New England Patriots: Five Players To Watch For Versus New York Giants

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January 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; New England Patriots offensive lineman Marcus Cannon (61) against the Denver Broncos in the 2013 AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2. Marcus Cannon

Now that Mankins is gone, a number of players will be called upon to step up in protecting Tom Brady. One of these players will undoubtedly be Marcus Cannon, who has served as the top backup for the past two seasons.

A lot of people have been saying that the Pats should move Cannon inside to guard to maximize his talent, but for some reason, Bill Belichick and company have been reluctant to do so. However with Mankins now in Tampa Bay, Belichick may not have a choice. Cannon is a good talent, who can play both the guard, and tackle positions. I honestly don’t know if he is better suited at one or the other, but what I do know, is he could really help ease the pain of Mankins’ release in terms of keeping Brady upright.

New England has been shuffling it’s offensive line a lot this preseason, so we shouldn’t read too much into tonight’s starting lineup, but pay attention to where Cannon lines up throughout the game. It could be telling as to how Belichick plans to use him in the regular season.