Damien Harris receives high praise from Patriots running backs coach

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As a rookie last season, Damien Harris appeared in only two games because of a loaded depth chart ahead of him, so he did not get a chance to show what he can do -- at least in games.

But, behind the scenes it appears he made a good impression as Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears praised the third-round pick of a year ago.

“I think you need just to know that Damien is a doggone good runner,” he said Friday in a video conference with reporters. “He’s a real good runner. He’s done a hell of a job improving his all-around game. When he came out of Bama, he was an excellent runner. He is an excellent runner.

“I think that’s what he’s going to show you when he gets a chance to play. I think you’re going to like what you see, and I think combining him with the other SEC runner that we have in Sony (Michel), you have a hell of a pack there.”

Michel is currently on PUP following offseason foot surgery, so if he's at all slowed at the beginning of the year, Harris would likely be the player to slide in and take some of the carries. Also, Brandon Bolden has opted out of the season, so that could also be a way for Harris to see a few more touches.

Right now, the position depth chart has Michel, Rex Burkhead, James White and Harris.

Losing Bolden likely means Harris will be given a chance to be active on gameday and who knows what will happen from there.

Bottom line, expect Harris to have a bigger role in Year 2 than he did in Year 1.