If you have three offensive tackles, then apparently you play three tackles.
At least that's the way Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has approached things early in 2014.
Marcus Cannon spent the first three weeks of the season as the starter at left guard, but since being removed from that job the fourth-year veteran former fifth-round pick has seen action in each of the last five games as a rotational player at tackle. He often works his way in on the left side for Nate Solder and then soon after gets in some action in the place of Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle.
Though the idea of rotating on the offensive line at any spot, especially the ever-important tackle position, is a unique one, Belichick doesn't see Cannon's rotational role at tackle much differently than more traditional subbing in of players at other spots in the lineup.
"I think all three of those guys are good football players. They've all played tackle at a good level. They've all started and played well in this league. They're good players. I think they all deserve to play," Belichick said when asked about the benefits of Cannon's rotational reps. "I think they've all played well enough to continue to deserve to play. We have confidence with whoever is in there. They all bring many positives to their positions: Sebastian, Nate and Marcus. So, whichever one of them is in there, he brings positives to the position. I don't see it any differently than the receiver position or the running back position. Guys we've put on the field are on the field because they're productive and they help the team. I'd say the same thing about those three players."
Cannon, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, saw a season-high 34 snaps at tackle in Sunday's blowout of the Bears, compared to 60 for Solder and 52 for Vollmer. Since giving up his starting job at guard, Cannon has averaged 19 snaps a game in his rotational role at tackle. Cannon started six games in Vollmer's stead at tackle last fall, as well as a pair of postseason games.
So while some may find it strange to have a backup seeing regular action behind a former first-round left tackle who's on the books for just under $7.5 million in 2015 as well as a former second-round pick and second-team All-Pro who re-signed with New England on a four-year, $29 million contract, Belichick doesn't view it quite the same way.
For Belichick, if you have three tackles capable of playing then you play them.
What do you think of the Cannon getting rotational reps at tackle? Let us know with a comment below!