Stew Milne//USA Today Sports

Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears: Sony Michel is a blessing

Ryan Hannable
November 02, 2018 - 8:18 am

FOXBORO — After Sony Michel’s first two NFL games, the rookie got a lot of heat.

Following missing the entire preseason and Week 1 due to a knee injury, he had 34 yards on 10 carries against the Jaguars in Week 2 and then 50 yards on 14 carries in Week 3.

Things then changed in Week 4 when he had 112 yards against the Dolphins, and followed it up with 98 yards and 106 yards in his next two games.

So, what changed? Maybe it didn’t all have to do with Michel.

“I think there were a lot of factors involved,” running backs coach Ivan Fears said Thursday. “You can’t just say what the difference for him was. I think there were a lot of factors. Those were the first times he’s been out on the field since he was coming off the injury. He really didn’t have a preseason. Coming off knee surgery and now you are playing and you really didn’t have a preseason, I think that is a helluva jump and I think he handled it very well. I really do.”

Michel then suffered a scary injury against the Bears and needed to miss last week against the Bills, but it doesn’t appear to be as severe as first thought, especially considering he practiced last week and has every day this week.

Fears said he’s itching his way back and in the same response had some very high praise for the Georgia product.

“He’s there. You can see he’s into it and biting the bullet to get back out there,” he said. “Sony is one of the other blessings I have in this world. He and James White. I don’t have to tell them what to do or where to be and what they have to do to get ready. I don’t have to put a prod up their butt or none of that stuff. He’s that kind of kid. He’s where he needs to be. He’s working his butt off.”

Missing the preseason may not be a huge deal for a veteran player, but for rookie it is. This is one of the reasons why Fears has been so impressed with him.

“Most of those guys go through three preseason games and get a lot of reps in practice, even practice against somebody else to get a feel for what it is like to play in the league and get hit,” he said. “He missed a lot of that.”

Fears added: “I am very impressed with him. I think there would be a heck of a lot more if he was healthier and was able to stay out there a lot more. He’s a little behind the eight-ball from that standpoint and just experience with the game, but when he’s had an opportunity the man has played well. I am very impressed with him.”

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