The Patriots will receive pass-rush help when the regular season begins, perhaps as early as tomorrow - but it will come from within their own team.
Outside linebacker Jermaine Cunningham, who missed all four preseason games with a high-ankle sprain, should be ready to practice this week, according to a source with knowledge of his situation. He is expected to be ready to play next Sunday in the regular season opener against the Bengals.
Cunningham is a rookie second-round pick from the University of Florida who was selected to add pass-rush prowess while also contributing as a physical run-stopper. But the ankle injury limited him severely in camp, leading one to wonder if he would be ready for the season or be placed on injured reserve.
The 6-foot-3, 260-pounder, who said he "feels like a football player," will be ready to go, however. With the release of Derrick Burgess, expect Cunningham to fill an important role, even if it’s not as the immediate starter.
Cunningham could play behind Rob Ninkovich or Marques Murrell until he’s ready.