Patriots gridiron news: Only health can tackle Sony Michel’s success

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 11: Sony Michel #1 of the Georgia Bulldogs rushes against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium on November 11, 2017 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 11: Sony Michel #1 of the Georgia Bulldogs rushes against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium on November 11, 2017 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots No. 1 draft pick Sony Michel could miss the entire preseason due to a knee procedure raising concern about his health long term.

There is no doubt that rookie running back Sony Michel will be an exciting dual-threat option for the New England Patriots.  The only question will be whether his health will allow him to be.

Of course, that is the case with any football player on all levels of the game, but when a player as talented as Michel has a history of knee problems, the spot light for concern brightens or dims however you want to look at it.

Given the fact that the Patriots just released wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell due to an ongoing knee issue, Michel’s long-term health is something worth watching.  In fact, it will be an X-factor has to how successful or unsuccessful he is in the NFL.

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After missing recent practices in training camp, it was revealed Saturday that the Georgia Bulldogs alum underwent a knee procedure following an injury suffered the Wednesday prior.  While Michel’s expected recovery time is just 10 days following the “clean up” procedure, it could affect his availability in preseason games and could linger into the regular season.

Is this a major concern for the Patriots for the moment?

The answer to that is no since the team has depth at the position.  But, as long-term concern, it is a risk the Patriots took by selecting him in the first round.  It is also a risk the team has taken before with players entering the league with health concerns.

While Michell didn’t work out, tight end Rob Gronkowski is a player who has worked out.  Yes, Gronkowski has missed many games due to injuries, but his dominance while on the field has made it worth it.  The same may ring to be true with Sony Michel.

It’s possible this will be the only time we hear about his knee.  At the same time, it could be the time of problem that requires management over the entirety of his career.  Worth it if he becomes the player everyone is excited he will be.  Not worth it if his path takes him on the same road it took Malcolm Mitchell.

Sony Michel learning from James White

Speaking of the depth the New England Patriots have at running back, Sony Michel is learning a lot from the veteran players they do have at the position, namely James White.

Entering the league with the amount of talent he has, Michel still comes with high expectations despite the recent knee issue.  It’s simple, when the Patriots select a running back as high as they did Michel, they have major plans for that player.

With White, Rex Burkhead, Jeremy Hill, Mike Gillislee and Brandon Bolden all there to mentor him, the young rookie has the guidance he needs to learn the offense.  With his duel-threat ability, catching the ball from Tom Brady will be just as valuable as finding holes with his vision and breaking the ankles of linebackers with his feet.

White, who has become one of Brady’s favorite targets, is teaching Michel as much as he can.

"“You try to help him as much as you can,” White said, as transcribed by NESN.  “Try not to throw too much at him, but help him here and there after each rep, just coach him up a little bit on the side.  But you don’t want to give him too much at one time so he can just go out there and play fast.  It’s just football at the end of the day.  Just take your coaching point, and once you’re out there, just go out there and play fast.  Play football.”"

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It is just football and Sony Michel has both the maturity and talent to be something special in the New England Patriots offense.  With the knee procedure, fans will have to wait a little while to see how he progresses, but it promises to be a quite a treat once he gets it all figured out (and healthy of course).