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Belichick lauds McDonald, says Cunningham's health is key to improvement

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  August 13, 2012 01:19 PM

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Bill Belichick just left the podium after today's press conference, and here are some quick hits. Apologies for the brevity - it was tough to hear Belichick and I can't type that fast while he's talking.

On Jermaine Cunningham's progress: "He got a good start in the offseason program, had a good spring, he's working hard, out there every day. He's been out on the field every day, that's the most important thing, his durability has been good. He's worked on little things - reads, techniques ... he hasn't had that the last two years, the offseason program, spring camps, all of that."

On Nick McDonald playing tackle in addition to center and guard: ""He played tackle in college. He has primarily played inside in the NFL ... We don't have a lot of depth at tackle. He did a great job [Thursday], with not much practice. He hadn't done it in a couple of years, went out there and really did a credible job. If he could do that, that would be very valuable to our football team."

Belichick said he hasn't seen too many players who are able to play all five positions on the offensive line, but few are asked to try. He believes Logan Mankins could do it, though.

On the Patriots not having a bellcow, 320-carry-per-year running back since the days of Corey Dillon:
"I'm for whatever helps us win. If it's 500 quarterback sneaks, then I'm all for it."

"Corey Dillon was good enough to do it. If we had '04 Corey Dillon, he'd get the ball ... If Corey Dillon of 2004 was on this roster, I'm sure he'd get it 300 times too. Haven't seen Corey out there though, have you? ... A lot of it has to do with the player. If he's productive, we'll give him a chance."

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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