Look for cameo role for LA Rams Sony Michel on SNF

Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams traded a 2022 sixth-round and a 2023 fourth-round draft pick to acquire New England Patriots running back Sony Michel. Some have expressed concerns that the Rams may have spent too much for a running back, particularly when roster cuts loomed just around the corner and the expectation was that the Rams would find plenty of suitable options on the waiver wire.

Others are thrilled with the potential that adding a nearly 1000 yard rusher to this offense, and the most experienced NFL: running back currently on the roster, in time to make what is hoped to be an immediate contribution to the team. There is even reason to believe that the trade for Sony Michel could be one of the key transactions of the 2021 NFL offseason. But it may not be the September offensive assault some hope it to be.

Time is not on the Rams’ side

You see, there is a bit of a snag over the hope that running back Sony Michel storms out of the gates in the season opener against the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football. The problem? He is still learning the playbook just days before the game.

While reports confirm that Michel is on track for the season opener at SoFi Stadium, I’m not convinced that Michel handles the football very much against the Bears. At least, not initially. The LA Rams offense is a rather complicated affair. While Michel is indeed an NFL veteran, a significant portion of the running back’s role in the Rams offense is protecting the quarterback. Until Michel proves unquestionable prowess in blocking for Stafford, he will likely be a garnish, and not the main course, to the Rams Sunday Night Football offense.

Slingin’ Stafford will be the SNF storyline

Certainly that all changes if the Rams struggle to run the ball with Henderson. But I think the season opener will be about putting the NFL on notice that the Rams passing game is loaded for Bear (pun intended). After all, the Bears’ secondary has been a major question mark this offseason, and the LA Rams are gnawing at the bit to showcase their horizontal and vertical threat passing game.

Stream the Rams with fuboTV. Cloud DVR, local channels available in most markets, no cancellation fees. Start a 7-day free trial today.  

For this game, Matthew Stafford could throw the ball 40+ times. Not just in some effort to bury the Bears. But as a way of burning off the rust and synching up the quarterback and receivers who have, as yet, not taken a single offensive snap together in anything closely resembling NFL game day.

LA Rams offensive trio vastly underrated in recent ranking of NFL ‘triplets’. light. Trending

Sony Michel will be a far more effective weapon the following week when the Rams hit the road to take on the Indianapolis Colts. By that time, he will have mastered the Rams playbook and will be ready to grind out the yardage to keep the chains moving and the Colts offense off the field. The value Fantasy Football picks for the LA Rams in the SNF matchup for the Rams will likely be QB Matthew Stafford, TE Tyler Higbee, and PK Matt Gay. Michel will get his share of the action. I just don’t expect it to happen during the season opener.