The last time the Patriots won a Super Bowl, they did so largely because of employing a power running game.

In 2018, they won in the trenches with a superior line, and rode Sony Michel to the promised land.

Last year, between having an injury-plagued offense line, a merry-go-round at fullback after James Develin went down, and Michel battling knee problems, the power running game never got going.

Count on a resurrection this season.

Thus far in camp, a power game has been on display. The line looks solid, and so does the chief back: Damien Harris.

Actually, he’s been pretty amazing.


Sure, it’s hard to truly assess a running game and a back without legitimate tackling. But Harris has popped during the first week and beyond. He’s making good use of the added reps with both Michel and newly acquired Lamar Miller on the physically unable to perform list.

Joe Thuney called him an “explosive” runner, and it’s an apt description seeing him burst through the cracks provided by the offensive line.

While Harris and rookie J.J. Taylor have been impressive catching the ball out of the backfield, the run game is where it’s going to start for the Patriots.

And with that, Harris has gotten off to a terrific start if practice is any indication.

After essentially sitting out his rookie year, getting into live action for only a handful of snaps, Harris appears ready to seize the day. During the padded practices, he’s played bigger than his 5-foot-11, 213-pound frame, has shown great vision, toughness, and cuts on a dime.

During a video conference call Tuesday, Harris talked about getting more comfortable with the offense, and what’s expected from the coaches, as well as his teammates.


“Once you figure that out it definitely makes things a little bit easier,” he said, “but also at the same time it really doesn’t because the best is demanded of you every single day, from your coaches, from your teammates, from the moment you walk in to the moment you walk out, your best is demanded.”

Of course, it’s helped Harris, as well as the other backs, having an offensive line that’s dictating play. Isaiah Wynn, Thuney, David Andrews, and Shaq Mason have had good camps thus far, and Jermaine Eluemunor has been a surprise at right tackle.

Fullback Jakob Johnson has also done well delivering monstrous blocks to help open holes.

“I love running behind those guys, great group of guys, love playing with them, love competing with them, those guys work incredibly hard and they make me want to work harder,” said Harris. “I can’t even talk enough about how great of a job they do on a day-to-day basis and they make my life easier so definitely fortunate to have those group of guys, to even learn from as well, the way that they block and the way that they move, seeing how I’ve got to play off of that and how I have to be complementary to the way that they block and the way they go about doing things.

“It’s a great opportunity and I’m super excited to be out there with those guys for sure.”

With the former Alabama back powering through the interior, Rex Burkhead following suit, and James White providing a third-down receiving threat, the Patriots appear on their way.

Add a mobile quarterback in Cam Newton, and the Patriots figure to fly first with a tough, physical ground-based offense. During the 2018 postseason, Michel had a pair of 100-yard rushing games, and nearly a third in the Super Bowl. In all, he had six games during that season where he rushed over 100 yards.

Between Newton, Harris and the other backs, it’s going to be an interesting year on offense.

“It’s definitely exciting, going out there every single day and working with those guys, the OL, the RBs, QBs, TEs, really the whole team, the whole offense,” said Harris. “Just being able to go out there and work on our execution, work on our fundamentals, work on improving every single day and take that forward to the season. It’s really exciting.”

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