in the books. It is what it is,” he said. “So write whatever you want to write about it. It’s good, it’s bad, I mean I don’t really care. It’s done. We’ve got to do a good job of what we have here with Buffalo. We can’t live in the past. And I respect where you’re coming from, I really do. It’s not like I’m trying to be dismissive of it, but I really don’t care. It doesn’t really matter. Nothing that happened last year, last week, last month really has anything to do with this week.”

Things change after Sunday. The best player the franchise has ever had rejoins a team that – in spite of the adversity – flourished without him. Even though the competition wasn’t what one would call “stiff” compared to challenges Brady faced as recently as last January, it’s still remarkable.

Asked about Brady’s looming return, wide receiver Julian Edelman also redirected.

“We got a game before that,” he pointed out. “When he comes back we'll obviously be happy but we got a job ahead of us with the Buffalo Bills.” 

Asked if there’s some pride taken in the beginning, Edelman replied, “It’s just having pride in your job in general. Really just focusing every week and trying to improve. I say it every week on these cameras, if you try to get better and you get better every week, you're gonna do these things. 

“It tells you that you have a mentally tough team that goes out there and works hard and prepares hard and does the extra things,” Edelman added. “I've been around here a little while and that's just the mentality we've always had and continue to have. We have a tough one against the Bills and we'll see how it tests out against these guys.”

 

 

Patriots-Bills injury report: Garoppolo, Brissett listed as questionable

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Patriots-Bills injury report: Garoppolo, Brissett listed as questionable

The inury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
G Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)

BUFFALO BILLS

OUT
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

QUESTIONABLE
DB Colt Anderson (foot)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
OL Cordy Glenn (ankle)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)