Operating again Sony Michel didn’t take part in any of the New England Patriots‘ spring minicamp practices, and that absence raised questions relating to the second-year participant’s well being.
Michel, 24, tore his ACL in highschool and battled knee accidents all through his school profession on the College of Georgia, and people difficulties have continued within the NFL. Hypothesis was that the Patriots had been conserving Michel out of minicamp drills and practices to cut back the workload on his problematic knee, and that’s now been confirmed by The Athletic’s Jeff Howe.
As Howe talked about, Michel having arthroscopic surgical procedure on his knee shouldn’t forestall him from taking part in coaching camp. However the Patriots’ 2018 first-round draft decide additionally had his knee drained final August and that process contributed to a missed preseason, an inactive Week 1 and a gradual begin to final season.
General, Michel missed three video games of his rookie marketing campaign, sitting out Weeks 1, eight and 9. But these knee troubles weren’t a problem by way of the top of the yr, as Michel appeared in every of the Patriots’ remaining seven common season video games and all three playoff video games. Throughout that span, he rushed for 94 or extra yards 5 occasions and logged 18 or extra carries six occasions.
Michel logged 209 carries for 931 yards and 6 touchdowns for the season, offering the type of operating menace that had been lacking from the Patriots’ offense in earlier years. He was anticipated to construct on that success in 2019, however continued knee points have to boost some issues amongst coaches and executives.
The Patriots drafted Damien Harris out of Alabama within the third spherical of this yr’s draft. Harris was extraordinarily productive throughout his 4 years in Tuscaloosa, twice speeding for over 1,000 yards and compiling greater than 800 yards in his senior season. Moreover, Harris is seen as a greater move blocker and receiver out of the backfield, expertise that would give him an edge in competitors with Michel.
Nonetheless, it appears possible that the Patriots will divide the workload between Michel and Harris to cut back carrying every operating again down and the opportunity of damage. Michel missed alternatives to get repetitions with quarterback Tom Brady within the passing offense and change into extra snug operating routes. He solely caught seven passes for 50 yards final season.
Throughout a visitor analyst stint at ESPN final week, former Pats operating again Shane Vereen defined the significance of discovering weaknesses in opposition to a zone protection. Attending to the suitable spot is how backs like Vereen and James White have succeeded within the New England system. As proficient a runner as Michel is, he’ll be restricted in how a lot assist he can present the offense if he’s going to the sidelines on passing downs.
In mild of this information, Michel’s well being will definitely be one of many prime storylines surrounding the Patriots going into coaching camp (anticipated to start July 24).
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