3. “Sony Michel Can Reclaim Patriots No. 1 RB Duties”
The emergence of Damien Harris was one of the few encouraging storylines from what proved to be the Patriots’ worst season in 13 years. Thrust into the starting role while incumbent Sony Michel worked his way back from injury, Harris compiled 691 rushing yards (69.1 per game) and two touchdowns on an impressive 5.0 yards per carry.
Unfortunately for Harris, he missed the final two games of the campaign due to injury, which vaulted Michel back into his former No. 1 role. To his credit, Michel made the most of his opportunities, tallying 26 carries for 145 yards (5.5 YPC).
The 2018 first-rounder finished the year with 449 rushing yards on a career-high 5.7 yards per carry. He showcased an explosiveness we didn’t see over his first two seasons, which prompted pundits and fans to speculate about whether he could reclaim the starting role from Harris.
Don’t get it twisted, Patriots fans. This is Damien Harris’ backfield.
While we understand not wanting to kick a former first-round pick to the curb, a nine-game sample size isn’t nearly enough for us to forget what Michel looked like over his first two years, when he stockpiled 13 rushing touchdowns while managing a lousy 4.1 YPC.
At the end of the day, we’re talking about an injury-prone RB who’s also a non-factor catching passes out of the backfield. While Harris has his own injury concerns, he’s more decisive and dynamic, and proved more in one season than Michel has in three years.
This is Harris’ backfield. Period.