Sony Michel will Continue to Struggle with the Loss of James Develin

Sony Michel will Continue to Struggle with the Loss of James Develin

by September 25, 2019 0 comments

In a very dominant first three games of the 2019 season, there have been very few negatives for the New England Patriots.

One of the few has been Sony Michel, who many around the league believed was in store for a breakout season after becoming one of the Patriots best offensive players down the stretch last season.

Through three games, Michel has rushed for a combined 108 yards on 45 carries. Good for an average of 2.4 yards-per-carry. In two of those three games this season, Michel has averaged less than 1.3 yards-per-carry. It’s been rough, to say the least. While many Patriots fans remain optimistic because of the first-round price tag as well as his encouraging 2018-19 postseason, all signs of his success may be pointing in the opposite direction.

It starts with the Red Zone. This is more for the fantasy junkies than anything, but still relevant. If there was one stat to dive deeper into during the 2018-19 playoff run, it’s the Patriots’ rushing touchdowns. They had nine of them during the three-game stretch, with Michel being responsible for six. The one thing that all one touchdowns had in common? James Develin was the lead blocker for each one. During the regular season, Develin was also the lead blocker for three out of Michel’s six rushing touchdowns.

As a prototypical Red Zone back, Michel struggles. He tends to follow his blockers and relies on elusiveness overpower. With  Develin out of the equation, Michel will either need to find another fullback to run behind or find another way to get through defenders.

Michel came into the season already with a disadvantage when the Patriots announced that starting center David Andrews would be placed on IR with a heart condition. With Michel being an up-the-middle runner, losing one of the top centers in the league certainly dropped Michel’s value.

In the passing game, Michel showed virtually nothing last season. Not to say he doesn’t have pass-catching ability, as we saw when he was at Georgia he was more than capable. However, it was not something the Patriots used him for last season. If Michel wants to remain the lead back, and an effective one at that, he must find new ways to be successful. This includes making defenders miss (currently ranks last in Pro Football Focus elusiveness rating), as well as becoming less predictable. Last season, with how good the Patriots run-blocking was, they could run it down the defense’s throat even if they knew it was coming. Both offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Michel must get more creative if the former first-round pick wants to succeed this season.

Things don’t get much easier for Michel in week 4 as the Patriots take on a stingy defense in Buffalo.

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.

Leave a Reply