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Cunningham: I'm trying to get better

10/13/2011

Chris Forsberg/ESPN Boston

Jermaine Cunningham talks to reporters Thursday.FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Two days after Patriots coach Bill Belichick detailed the hurdles that Jermaine Cunningham has been presented with in getting on the field this season, the second-year linebacker drew a big media crowd around his locker at the end of the Patriots' media access period Thursday at Gillette Stadium.

After noting that he's feeling good, a teammate shouted that it was 12 o'clock and time for players to report to meetings. Cunningham apologized and rushed off after simply noting, "I'm feeling good. Just like every week, I'm trying to keep getting better."

After missing time in training camp with a groin injury, Cunningham has played only 32 defensive snaps in four appearances (a mere 9.5 percent of New England's total defensive snaps). On Tuesday, Belichick was asked about Cunningham's limited role after playing better than half of New England's defensive snaps in his rookie campaign.

"I think one of the things that Jermaine has had to work through is the time he missed in training camp and the preseason," said Belichick. "This year we transitioned to a little bit more multiple defensive front, and that's been an adjustment for him. Missing that time didn't help him any. He's worked hard and done a good job to get back on the field -- getting rehab and getting back out there. I think he's improving. He's gotten a little better each week. He's definitely on the upswing here. He's a guy that we hop will be able to contribute for us."

Cunningham played a season-high 16 snaps in a Week 4 win over Oakland, but then logged just eight snaps against the Jets on Sunday. He's also done limited worked on special teams.