Just over two weeks ago, Pwns Media's own Corey Bourassa penned an article detailing how much of a make or break season 2020 will be for Patriots' Running Back Sony Michel. Unfortunately, based on recent news, it now looks like Sony could spend the beginning of his pivotal third NFL season sidelined. According to the ever-reliable Mike Reiss, Michel underwent surgery on his foot sometime last month; the procedure is said to be more of a means to relieve discomfort that didn't disappear on its own than to correct structural issues, however. Nevertheless, the proximity of his surgery and subsequent recovery process to the start of training camp does lessen the likelihood of Sony being available to start the season.
Look, I'm not one of those nauseatingly annoying Patriots fans who rips on any player who occasionally underperforms - I find those people absolutely insufferable. Sure, we've all been guilty of saying "Oh, [insert player name here] SUCKS!" out of frustration from time to time, but that's just an emotional reaction more often than not. I think that, for the most part, even the most passionate sports fans realize that the 15th man on the NBA roster could show up to a YMCA men's league game and embarrass every living soul on the court. These athletes have to be inexplicably gifted just to be the guy or gal who rides the bench all game long in the most talented sports leagues in the world. So, I'm not talking about the average fan who becomes frustrated with a player's in-game performance and reacts accordingly, but rather those who go out of their way to shit on athletes for no reason, anytime they check in to a game, touch the ball, etc. - what the hell is your problem? GET. A. LIFE.
Anyways, let's get back on track. My point is that I'm not one of these people who gets his jollies from making fun of Sony Michel, who seems to be a real frequent target for the Patriots' fan base. Yes, I'm aware that a lot of this criticism stems from his status as a former first round pick (for the record, I'm heavily against the notion of drafting Running Backs in the first round). And yes, I'm also aware that there has been frustration with his injury history dating all the way back to his time at Georgia, so today's news will likely cause some people to roll their eyes and say "here we go again!" To that, I guess I'd say: why the hell do you have to be so negative? As Corey detailed in his piece, which again, you can read here, Michel has been a bigger contributor to the Patriots offense than people think during his first two seasons. Additionally, a lot of the struggles with the team's running game last season had a lot more to do with injuries to those charged with clearing a path for him than with Sony himself.
As an aside, I tend to see a lot of Patriots fans who complain about the team's players use very generic football jargon in order to sound like an expert (i.e. 'create separation,' 'set the edge,' 'lacks explosiveness,' etc.) - can you people please stop doing that? Just saying these things doesn't necessarily make them true, which brings me to my next point. Sony Michel does not lack the 'explosiveness' that he had at Georgia in any way, shape or form. You can be extremely agile and have great burst, but if there are no running lanes for you to burst through, the only place you're going is nowhere fast. Can Sony improve as a runner? Sure, I'm not saying he's an All-Pro or anything; there is definite room for improvement. But I'm getting really fed up with people attacking this guy for things well out of his control, including injuries.
To sum things up, I guess I'd say that I'm hopeful that Sony will be able to avoid starting camp on the PUP list. At the end of the day, though, even if he misses some time to start the season, he still has a chance to put together his best one yet. Today's news from Mike Reiss is likely going to be another feather in the cap for the contingent of Patriots fans who seem to want to root against Sony Michel, but it shouldn't be. Blaming athletes for circumstances outside of their control is just flat out dumb. Yes, Sony has struggled to stay on the field at times, but in my opinion, this latest procedure really shouldn't be cause for added concern. I predicted a season of 1,100-1,200 rushing yards for Sony Michel in 2020 and I'm choosing to stick to that prognostication. Sony will be a big reason for the Patriots' success this season, book it.