Michel largely handled the early-down work while James White served as a viable receiver out of the backfield. According to Mac Cerullo of the Newburyport Daily News, running backs coach Ivan Fears is trying to keep the touches balanced.
“The whole key to make it so we’re interchangeable, everybody looks at us saying they can do both. We like to be in that kind of mode, they got to worry about Sony catching the ball as well as running the ball,” Fears said. “I think you’ll find Sony is going to do very well in the passing game, and I bet you’ll find James White and the rest of the guys doing very well in the running game also. We’re going to try to keep that going.”
Fears' comments are certainly understandable. Michel and White proved to be quite the effective 1-2 punch last season. Regardless, their presence allowed to defense to better determine the offense's approach.
Michel finished the 2018 campaign with 931 yards and six touchdowns, however, he was virtually non-existent in the passing game with only seven receptions for 50 yards. Meanwhile, White enjoyed his biggest year yet with career-highs in both rushing and receiving. Balancing out the duties will undoubtedly make the offense more unpredictable.
Given the investment the Patriots made in Michel when they took him with the 31st overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, they will be looking for him to take on an increased role in the years to come.