One year after opting out of the entire NFL season due to medical concerns amidst the coronavirus pandemic and one week after being activated from the physically unable to perform list, Marcus Cannon started at right tackle for the Texans during their season-opening win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The 33-year-old former New England Patriots starter, a three-time Super Bowl winner who grew up in Odessa, played 50 snaps, 64 percent overall, of the offensive playing time. By design, Geron Christian substituted for Cannon in a nod to his conditioning. Christian played 28 snaps.
The Texans were encouraged by how Cannon performed, especially considering he missed the majority of the preseason after undergoing offseason arthroscopic knee surgery and straining a calf muscle.
"Marcus came in, we actually had a set number of plays that we were going to play him simply because it was his first time back for a while, and he did a nice job," Texans coach David Culley said Monday. "We were taking him in, taking him out, and that was intentional. I thought he did a good job. The big thing was we wanted to make sure he got out of there healthy, that he got out of there feeling pretty good, and that happened during the game. He was fine. I thought those guys did a nice job.”
A powerful presence at the line of scrimmage at 6-foot-6, 335 pounds, Cannon was obtained along with a 2021 fifth-round draft pick and a 2021 sixth-round draft pick from the Patriots this offseason in exchange for the Texans' 2021 fourth-round draft pick originally obtained from the Arizona Cardinals and a 2021 sixth-round draft pick.
It's unclear if the Texans will have Cannon play more Sunday against the Cleveland Browns on the road.
"As far as with Marcus, we’ll just see how he feels as we go into practice, and that’ll be predicated on how he feels and how his stamina is," Culley said. "And hopefully we can get him a little more than what he got this week.”
Meanwhile, Pro Bowl left offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil played every snap in his first game back after testing positive and being placed on the reserve-COVID-19 list before a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers.
“The thing about Laremy is obviously, we know he’s a heck of a player," Culley said. "You don’t hear his name a whole bunch right now simply because usually the guy that’s over him is not doing very much in a football game, and that’s what you expect for him."
Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 seasons, including the Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. He has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128.