Josh McDaniels praises Sony Michel, gives explanation why he wasn't used much late in AFC title game

Ryan Hannable
January 22, 2019 - 5:05 pm

Down the stretch against the Chiefs in the AFC title game, Sony Michel was essentially nowhere to be found.

Michel only had two touches in the final eight minutes of regulation and overtime, as it was mostly James White and Rex Burkhead in the backfield.

Appearing on a conference call Tuesday, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said it wasn't anything specific, just the way the matchups shook out.

"We went into the game planning on playing multiple guys and most of the time, we played all three on the same drive at some point," he said. "There were a couple of instances where that wasn’t the case but nothing in particular."

McDaniels added: "I don’t think we ever predetermine what the roles of the backs are going to be. I think what Sony’s done is he’s taken advantage of some of the opportunities that he’s had and he’s certainly done the best he can do with those opportunities. I don’t think we went into the season saying that this was going to be the way that it was going to be and as you saw the other night, Rex [Burkhead] ended up in there a few times down on the goal line, as did Sony. So we would like to have our backs be in many ways, interchangeable and we all know that they have maybe a slightly different role. But they’re in the same room, they’re in the same meetings, they’re learning the same information and they’re responsible to go out there and be able to perform in those roles if somebody were to be injured or hurt or not active for whatever reason."

With that being said, Michel had an outstanding rookie season, especially considering he missed all of the preseason and Week 1 with a knee injury. In 13 games, Michel ran for 931 yards and six touchdowns on 209 carries. Also, in two postseason games he has totaled 242 yards rushing and five touchdowns.

"I think that Sony’s role has just kind of developed as the year’s gone on," McDaniels said. "He missed some time earlier in the year and he’s just continued to work and develop as the season’s gone on. Again, I think he’s just like the rest of our group – whatever his role is on a given week, he embraces what it is and studies and prepares to do the best he can on game day and then goes out and gives us everything he has. I think that’s all you can ever ask of any player and he’s certainly a good example of that for a young guy."

Michel may be asked to have another big day in the Super Bowl against the Rams, as they ranked 23rd against the run during the regular season.

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