Phil Perry

Patriots stock watch: Cunningham gets early QB work with offense

It sounds like the Patriots are trying to get more work for the versatile rookie.

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FOXBORO -- The Patriots went through a quick Sunday afternoon practice two days ahead of their departure to Green Bay for joint sessions with the Packers, and though it was a brief workout, there was plenty to take away.

Here's everything you need to know in our daily installment of Stock Watch:

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Malik Cunningham, QB/WR

Cunningham did something that no other backup Patriots quarterback has done to this point in camp. He popped in for one snap in the middle of a Mac Jones-centric red-zone period.

We haven't seen Bailey Zappe do that to simulate an emergency quarterback substitution. We haven't seen Trace McSorley do that to take the reins for a quarterback-run call. Cunningham jumped in for his first reps with the top Patriots offensive players in this one. Then he did something similar during a Zappe-centric period.

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The team is clearly trying to get more work for Cunningham after his performance against the Texans in the preseason opener. And with good reason. He took care of the ball against Houston. He showed some toughness after taking a hard facemask penalty and bouncing back with sound execution. And he has mobility at the position that Jones and Zappe don't. Worthy of a little bit of investment in terms of time and seeing how it plays out.

McSorley, meanwhile, didn't get any red-zone work at the end of Sunday's session.

Sidy Sow, OL

Sow didn't exactly dominate in his first preseason contest as a pro. But he took five pass-protection reps against No. 3 overall selection Will Anderson and handled himself nicely. No pressures. No hits. No sacks. He struggled at times in the run game, but apparently his coaching staff thought enough of his night to plop him at right tackle in front of Mac Jones during Sunday's workout.

Next to him at right guard was veteran tackle Riley Reiff. Reiff hasn't played guard in his 11-year NFL career, but perhaps the team knows what he is as a tackle and therefore would like to see if he has the position versatility to kick inside.

That's notable because they're giving Sow a nice long look at tackle. He hasn't played guard in camp even though that's where he spent the vast majority of his college career at Eastern Michigan. Something to keep an eye on.

Christian Gonzalez, CB

Perhaps the play of the day was a high-pointed interception by the rookie first-rounder. Mac Jones was under pressure (more on that later) and floated one to the back corner of the end zone in the direction of JuJu Smith-Schuster. Gonzalez saw it all the way, left his feet, and snared it easily.

"He made a great play," Smith-Schuster said. "He attacked the ball… Today he got one on me. I guess as a rookie, you get your one every week. He got me. Shout out to Christian."

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Trent Brown, OT

Brown was the guilty party on the pressure that helped lead to Jones' pick. Josh Uche got right around him with speed and quickness.

Uche has been extremely effective at making himself small, reducing the surface area available for tackles to hit, and turning the corner. That's exactly what he did to Brown, who's still working himself back into form after missing the bulk of camp due to what he has described as a lingering physical issue.

Kayshon Boutte, WR

After a solid week of practice leading up to last week's preseason contest, Boutte was quiet against the Texans. Then in Sunday's practice he had what appeared to be a drop on an out-route from Bailey Zappe.

Shaun Wade was in close coverage and may have gotten a hand on the football, but it looked like one pass that the rookie sixth-rounder should've been able to grab.

Kevin Harris, RB

Harris followed up a forgettable evening against the Texans with a forgettable moment in Sunday's practice. On a pass thrown by Zappe over Harris' shoulder and toward the end zone, Harris lunged for the pass but appeared to misjudge it, and it sailed over his hands incomplete.

He didn't have much in the way of room to run against Houston last week, but he hasn't done much to stand out on his own this summer. A wasted red-zone target -- even in practice -- won't help him solidify his standing as the No. 2 behind Rhamondre Stevenson.

They could use a veteran piece at his position, especially now that Pierre Strong (not present Sunday) may be dealing with an injury.

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