The New England Patriots will likely bring back star right tackle Sebastian Vollmer this offseason, but the team’s situation at right tackle remains uncertain at this point in time. The Pats added some nice depth at tackle recently by signing former Atlanta Falcons backup Will Svitek, and there is reason to think that Marcus Cannon could be headed for a breakout year.
I lauded the Pats selection of Cannon as a steal, but, like pretty much everyone, I criticized Cannon heavily for his lackluster training camp and preseason in 2012. He looked far too slow in pass protection and a liability in that regard, but Cannon did show great strength and talent as a run blocker. When Vollmer was a last-minute scratch against the rival New York Jets on Thanksgiving, Cannon stepped in and gave the Patriots a flawless performance.
That game showed the progress Cannon has made, and Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe wrote earlier this month that the Patriots are high on Cannon and view him as a potential starter. Bill Belichick recently praised Cannon’s improvement, and that gives off the vibe that the organization is in love with Cannon.
He said via ESPN Boston, “He’s improved tremendously as a player. The opportunities he had to play early in the year, and even later in the year, he showed that improvement in games as well as the practice field.”
When asked if Cannon could move himself into a starting role if Vollmer signs elsewhere, Belichick simply stated, “That’s up to him.”
Svitek might not be a security option at right tackle after all, and he might instead be just a depth guy and the primary backup at left tackle. That’s what Field Yates wrote in the best scouting report you will ever read on Svitek, and he wrote about how Svitek is a better fit at left tackle.
I still don’t think Cannon is suited to start yet and am not sold on him, but Scar may have truly molded him into a worthy starter. Bedard reported that the Patriots showed interest in Eric Winston in a “very minor” way recently, and Adam Schefter is now reporting that the Pats are currently interested. I am leaning towards Bedard’s account that this is just “due diligence”, but I wouldn’t be surprised at seeing Winston (currently visiting the Miami Dolphins) sign with the Patriots if Vollmer goes elsewhere.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.