Rookies ready for playoff test
Jackson, Michel get first taste of postseason play
FOXBORO – One rookie is a feel-good story, someone who rose from undrafted status to become the No. 2 cornerback on the Patriots’ depth chart.
The other rookie came to New England with a lot of fanfare, the kind that goes with being selected in the first round. In training camp, he found himself part of a crowded backfield. Now, he takes the lion’s share of the handoffs from Tom Brady.
This afternoon at Gillette Stadium, defensive back J.C. Jackson and running back Sony Michel will each make their NFL playoff debut as New England welcomes the Los Angeles Chargers for a game that will determine onehalf of the AFC Championship Game field. Two players who a year ago at this time were taking the necessary steps to reach the NFL will take part in what veteran safety Devin McCourty dubbed “a one-game season.”
The last time the Patriots did not have a bye to the second round was the 2009 season. Back then, Jackson and Michel were a pair of 14-yearolds who were probably scratching the true potential of their football prowess. For each of them, the NFL’s playoff stage must have seemed like it was eons away.
Now, the opportunity to survive and advance stands before them. As Michel and Jackson prime themselves for their first playoff rodeo, Brady is getting set for his 38th postseason start.
After rushing for 931 yards and six touchdowns during the regular season, Patriots rookie running back Sony Michel (26) is likely to play a big role in his first playoff game today against the Los Angeles Chargers at Gillette Stadium.