Marcus Cannon speaks to reporters Monday at Gillette Stadium.
FOXBORO — These are interesting times for Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon.
The pair of offensive tackles are now front and center on the offensive line with the news over the weekend that Sebastian Vollmer could miss significant time or even the season with a bad hip.
“I love Sebastian,” Solder said. “Whatever he needs or whatever it is, I’ll always be there for him. Sebastian is an awesome guy. He’s one of my best friends. There’s so many things but as a group, we just have to move forward.”
What the Patriots need from Solder and Cannon will be consistency. With Solder slotted at left tackle, Cannon steps into right tackle, a position has had held down since the start of camp since Vollmer has not been able to actively practice at all.
“Wherever they want you to go, they have trust in you and you trust them,” Cannon said. “That’s what it is. If they want you play, that must mean they have trust for you to play in that position, wherever they put me.”
That consistency started to show last Thursday against the Bears with a good effort that produced a solid run game to complement Jimmy Garoppolo, especially in the second quarter.
“I think we definitely made an emphasis of it that week and going forward, there’s a lot of things we need to emphasize and improve on. I think that’s one of the steps where we improved and hopefully, we can continue to improve going forward,” Solder said. “We’ve had some pretty exciting games, I think. I know I’ve been excited to be back in some games. It’s been fun the whole preseason. We’ve taken it pretty seriously.
“There may have been but we’re never satisfied because we have a long ways to go. The way we practice, the way we play, whoever is out there, we’re ready to go. That’s kind of our philosophy on that.”
That philosophy will be tested this Friday as they face the defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers in their first road preseason game of the year.
“Their front seven, they’re great,” Cannon said of the Luke Kuechly-led group. “They’re probably the best in the NFL, and we’ve got to do our due diligence this week of studying them and understanding them and working hard to continue to do good. It’s going to be a challenge.”
“We have to build off that,” Solder said Monday of the solid effort against the Bears. “One brick at a time, we kind of build the foundation of what we’re trying to do here. So, this is another brick we have to put on there. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of preparation. We have to play well.”
The Patriots also played Carolina on the road in Week 3 last preseason and came away with a 17-16 win.
“We’ve played them a few times,” Solder said. “There’s some new things here and there we have to be ready for. It’s just a matter of refreshing ourselves, getting ready physically to play well when the time comes.”