COSTA MESA, Calif. – (News4usonline) – The Los Angeles Chargers got the hole puncher they were looking for when they signed veteran running back Sony Michel. Michel, who played last season with the Los Angeles Rams, not only gives the Chargers depth and security in the backfield, but he also gives the team that edge-type runner willing to bang in between tackles.
Michel was released by the Miami Dolphins before being picked up and signed by the Chargers. He made his debut with the team on Wednesday. Chargers head coach Brandon Staley is happy to have Michel.
“He fit right in yesterday,” Staley told a group of reporters during a press conference at the club’s practice facility. “Got in there and had a bunch of carries in the practice. That’s how the NFL is, it never ceases to amaze me, and that’s why I love the NFL. He fit right in with us yesterday. He and his fiancé just had a baby recently, so there’s a lot going on with the Michels. We’re certainly happy to have him. We see a complete runner.
Staley continued, “I’ve known about this guy since he was in the eighth grade playing varsity football at American Heritage [School] down in Plantation [Fla.], Broward County, Florida. I’ve known about him since he was a 14-year-old kid. Just really respect the resumé,” he added. “He’s a complete runner, even going all of the way back to Georgia, him and [Browns RB] Nick Chubb teaming up. I faced him when he was with New England, and, certainly, joining up with those guys last year and helping them win a Super Bowl. Just a very complete back. We’re excited to have him.”
After starring for the University of Georgia as one of the best running backs in the country, Michel played three seasons with the New England Patriots before hopping on with the Rams and winning a Super Bowl with the Rams. Michel will now be part of a quartet in the Chargers backfield, sharing time with Austin Ekeler, Joshua Kelley, and rookie Isaiah Spiller.
Second-year man Larry Roundtree was released by the Chargers in order to make room for Michel, whom Staley believes would be a great compliment to Ekeler and his style of play.
“Yeah, I think you saw Sony do that in New England with [former Patriots RB] James White. James White had a lot of the stuff that Austin has,” Staley said. “James White was a heck of a back, a lot of respect for him. I know that he just retired, so much respect. Glad that we don’t have to cover him anymore [laughter]. I see similar complementary styles.
“The thing about Sony is that he’s a three-down back. He can run any can fit any type of run style; tight zone, wide zone, gap scheme, shotgun running under center. A very complete back pass protection. He has been in good offensive systems in the NFL, so he knows how to protect the quarterback. He has soft hands in the passing game, the screen game.”
While at Georgia, Michel was part of the Bulldogs’ triplets at running back, running alongside Cleveland Browns star Nick Chubb and Detroit Lions runner D’Andre Swift. Chubb was seen as a heavy-hitter. Swift was and is known as the speedster.
Michel was viewed as the most complete back of three running backs. Since he has been in the NFL, Michel has been more of a grinder, a guy more known for getting the tough yards as opposed to hitting the home run. In his four previous seasons, Michel did not cross the 1,000 yards threshold, though he has come close. In the first two seasons with the Patriots, Michel went over 900 yards twice (931 yards, 2018; 912 yards, 2019).
In his only season with the Rams, Michel rushed for 845 yards on 208 carries, an average of 4.1 yards per rush. After a whirlwind offseason in which he went back to his home state of Florida and signed with the Dolphins before Miami released him, Michel now finds himself back in Southern California. Only this time, he has swapped uniforms.
“It feels good,” Michel said on being back in Los Angeles. “It’s a cool opportunity. One that’s slightly familiar, but not too familiar because it’s a whole different organization and it feels good. I’m excited and I can’t wait to get it started.”
With the Chargers prepping for their season opener on Sept. 11 against the Las Vegas Raiders, Michel is not going to have long in getting up to speed on the team’s playbook. However, it’s not something that he seems to be too overly concerned about.
“I’ve been in a similar situation where I got traded and kind of had to learn the playbook,” Michel remarked. “It takes time because, yes, you have to know the information, but you have to also know how to apply it. With that, it takes reps, it takes practice reps, it takes game reps, and eventually, you are going to get into a good routine and good flow.”
Now that he is a member of the Chargers, Michel says meshing with Ekeler is no problem.
“It’ll be a great fit,” Michel said. “Austin Ekeler is a hard worker. It’s going to help me push myself. He’s going to help me push myself in the weight room. He’s going to help me push myself on the field and in the meeting rooms. He’s a great person to be around.”
Dennis has covered politics, crime, social justice, sports, and entertainment. He earned a journalism degree from Howard University. Dennis currently covers the NFL, MLB, NBA, NCAA, and Olympic sports. Dennis is the editor of News4usonline.com and serves as the editor and publisher of the Compton Bulletin newspaper.