However, Ram fans should be pleased with how much the latest backfield addition has learned in a span of nearly two weeks – because Michel’s newest head coach told the L.A. media on Monday, September 6, that he likes how fast Michel has picked things up.
“I’m very pleased,” McVay told reporters at the Rams’ Thousand Oaks facility.
Although, McVay elaborated that he hasn’t spent a lot of one-on-one time with the 26-year-old Michel in dissecting the playbook. He’s deferred to running backs coach Thomas Brown. Yet, McVay verbally illustrated that Michel is very dialed in during position meetings with Brown and the rest of the Rams’ backfield.
“I think Thomas (Brown) is probably a better person to ask that. You can get a good gauge for guys when you go on script. When we’ve got 20 shots on offense where it’s all kind of predetermined, you don’t always get the best gauge, but he’s been intense in meetings. He’s got a good look in his eye. I know Thomas has been really pleased with him. So, he’s on track and he’s doing the things that we had hoped up to this point,” McVay said which can be hear near the 1:40 mark of the post practice presser video below.
Michel Has Only Faced Chicago Once
And that came in the 5-foot-11, 215-pounder’s rookie season, which was also one of his worst statistical games that year.
Michel was limited to just four carries for 22 yards, averaging 5.5 yards a carry in that October 21, 2018 contest. However, it turned out he wasn’t heavily needed that day in the Windy City.
His former teammate Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes and turned to James White for the running/receiving spark to beat the Bears 38-31. White went on to score twice on touchdown receptions.
Following that game, Michel’s weekly rushing yardage total never fell to 22 yards the rest of the way as he went on to produce four 100-yard games including two during the AFC playoffs. He capped off his rookie year with 94 yards on the ground in the 13-3 Super Bowl win over his newest team, which led the Patriots on that February 3, 2019 evening in Atlanta.
Looking Ahead to the Bears’ Defense
The Bears mostly rode defense to their wildcard playoff appearance in 2020.
Last year’s unit ranked 11th overall in the league but seventh-best in the NFC in average yards allowed per game. Against the run, Chicago surrendered an average of 113.4 yards per game which placed them at 15th overall.
Per the 2021 depth chart on the team website, the Bears didn’t make many changes to their starting defensive lineup. Notable names like Akiem Smith in the trenches, Khalil Mack on the edge, Roquan Smith at one of the inside linebacker spots and second-year cornerback Jaylon Johnson all return to the Bears.
One notable change, though, is the return of nose tackle Eddie Goldman, who opted out of last season due to coronavirus concerns.