The New England Patriots entered the weekend with 12 players listed as questionable on their injury report, and Marcus Cannon was one of them. The team’s starting right tackle was added to the list on Friday because of an illness and was a game-time decision heading into the game against the Dallas Cowboys. Cannon ultimately was good to go, and able to play 62 of a possible 70 offensive snaps during the Patriots’ 13-9 victory.
When on the field, the veteran was mostly solid and surrendered two quarterback hits and an additional hurry, as charted by The Athletic’s Jeff Howe. The performance in itself may not have been memorable from a statistical perspective, but given the context of Cannon’s late-week illness it is no surprise that the Patriots — led by quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick — were speaking highly about him after the game.
“He did a great job,” said Brady about his starting right tackle of essentially the last four seasons. “Yeah, we weren’t quite sure how he was going to feel there late in the week, and he really toughed it out. So, proud of him; proud of the effort the guys gave. It was a hard-fought win. [...] We’ve got a great group of men, and they work really hard to compete. It was great to see it come through with a win.”
Belichick also singled out Cannon during his postgame press conference. When asked about cornerback Stephon Gilmore’s shutdown matchup against Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper, the Patriots’ head coach moved off course to praise his right tackle’s performance as well. Calling his outing as one of the best he has seen in his storied career, Belichick went into great detail to describe Cannon’s performance.
“Marcus was, three days, just feeling under-the-weather,” Belichick said. “I honestly didn’t expect him to play. We talked before the game and he felt like he’d be able to work through it, so we tried to help him out a little bit there at the half. But, I would say overall, it was one of the top efforts I’ve seen. For a guy who just barely had enough strength to put on his uniform, went out there and played against multiple good football players.”
“Certainly with [DeMarcus] Lawrence and [Michael] Bennett playing over there, I thought he played very, very competitively. Played tough, and that is the kind of leadership and toughness that we have on this team, so that was a great job by Marcus,” he added. Cannon, so far this season, has appeared in 10 of the Patriots’ 11 games after missing Week 2 because of a shoulder injury suffered in the season opener against Pittsburgh.
“I know they would do it for me, so I did it for them,” said the man in question when talking to reporters in the locker room after the game. “I just went out there and knew everyone was working together. I had Shaq [Mason] next to me making sure I was all good, and tight ends chipping in. There was a lot of help. [...] It was a big effort, and I’m just thankful for everybody that helped me. I love them all.”