Sony Michel has prime opportunity to prove his importance to Patriots
Sony Michel will get the start after the Patriots ruled out Damien Harris.
Though many thought the New England Patriots would be playing spoiler down the stretch, it’s going to be hard to do that with even more key players on the shelf.
The latest is Damien Harris, who was ruled out of the team’s Week 15 game against the Miami Dolphins due to an ankle injury, which means Sony Michel will likely get the start because James White is also questionable.
Michel has endured a ton of criticism since 2019 as his play has drastically declined, but now he has a prime opportunity to prove his value to the team and show that the reason for his struggles was due to injuries holding him back. A big game on the ground to screw over a division rival will go over very well with Pats nation, wouldn’t it?
Harris has been the engine for the Patriots’ offense so Michel will have big shoes to fill, but he’s no stranger to the spotlight. He was the team’s leading rusher as a rookie back in 2018 and was a driving force in their road to the Super Bowl that year.
Michel has a lot to play for despite the fact he’s fallen out of favor in the rushing attack. Rex Burkhead and James White will be free agents after this season and we know how much Bill Belichick loves to disperse the carries throughout the backfield. If Michel can give the Patriots a 2018 performance, he’ll be on his way to showing the coaching staff he can help provide a vicious two-headed attack with Harris for years to come.
Michel has taken on a different role since his return from injured reserve. He’s seen fewer carries, more assignments as a blocker, and an increased snap count on special teams. Perhaps it’s a ploy to ease him back into action, but now injuries have forced the Patriots’ hand.
It’ll no doubt be an uphill battle for Michel, but he’s in a familiar spot, and if he can pick the Patriots up and bring what he brought to the table in Week 3 when he shredded the Raiders to the tune of nine carries for 117 yards, perhaps his future outlook will become a lot more optimistic than it is at the moment.