Rookie Cunningham putting in time

August, 3, 2010
8/03/10
1:15
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – At the end of the Patriots’ Tuesday morning walkthrough, rookie outside linebacker Jermaine Cunningham stayed on the field for some extra work, as veteran defensive lineman Gerard Warren tutored him on some finer points of the game.

“Just different techniques, different fundamentals, how to work your hands,” Cunningham explained afterwards.

The snapshot of that moment reflects how Cunningham has attacked his first NFL training camp. He’s been all-in, and given the Patriots’ shortage at outside linebacker/rush defensive end, he’s received quite a few repetitions.

On Monday, Bill Belichick said that Cunningham has “picked up things very well” and that “each day you can definitely see him getting better, more confident, understanding things that happened the day before and being able to process that.”

Cunningham said that the Patriots’ playbook is about “10 times thicker” than the one he had at Florida, where he was primarily a defensive end in a 4-3 alignment. With the Patriots, he is making the switch to 3-4 outside linebacker.

Asked if he feels more like a defensive end or outside linebacker at this point, he said: “I feel like a football player.”

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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