FOXBOROUGH — The butterflies are back.
The Patriots open the season Sunday afternoon against the Texans and Marcus Cannon is just as pumped now as he was in his rookie season back in 2011.
“I get the same excitement for every game. I don’t really split it up between this and that,’’ Cannon said on Wednesday when asked if Week 1 has special significance. “Every game’s amazing. This is the National Football League. This is our dream. So, really I get excited just to practice being around these guys. But really, I get excited for every game because you never know when your last one is.’’
Cannon, who missed 12 practices after suffering a calf injury Aug. 1, returned to the field last week and was listed as a full participant on the team’s first injury report of the season.
New England’s right tackle is ready to put injuries behind him — he missed the final nine games of 2017 with an ankle ailment — and is focused on the now.
“I’m just taking it day by day from now on and just looking forward to these next couple days,’’ he said.
Cannon recognizes the challenge the Patriots face right out of the gate against Houston, perennially one of the league’s top defenses.
“J.J. [Watt], [Jadeveon] Clowney, [Whitney] Mercilus. Just everybody. It seems like everybody on that team, their starters, their backups, everybody knows their names,’’ said Cannon. “They’re good. They’ve been good. They prove every year that they’re a force to be reckoned with. Those guys, they’re amazing. So, we’re just focused on getting everything right, our assignments, and covering these guys up.’’
While lots of work has to be done on the practice field, Cannon said “a lot of film study” also goes in to preparing to face the Texans.
“You’ve just got to do really good against these guys, because any time you make one mistake they’re going to capitalize,’’ he said.
The Patriots had 100 percent attendance at Wednesday afternoon’s full-padded practice that brought back memories of the dog days of August with its hot and humid conditions.
The biggest development (in the literal sense of the word) was the return of massive left tackle Trent Brown, who had been missing for two days because of an “excused absence,” according to ESPN.
The biggest development (in the figurative sense of the word) was the condition of running backs Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel, both of whom looked sharp during the portion of practice media were allowed to observe — stretching and positional drills.
Both have missed significant time this summer as they battle back from knee ailments, but their recent participation level leaves open the possibility that they could play in Week 1.
“He missed some time, so he’s a little behind, but he’s working hard to catch up, on and off the field, in all areas,’’ said coach Bill Belichick, when asked about Michel prior to practice.
Michel was listed as “limited” on the injury report, Burkhead was not on the report.
Knowing your limits
Linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley (illness), defensive back Duke Dawson (hamstring), and tight end Jacob Hollister (hamstring) also were limited. Safety Nate Ebner (knee) was a full participant . . . The Patriots had a slew of players in for workouts, including running backs Kenjon Barner, Matthew Dayes, and Aaron Ripkowski; receivers Kendall Wright and Brandon Reilly; defensive back Quin Blanding; and linebackers Martrell Spaight and Anthony Winbush . . . The Patriots found containers of Tide pods in their lockers, gifts from company pitchman/tight end Rob Gronkowski.