Patriots Bolster 2022 Offensive Line With Practice Squad Addition

September 9, 2022

In this latest signing, Patriots fans get a blast to the past by signing offensive lineman Marcus Cannon. What can Marcus do for the squad?

In an offseason of so much change, familiarity will certainly be appreciated by the Patriots, and their latest acquisition will give them just that. Veteran Marcus Cannon comes back to New England after a brief stint with the Texans, but before that, he was with the Patriots for nine years. Here, I take a quick look at Marcus Cannon’s tenure with the Patriots and what he provides for them upon his return.

Marcus Cannon Has Had A Serviceable Career For The Patriots

Cannon was drafted by the Patriots in 2011 after a career at TCU where he had one year without allowing a single sack in 2009, and another where he led an excellent line that only allowed nine sacks to a Rose Bowl berth. His physicality and size made him an appealing player for the Patriots, and at 6’5″ and 358 pounds, he certainly has an imposing size. He is currently a leaner 6’6″ and 335 pounds, but still has that physicality.

He started his career with all the disadvantages there could have been, being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but fought hard, recovered, and found his way on the field as a starting right tackle and was given the Ed Block Courage Award for his brave fight.

While he had a brief stint at left guard, Cannon has spent most of his time as a right tackle. In his time as a Patriot he was effective both in pass protection and run blocking role, giving his quarterback time and his running backs space. He primarily uses a punch-blocking style, meaning that rather than grabbing onto his man, he will draw him back using a series of pushes. While there are risks to this style, it helped him compensate for his lack of quick feet and it really reduced the risk of a holding penalty.

His foot speed is definitely a weakness and made him struggle against faster defensive linemen. Furthermore, with that punching style, there always poses the risk of missing the man or having to push twice, and that did lead to some breakdowns in pass protection. However, he’s surprisingly shifty and able to get to his man quickly. Furthermore, he’s a cerebral player who over time has developed great anticipation and is able to read his assigned man quite well. He was part of three super bowl wins for the Patriots and his leadership and solid blocking were certainly big contributing factors.

What Can Cannon Do For The Patriots In 2022?

It will be important to temper expectations when it comes to Marcus. He’s a practice squad signing, somewhat injury prone, and his athleticism will be an issue with his size and age at 34 years old. However, he would add a huge jolt of experience to a line lacking in that area. His fundamentals are as good as anyone’s, and he has an excellent grasp of the Patriots’ system.

There isn’t a single person on the group of linemen in the 53-man roster currently that can be viewed as a sure thing, with Cole Strange being just a rookie, Wynn struggling with form and having trade rumors, Herron coming off a poor training camp, and Trent Brown having a history of injury issues, among others. Given how much of an issue basic blocking fundamentals have been for the Patriots this offseason with countless breakdowns in practices and preseason games, Cannon could see his way to the field faster than anyone else on the practice squad.

Cannon has also shown mettle in the past in his matchups with some excellent defenders; his performances against Von Miller in particular were noteworthy. With Miller in the division, along with a slurry of additional strong defenders, having Cannon around could be extremely useful, both as a player and a locker room mentor. My expectation for Cannon is that while he won’t be a week one starter, he will find his way to multiple games and even start in a few depending on the health of the rest of the line. As a practice squad signing, this is a low-risk signing with a very high potential reward.

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