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Bill Belichick praises Sony Michel, including his maturity

Ryan Hannable
November 27, 2018 - 1:35 pm

Being selected in the first round by the Patriots comes with a lot of pressure. Not only coming to an organization like New England, but also what comes with being a running back selected in the first round when many feel the position is being overvalued. 

For Sony Michel, who the Patriots selected No. 31 overall, he's handled things about as well as he could, especially when he struggled in his first two career games and also having to deal with two different knee injuries suffered since training camp. He had to miss the first game of the season and also Weeks 8 and 9.

Speaking on a conference call Tuesday, Bill Belichick had some positive things to say about the Georgia product.

"I think [his maturity has] really been a strength of his," he said. "He's, obviously, had a lot of football experience and comes from a very good program. He's been in a lot of big games. He's been in a lot of critical football situations. He has a lot of poise and has a good even manner about him in terms of learning, correcting mistakes, having urgency but in a balance where it doesn't take away from the execution and the focus of the assignment and the way that things need to be done. He does a real good job of all that, has since he's been here, coming in as a first round pick with the expectations and so forth. He's really handled all of that well and has really focused on being a good teammate, doing a good job with what he has to do. He's been great for us."

In eight games, Michel has 127 carries for 586 yards and five touchdowns, including three, 100-yard games. His best performance came last Sunday against the Jets when he ran for a career-high 133 yards and also caught two passes out of the backfield for 12 yards.

Belichick noted how coachable he is where he rarely makes the same mistake twice.

"I think he does a good job of that," he said. "There's so many things, especially in the passing game for a running back, that have to be learned – protections, and all of the things that go with that, to route running. Then I would say the multiple looks that we get defensively compared to what colleges see, just the volume of fronts and who's a linebacker, who's a defensive back and the leverage they have and the movement and so forth that comes with all of that. There's really a lot to learn, but he's done a good job of it. He's got a long way to go but he gets it quickly and processes it and understands it. Again, yeah, usually the next time he does it he's on it. Yeah, he does a good job of that."

Moving forward, the running back room will get Rex Burkhead back this week, which should only help Michel and James White stay fresh for the stretch run and postseason.

Related: AFC playoff picture: Thanks to Pittsburgh loss, Patriots move up in standings