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Bill Belichick: Jermaine Cunningham playing ‘at a higher level’

08.30.12 at 12:43 pm ET
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Jermaine Cunningham

At the start of training camp, Patriots coach Bill Belichick made it a point to mention that defensive end Jermaine Cunningham had just gone through a “great offseason,” so much so that the Florida product was one of 10 players honored with a prime parking space in the players’ lot.

On Thursday morning, Belichick said that Cunningham — who led the team in quarterback hits in the preseason with six — had been able to continue that run from the offseason into training camp and the preseason.

“Overall, he’s been at a higher level,” Belichick said of Cunningham, who had two sacks and three quarterback hits in the preseason finale against the Giants. “He came to camp in great condition, worked hard in the offseason. He got faster, stronger, more explosive. He worked on his techniques. He worked extremely hard and came to training camp, and that work and those improvements showed up. They’ve showed up in practice, from early in camp to all four preseason games.

“It wasn’t just one thing. He’s had more position flexibility than he’s had in the past. We’ve asked him to do more things. He’s shown he can do them. He’s had more production.”

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