When Sebastian Vollmer went down with a foot injury against Tampa last Sunday, Marcus Cannon came in and played right tackle for the entire second half. Cannon may have to pinch hit again for Vollmer this Sunday night in Atlanta.
Vollmer hasn't practiced this week and looks unlikely to suit up for the Falcons game at the Georgia Dome. Cannon has only started one other game in his NFL career (last year against the Jets in New York on Thanksgiving night).
"Whatever they ask me to do, that's what I'm doing," he told reporters matter-of-factly Thursday after practice.
New England is fortunate to have long-time assistant Dante Scarnecchia coaching the o-line – a group that always seems prepared no matter who is asked to step into the lineup. If Cannon is confident in his ability to sub for Vollmer (he wouldn't say so directly when asked), he gives credit to his position coach.
"Coach Scarnecchia coaches us pretty well, the whole offensive line, and if we need to get ready for something, he's going to get us ready for it," he said. "That's just the type of coach he is, we just do whatever he asks us."
Vollmer and wide receiver/special teams co-captain Matthew Slater (wrist) were the only two Patriots who didn't practice Thursday. They were also the only absentees from Wednesday's workout.
Nine other Patriots, including wide receiver Danny Amendola (right groin) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (back/left forearm), remain limited in their ability to practice. D-tackle/co-captain Vince Wilfork (foot) was a full participant for the second straight day, as was rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld (hamstring).