Expect Sony Michel to make his return to the New England Patriots’ lineup this Sunday.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said the running back should be “ready to go” when New England hosts the Arizona Cardinals in Week 12.
“He’s had a couple good weeks (of practice),” Belichick said. “I think he’ll be ready to go.”
Michel hasn’t played since Week 3, missing the last seven games after landing on injured reserve with a quad injury. The Patriots activated him off IR last Saturday but did not include him in the gameday roster for last Sunday’s loss to the Houston Texans.
Running back Rex Burkhead suffered a season-ending knee injury in that game, creating a void in New England’s crowded backfield.
It remains to be seen how the Patriots will utilize Michel moving forward. The 2018 first-round draft pick has been a lead back throughout his career, but 2019 third-rounder Damien Harris has impressed in that role since Michel went down.
Harris has averaged 5.4 yards per carry over seven games this season, tied for fifth-best in the NFL behind Kyler Murray, Nick Chubb, Miles Sanders and Lamar Jackson. Neither he nor Michel has provided much in the passing game, though Harris might have more upside in that area.
The Patriots also have pass-catching back James White — who broke out of a slump with six catches for 64 yards against Houston — and undrafted rookie J.J. Taylor in their running back stable. Taylor has not played a snap since Week 3 and missed practice Thursday with a quad injury.
Michel averaged an unimpressive 3.3 yards per carry in Weeks 1 and 2 but enjoyed one of the best games of his career in Week 3, rushing for 117 yards on just nine carries in a win over the Las Vegas Raiders.