FOXBORO, Mass. — The upside of the New England Patriots’ offense took a hit Wednesday when starting right tackle Marcus Cannon was placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Cannon, who suffered the injury in Week 8, was expected to return this season since he hadn’t yet been placed on the reserve list. But now the Patriots will be forced to start either LaAdrian Waddle or Cameron Fleming in his place for the remainder of the season.
The Patriots are 4-0 when Waddle starts at right tackle and 1-1 when Fleming is in place of Cannon.
“Those guys have both played a lot of good football for us,” head coach Bill Belichick said Friday. “So, we’ll see how it goes. We have confidence with both of them. We’ve won with both of them in there, and we’ll do what we think is best for the team, but they’re both good players.”
Pro Football Focus tracks pass blocking efficiency for offensive linemen. Fleming has the highest pass blocking efficiency rating among Patriots offensive tackles this season, allowing two sacks and three hurries in 89 pass block snaps. Cannon has allowed five sacks, three QB hits and 13 hurries in 266 pass block snaps, and Waddle has let up seven QB hits, 10 hurries and no sacks in 170 pass block snaps.
The Patriots have been in good hands with Waddle, who’s dealing with his own ankle injury, and Fleming this season. They’ll have to hope their success holds up through the playoffs.