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Sean McVay Shares What Went Into the Idea of Using Sony Michel as the Rams' Kick Returner

Sony Michel returned four kicks for the Rams in Week 12. What went into the decision? Sean McVay explains.

The Los Angeles Rams made a change last week in Green Bay when they turned to Sony Michel as the deep man returning kicks. 

The Rams have struggled to find a mainstay as the team's returner as a result of injuries while other candidates fell out of favor in completing the role. This season, special teams coach Joe DeCamillis has used a combination of Jake Funk, Tutu Atwell, Cooper Kupp, Ben Skowronek and J.J. Koski.

Michel, who had returned just four kicks throughout the course of his four seasons in the NFL, took upon the role in Week 12 for the Rams, totaling 90 yards across four returns for an average of 22.5 yards per attempt.

Rams coach Sean McVay says the way he stumbled upon the idea of using Michel in that fashion was by him coming to the coaching staff and expressing the willingness to return kicks.

“He had expressed some interest in doing it," McVay said of Michel serving as the kick returner. "We don't have a lot of guys that are experienced in that role. He is a tough, physical, downhill runner that's fearless to be able to hit it up in there. I think that takes some courageousness and some guts with the types of collisions. I think there was some positives and definitely, some things that we can learn from, but what I do trust is he's such a conscientious guy. He's going to be able to learn from the things that he can do better. And I did think he was able to level off some of those returns nicely, but that's what went into that.”

Michel was initially brought aboard during the middle of training camp via trade from the New England Patriots in an effort to stabilize the Rams' running back department. He has, however, offered contributions as Darrell Henderson's compliment but ultimately his role as a rusher has been fairly limited this season. 

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He's handled 79 rushing attempts for 305 yards and one touchdown. Meanwhile, as a pass-catcher, he's hauled in 11 grabs for 62 yards and a receiving touchdown.

Inserting Michel as the Rams' kick returner, allows him to get more opportunities with the ball in his hands, a recipe that's been quite successful during his time in the NFL.

The Rams will host the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 13 at SoFi Stadium, where Michel will presumably get more looks as the kick returner, attempting to set up the offense with adequate field position.


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Nick Cothrel is the Publisher of Ram Digest. Follow Nick and Ram Digest on Twitter @NickCothrel & @RamDigestSI for more Rams coverage.