With Jarrett Stidham all but surely becoming the Patriots’ new starting quarterback, New England will need his supporting cast to step up in order to make life easier for the 2019 fourth-rounder.
Veteran NFL analyst Gil Brandt seems to believe Sony Michel will be up to this task.
Michel’s sophomore season was by no means a disaster. He fell 88 rushing yards short of a 1,000-yard campaign and found the end zone seven times. Perhaps most importantly, Michel, who entered the league with injury concerns, didn’t miss a single game in 2019.
That said, he fell short of high expectations in Year 2 after bursting onto the scene over the course of the Patriots’ Super Bowl run two years ago.
Considering a young, unproven signal-caller now is under center in Foxboro, Brandt believes getting Michel back on track should be a point of emphasis for Bill Belichick and Co. As such, the NFL.com scribe views the 25-year-old as a lock to play better in the upcoming season.
“After rushing for 336 yards and six touchdowns in three playoff games as a rookie in 2018, Michel was expected to become the kind of bell-cow back the Patriots hadn’t fielded since Corey Dillon in the mid-2000s,” Brandt wrote in a piece published Wednesday. “But Michel failed to hit the 100-yard mark in a single game in 2019, finishing with a paltry average of 3.7 yards per carry while contributing little in the passing attack. Presuming Jarrett Stidham will replace Brady as the Patriots’ QB, it would behoove New England to rediscover the ground attack to give the second-year pro time to get his proverbial sea legs. That will mean getting Michel back on track behind an offensive line returning four starters and center David Andrews, who missed 2019 with medical issues. It will be interesting to see if Damien Harris can work his way onto the field in a supporting role after the former Alabama back essentially redshirted last season.”
Harris certainly will be an interesting case in New England this season. Should Michel fail to meet Brandt’s prediction and remain on a downswing, perhaps the Patriots will let the Crimson Tide product loose.