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Patriots remain hopeful Cunningham can contribute

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Posted Oct. 15, 2011 @ 10:59 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

We heard in the offseason that a key to the Patriots' pass rush this season would be Jermaine Cunningham, who was set to return to his college position of defensive end in the team's "40" front. But Cunningham struggled to stay healthy in the preseason and has barely seen the field on defense. "I think one of the things that Jermaine has had to work through is the time that he missed in training camp and the preseason games at the end of preseason," Bill Belichick said this week. Cunningham played in eight defensive snaps against the Jets, according to ESPN Boston, but that only came because Shaun Ellis was dinged up. Belichick mentioned that the transition from linebacker has been "a little bit of an adjustment" for Cunningham, who had one sack in 15 games last season. Despite what may appear to be a step back, the Patriots are far from giving up on Cunningham and still expect him to contribute, and the pass rush could certainly use a spark. "I think he's definitely on the upswing here and a guy that we hope will be able to contribute for us," said Belichick.

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