Pats' OL Cannon ready for anything

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Versatility is perhaps just as important as ability for the Patriots on the offensive line. The team has always sought out players that can handle multiple positions along the front.

Marcus Cannon, a third-year player, is a fitting example. He's been called upon to play four positions already (everything but center) after starring at TCU as a left tackle.

His approach now given the shuffling of positions is simple: "Whatever they ask me to do, that's what I'm doing," he said Thursday.

With right tackle Sebastian Vollmer missing his second straight day of practice (foot), it could be Cannon that is called upon to handle the spot Sunday night against the Atlanta Falcons.

Cannon, speaking with reporters following the team's practice, feels as though he's making strides as he settles into his role.

"Every day there's improvement," he said. "There's still a lot of improvement to go, just taking it every day step-by-step and work hard to improve more."

His play against the Buccaneers (37 snaps in relief of Vollmer) drew praise from his head coach.

"He came through for us yesterday," Bill Belichick said on Monday. "I thought overall our line blocked well and we were able to run the ball competitively against a good run defense. All those guys did a good job; he did a good job too."

Should Vollmer sit on Sunday night, Cannon will make just the second start of his career. He also started one game in place of Vollmer last season. Should Vollmer make a quick recovery, Cannon said he'll be ready to go in any spot that the team asks him to handle.

"[Offensive line] coach [Dante] 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."