What Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears said about Sony Michel, Damien Harris

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With his role potentially being on the line last Sunday against the Raiders, Sony Michel had one of his best games in quite some time.

Michel ran for 117 yards on nine carries, including runs of 38 and 48 yards -- the two longest of his career.

"I saw the guy that we hoped would be out there running," running backs coach Ivan Fears said Tuesday. "I don't know if it's different. Every game is different. Things worked out really well for him in this game. He made the right decisions, he made the right reads, he did all the things he was supposed to do, and he was very, very productive. That's what he's got to do every week, but sometimes, it's not always in his control. That's just the nature of the game."

After offseason foot surgery and missing some time early in training camp, Fears likes what he's seeing in Michel now.

"He looks pretty good to me," he said. "You know you talk about no spring, really no preseason games, I think he's getting to where he wants to be. I really do."

Last Sunday's game was especially important as it was his last chance to show what he can do before second-year back Damien Harris is eligible to come off injured reserve.

After playing in just two games last season and having a great summer, a lot of people are looking forward to seeing what he can do.

"I'm really excited -- excited about having Damien back if we can get him back," Fears said. "I think we're all kind of anxious to see what he will do when it's truly go time. Everything he's shown has been outstanding. He having a great training camp, so it was kind of unfortunate to get a little finger injury before the opening game. But yeah, we're all kind of on pins and needles on this one. We'd like to see where he's going to be and what he's going to do."

If Harris comes back this week and James White returns to the team following the death of his father, the team will likely have a decision to make at the position, as it seems unlikely it will have all five backs active.

"Well, we let them sort it out," Fears said. "Things sort of take care of themselves when it comes to who's available and who's not available, or who's performing who's not performing. So it's a combination of both -- you've got to perform, you've got to perform in practice, and we take the best of the lot if everybody happens to be available. Right now, we're still waiting to get the final word on whether we have everybody ready to go. Believe me, it's a good problem to have. I like it."