Sony Michel

Sony Michel Underwent Foot Surgery

Patriots running back Sony Michel has once again gone under the knife. As Mike Reiss of reports, Michel underwent foot surgery last month.

Luckily, the procedure was more of a “maintenance-based” one, but it’s still unclear if Michel will be fully healthy for training camp or if he will open camp on the PUP list. Last June, the Georgia product underwent a knee scope and spent the first two days of TC on the PUP list before returning to the field. He also had fluid drained from his knee during training camp of his rookie season in 2018, and he twisted his knee in a regular season game later that year and missed two games as a result.

Michel, 25, ultimately played in all 16 regular season games for the Pats last year. However, he was not especially impressive, averaging just 3.7 yards per carry and accounting for a modest 23 defense-adjusted yards above replacement.

But he averaged 4.5 yards per carry in his rookie season across a similar number of attempts, and he does have a first-round pedigree, so he figures to continue playing a major role in the New England offense in 2020. However, the Pats are also rostering promising 2019 third-rounder Damien Harris, who may start to push Michel if he does not start performing at a higher level.

As they transition to Jarrett Stidham at quarterback, the Patriots may be leaning especially heavily on their running game in 2020. They will need Michel and the rest of the RB contingent, which also features talented pass-catching back James White, to be at their best.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Notes: Thomas, Michel, Gronk, Wynn

Demaryius Thomas is not a lock to make the Patriots’ 53-man roster and may well begin the season on the reserve/PUP list. The Patriots started that process Sunday by placing the Pro Bowl wide receiver on their active/PUP list, which applies to players not healthy enough to begin participating in training camp. The Pats used the same designation for Sony Michel, Field Yates of tweets. Michel will certainly be part of the 2019 Patriots and is recovering from offseason knee surgery. Thomas tore an Achilles in December, joining longtime receiver teammate Emmanuel Sanders in that regard. The latter, however, is further along in his recovery, having not started Broncos camp on the PUP list.

Here is the latest out of New England:

  • Patriots third-round pick Yodny Cajuste underwent quadriceps surgery before the draft and landed on the defending Super Bowl champions’ reserve/NFI list, Mike Reiss of tweets. As is the case with the active/PUP list, players can come off this list at any point during camp. Cajuste figures to mix in as a swing option for the Patriots as a rookie.
  • If Rob Gronkowski does follow through on a comeback, might the Patriots be wise to assure him blocking responsibilities will be limited? While the future Hall of Famer was a plus blocker for his position, Jim McBride of the Boston Globe suggests the Pats use Gronk as a hybrid-type player that does not have the same kind of in-line role he previously held. The 30-year-old icon has slimmed down this offseason, one that has reportedly not featured much in the way of strength work.
  • Deatrich Wise and Nate Ebner will join Thomas and Michel on the Pats’ active/PUP list, Reiss tweets. A third-year defensive end, Wise has not missed a game in two seasons.
  • Isaiah Wynn, however, will not appear on the Pats’ active/PUP list, Reiss adds (via Twitter). The 2018 first-round pick missed all of his rookie season due to a torn Achilles’ tendon. Suffering the injury before last season began, Wynn is expected to suit up when the Patriots convene for their 2019 camp and line up as New England’s starting left tackle.
  • The Pats do not appear to have an open spot at quarterback, with Reiss noting Brian Hoyer will stick as Tom Brady‘s top backup and rookie Jarrett Stidham is likely assured of a roster spot as the team’s latest developmental QB project. This puts 2018 seventh-round pick Danny Etling on the verge of again falling short of a spot on the team’s active roster. But he may have an outside shot as a Taysom Hill-like role, per Reiss. While the Purdue and LSU alum never rushed for more than 200 yards in a season in college, Reiss points to his 86-yard touchdown run during 2018 preseason play as a sign this outside-the-box notion could work. The Patriots probably aren’t too eager to take Brady off the field, however.

Extra Points: Michel, Jets, Eagles, Browns

Patriots running back Sony Michel missed the team’s minicamp following arthroscopic surgery on his knee. He is “progressing quickly” in his recovery and is reportedly running at “full tilt,” the NFL Network’s Mike Girardi tweets.

That’s a good sign for the second-year back, who sounds like he is on track to return to action when the team opens training camp in July.

A first-round pick in 2018, Michel impressed in his rookie campaign with 931 rushing yards and six touchdowns. He turned it up a notch in the postseason, adding another six rushing scores in New England’s run to a Super Bowl title.

Even if the Georgia product misses a little time, the Patriots should still be in good hands in the backfield. The team still boast James White and added Damien Harris, a running back from Alabama, in the draft in April.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Browns were deemed to have the best offseason, an ESPN NFL Nation post states. Each team was given a designation of elite, above average, average and too soon to tell, and Cleveland was the only squad to garner an elite ranking. The explanation for the lofty ranking was the team succeeding on its goal of surrounding second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield with talent at the skill positions with Odell Beckham and Kareem Hunt.
  • With Joe Douglas now with the Jets, the former Eagles vice president of player personnel could look to fortify his new squad with players from his old team, NBC Sports’ Dave Zangaro writes. Zangaro identifies 10 players who could be cut or have reduced roles in the coming weeks who Douglas could have his eyes on, three of which are in the secondary in cornerbacks Cre’Von LeBlanc and Josh Hawkins, and safety Deiondre’ Hall.

Pats RB Sony Michel Undergoes Knee Scope

Patriots running back Sony Michel missed the final phase of New England’s offseason workout program after undergoing a knee scope, tweets Jeff Howe of The Athletic. However, Michel should be available for the start of training camp.

For most players, a knee scope — especially one with a projected training camp return — wouldn’t necessarily make news, but Michel’s history of knee issues is certainly concerning. Michel, who was selected 31st overall in 2018, had knee concerns heading into the draft and has a torn ACL on his record. Additionally, Michel suffered a knee injury in August that forced him to miss the preseason and the Patriots’ first regular season game, while another knee issue kept him out of Weeks 8-9.

If Michel is forced to miss time during the regular season, New England has enough backfield depth to withstand his absence. James White remains one of the NFL’s best pass-catching running backs, while Rex Burkhead has played well as both a runner and receiver for the Patriots over the past two seasons. New England also deployed a 2019 third-round pick on Alabama’s Damien Harris, re-signed special teams ace Brandon Bolden, and inked undrafted free agent Nick Brossette.

Michel, 24, led the Patriots in rushing attempts (209), rushing yards (931), and rushing touchdowns (six) in his rookie campaign, and ranked 11th league-wide in success rate, meaning he was exceptional at keeping New England’s offense “on schedule” with regard to down and distance. Never much of a pass-game contributor in college, Michel managed only seven receptions in 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Rumors: Cowboys, Patriots, Michel, Jets

Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee aggravated his hamstring injury in Monday night’s game against the Titans and will be sidelined for “a little bit,” head coach Jason Garrett told reporters, including Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). Lee, of course, has had problems staying healthy throughout his lengthy career, as he’s never played a full 16-game slate and just recently missed Weeks 4-6. While Dallas’ defense has historically posted vastly inferior production without Lee on the field, those splits have become less stark thanks to the excellent play of fellow Cowboys linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • Lee isn’t the only member of the Cowboys expected to be sidelined for multiple weeks, as left guard Connor Williams is likely to require knee surgery that will knock him out of action for a few games, according to Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. Williams’ injury isn’t season-ending, but he’s going to have to sit out for several weeks as he recovers. The 50th overall selection in the 2018 draft, Williams has been a middling option at guard this season, ranking 42nd among 75 positional qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. Per George, it’s unclear how the Cowboys will replace Williams, but La’el Collins — a former guard — won’t be moved off right tackle.
  • In the AFC, we have news on two injured Patriots running backs, including rookie Sony Michel. Michel suffered a knee injury against the Bears in Week 7 and hasn’t played since, but he’s on track to return against the Titans on Sunday, tweets Adam Schefter of New England hasn’t had any trouble in its backfield even without Michel thanks to the efforts of James White and Cordarrelle Patterson, but Michel — who managed at least 18 carries and touchdown in Weeks 4-6 — will give the Patriots a more balanced attack.
  • Fellow Patriots running back Jeremy Hill announced on Twitter that he underwent surgery for his torn ACL on Monday. Hill suffered his knee injury in Week 1, but players will often wait on surgery for a variety of reasons. Hill, who is in his first season with New England, may have waited for swelling to subside, or, as Kevin Duffy of the Boston Herald tweets, Hill could have hoped to restore range of motion prior to an operation. After inking a one-year, $1.5MM deal this offseason, Hill will hit free agency next spring entering his age-27 campaign.
  • Is offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates the right play-caller to lead Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold‘s development? That’s the question Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News attempts to answer in his most recent column, noting that Darnold has displayed signs of progress despite his high interception totals.

AFC Notes: Bell, Jags, Bosa, Michel

The Steelers are still hopeful that they can trade Le’Veon Bell and net a third-round pick or better in return before Tuesday’s deadline, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Bell, as we heard earlier this week, does not want to be traded, and given that he would need to sign his franchise tender before he can be dealt, he holds all the cards in that regard. La Canfora tweets that Bell (predictably) balked at returning to the Steelers on the exempt list, so there are still plenty of moving pieces to keep an eye on before this situation is finally resolved.

Now let’s take a quick swing around the AFC:

  • Blake Bortles played decently for the Jaguars during their loss in London today, but we heard earlier this week that the fifth-year pro is on a short leash after he was benched during last Sunday’s loss to the Texans. However, Albert Breer of TheMMQB observes that Bortles still took the lion’s share of first-team reps in practice this week (though Cody Kessler did get a few, as anticipated), so it does not appear that there is a quarterback competition at the moment.
  • La Canfora writes that the Jaguars were very much interested in Kirk Cousins last offseason and were prepared to offer him a significant free agent contract and move on from Bortles. However, they were not willing to meet the $30MM-per-year figure that Cousins ultimately got from the Vikings (they hoped to land him for something in the $20-24MM range). Instead, of course, they gave Bortles a pay-as-you-go, team-friendly extension, which allows the club the flexibility to move on this offseason if it so chooses.
  • Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette is expected to return to the field for Jacksonville’s Week 10 matchup on November 11 against the Colts, per Schefter.
  • It does not appear as if the Chargers will get Joey Bosa back for their November 4 matchup against the Seahawks, as they had been hoping for some time. Although Bosa is making progress, Schefter writes that he is not “anywhere near ready to play right now.” It is unclear when Bosa will make his much-anticipated return to the field, but the wait will carry until at least the second week of November.
  • Sony Michel returned to practice for the Patriots yesterday, per Mike Reiss of While Michel will not play in the team’s Monday night contest against the Bills tomorrow, he may be ready to go against the Packers next week. Reiss adds that New England could promote Kenneth Farrow from the taxi squad for tomorrow’s game in order to give themselves three healthy backs.
  • The relationship between Browns HC Hue Jackson and OC Todd Haley is not improving, and one of the two could be relieved of his duties in short order.

Injury Updates: Ansah, Lions, Sherman, 49ers, Michel, Patriots, Barr, Vikings

Ezekiel Ansah has missed almost the entire season with a mysterious shoulder injury. He played in the Lions’ opener against the Jets, and notched four tackles and a sack, but hasn’t played since. Detroit has been mum on what exactly is ailing Ansah, and he’s appeared close to returning a few times recently but has never suited up. He’s practice on a limited basis the past couple of weeks, but still hasn’t been ready.

This week might be different, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets that Ansah “did more in practice Friday than I’ve seen him in recent weeks.” It seems like Ansah is ramping up his activity and has a very good chance to return tomorrow against the Seahawks. Ansah, who’s playing on a franchise tag, would provide a big boost to a suddenly resurgent Lions defense.

Here’s more on some big injuries from around the league:

  • Richard Sherman appears on track to return for the 49ers tomorrow against the Cardinals after a two game absence, but might have to miss Week 9 because of it. Sherman told Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle that he’s going to attempt to play through the injury, but might be too sore to play on short-rest in Week 9. The 49ers play on Thursday Night Football, and it doesn’t sound like Sherman thinks he’ll be able to play two games in four days.
  • The Patriots have been typically tight-lipped about Sony Michel‘s injury, but the recent word is that it isn’t too serious. That being said, Michel has been downgraded to doubtful for the team’s Monday night game against the Bills, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic (Twitter link). If it’s true that it’s relatively minor, Michel should be able to return in Week 9.
  • The Vikings’ defense has already been pretty banged up, and they got even more bad news recently. Linebacker Anthony Barr has been ruled out, which will end his streak of 44 consecutive games started for the Vikings, according to Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The Vikings will be considerably short-handed for their game against the Saints, and Barr’s absence will surely be felt over the middle.

Latest On Patriots RB Sony Michel

Patriots running back Sony Michel went down with a knee injury on Sunday, and while he will likely miss time, the issue is not expected to be “overly serious,” a source tells Adam Schefter of (Twitter link). New England believes Michel is dealing with “at least” an MCL injury, which would cause a multi-week absence but not end the rookie’s 2018 campaign, tweets Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston.

Michel, who was selected 31st overall earlier this year, had knee concerns heading into the draft and has a torn ACL on his record. Additionally, Michel suffered a knee injury in August that forced him to miss the preseason and the Patriots’ first regular season game. Given that track record, New England is surely worried about Michel’s current injury, but it doesn’t sound as though the Georgia product is in danger of missing the rest of the year.

Since returning to action in Week 2, Michel has quickly taken over as the Patriots’ lead back, and he’s led the team in carries each week since. All told, Michel has managed 4.4 yards per carry on 95 rushes while scoring four touchdowns. He’s given New England the ability to sustain a running game, and ranks fifth in the NFL in Football Outsiders’ success rate, meaning he’s excellent at keeping the Patriots’ offense on schedule with regard to down and distance.

The Patriots have already placed fellow backs Rex Burkhead and Jeremy Hill on injured reserve, leaving James White and Kenjon Barner as the only healthy runners on New England’s roster. Practice-squader Kenneth Farrow is a candidate to be promoted, but the Patriots could also look at the free agent market. They’ve reportedly expressed interest in reuniting with Mike Gillislee, and they’ve worked out a number of backs — including Orleans Darkwa and Charcandrick West — throughout the season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Notes: Etling, Gilmore, Michel

Danny Etling didn’t make the Patriots’ 53-man roster, but that doesn’t mean the team is giving up on him. The rookie quarterback, who New England took in the seventh round of this year’s draft, was signed to the practice squad after cutdown day and has been staying very involved. Etling has been on the sidelines during games this year even though it’s “unusual for practice-squad players” to be on the sidelines, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.

Reiss thinks “the club taking a similar approach with him as it did with Jacoby Brissett in 2016 when Brissett was on injured reserve”, and that “the hope is that it helps his growth as a player by allowing him to be part of the game-management process.” It sounds like the Patriots still believe that Etling could develop into something worth keeping some day, and he’ll almost surely be signed to a reserve/futures contract this Winter.

Here’s more from Foxborough:

  • Stephon Gilmore signed a massive deal with the Pats two offseasons ago, but he was almost a Chicago Bear. Speaking ahead of the team’s game with the Bears earlier this week, Gilmore revealed he had narrowed it down the the Bears and the Patriots before ultimately choosing New England, Reiss reports.
  • The Patriots are being “characteristically tight lipped” regarding Sony Michel‘s injury, but the rookie sensation running back will undergo an MRI tomorrow, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk (Twitter link). Michel’s injury looked scary at first, and it’s possible he’s dealing with something significant that could cause him to miss a lot of time. If that’s the case expect the Patriots, who are already incredibly thin in the backfield, look for more outside veteran help.
  • In case you missed it, the Patriots expect tight end Rob Gronkowski to return next week against the Bills on Monday Night Football. Gronkowski missed the game against the Bears after his back flared up in practice.

Injury Notes: Fournette, Ansah, Michel, Burkhead, Barron

Inactive lists for the late slate of games are starting to roll in, and are providing answers to some key injury questions. Perhaps the biggest mystery of the week was the status of Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette. We finally have clarity, as Fournette will officially miss Jacksonville’s Week 2 game against the Patriots with his hamstring injury according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link).

It’s a big blow for the Jaguars who like to establish the running game and make things easy for Blake Bortles. They did get some good news however as Calais Campbell, who was a very late add to the injury report, will play. Here are more injury notes from around the league:

  • The Lions’ already weak defense will be without their best player, as Ezekiel Ansah will be sidelined with a shoulder injury per Michael Rothstein of ESPN (Twitter link). Ian Rapoport had previously tweeted Ansah was expected to play, so this is a bit of a surprise.
  • The Patriots’ backfield got some good news as both Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead will suit up per Ben Volin of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). Burkhead was cleared from the concussion protocol while Michel will make his NFL debut after missing most of the offseason with a knee injury.
  • The Rams will be without starting linebacker Mark Barron for a second straight week per ProFootballTalk (Twitter link). It’s bad news for Los Angeles as their linebackers were shredded over the middle last week by tight end Jared Cook for 180 yards.