Running back Damien Harris, who has been out with a finger injury, is eligible to come off the injured list this week and could give New England another option in an already crowded backfield. Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

Damien Harris is eligible to come off injured reserve this week. He was the best back during training camp for the Patriots. And now, with all of the backs performing well, it’s going to be interesting to see how the club utilizes each player, and how much the second-year back from Alabama can help the offense.

Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead and rookie J.J. Taylor all performed well in the 36-20 win over the Raiders Sunday. Tough to argue with 250 yards of production from the run game.

While it’s hard to imagine the Patriots employing five backs on game day this week at Kansas City – with James White also in the mix – running backs coach Ivan Fears said he was looking forward to the challenge and juggling act.

“Right now, we’re still waiting to get the final word on whether we have everybody ready to go,” said Fears. “Believe me, it’s a good problem to have. I like it.”

White has been with his family after the death of his father, while his mother remains hospitalized with serious injuries in the wake of the Florida car crash that killed Tyrone White.

Fears didn’t know when White would be ready to return.

“All I can say is that we love them and we’re trying to be there for him. We really are,” said Fears. “We’re looking forward to when he gets back, and we’ll take it from there. Whatever he needs … what we’re going to try to do. Whatever he needs. But I think exactly where he is right now, I’ve got to let him tell you.”

The biggest question is whether the Patriots will wait on Harris, give him more time to recover from a broken pinky on his right hand, or if he’ll be activated, which might lead to Taylor being inactive during games.

The Patriots received plenty of production from Michel (nine carries, 117 yards), Burkhead (three TDs, two rushing, one receiving) and Taylor (11 carries, 43 yards) against the Raiders. Michel, perhaps sensing he was losing a grip on his job, picked a good week to produce his most best overall performance, between running, catching the football (two receptions for 23 yards), and pass blocking. He was terrific in blitz pickup.

He showed an explosiveness that had been missing, picking up 86 yards on just two carries with a 38-yard run early in the third quarter, and a 48-yarder shortly after. Most impressive was the fact he picked up eight yards after contact per attempt, and forced three missed tackles.

“I saw the guy that we hoped would be out there running. I don’t know if it’s different. Every game is different,” Fears said of Michel. “Things worked out really well for him in this game. He made the right decisions, he made the right reads, he did all the things he was supposed to do, and he was very, very productive. That’s what he’s got to do every week, but sometimes, it’s not always in his control. That’s just the nature of the game.”

Burkhead showed his all-around, do-everything versatility between running the ball (6 carries for 49 yards), and catching passes (7 catches for 49 yards). As for Taylor, it’s no secret Fears loves the undrafted rookie and former Arizona back, and is pleased with his growth and development. At the same time, he also can’t wait to see what Harris is going to bring to the offense.

“I’m really excited – excited about having Damien back if we can get him back. I think we’re all kind of anxious to see what he will do when it’s truly go-time,” said Fears. “Everything he’s shown has been outstanding. He was having a great training camp, so it was kind of unfortunate to get a little finger injury before the opening game. But yeah, we’re all kind of on pins and needles on this one. We’d like to see where he’s going to be and what he’s going to do.”

Fears knows he’s going to have a logjam with the backs. At this stage, he doesn’t seem too worried about how it’s all going to play out.

THE PATRIOTS have more roster decisions to make beyond dealing with the return of Damien Harris. The Patriots put four players on injured reserve to start the season and have since added two – David Andrews and Josh Uche. No roster moves have announced, but the four original ones are eligible to return this week:

• Gunner Olszweski: The Patriots have used J.J. Taylor (one return for 11 yards) and Damiere Byrd (two returns, 0 yards and five fair catches) on punt returns so far. Olszewski, whose primary role was returning punts (20 for 179 yards) and special teams last year, figures to be in the mix when he returns while competing for an expanded receiver role.

“Coming into the second year he developed his tools as a receiver and also as a punt returner and then he worked hard during camp and made some production, had some production as we move forward and unfortunately he got injured,” receivers coach Mick Lombardi said. “I’m eager with any guy who hasn’t been practicing to get out back in practice. Obviously that decision, Coach Belichick is privy to making that. I don’t get involved in that kind of business and decision. But I’m very eager like any player in my room who’s not on the practice field to get back out to the practice field.”

• Beau Allen: Signed to be a run-stopper on the defensive line to replace Danny Shelton, he was injured throughout training camp. The 28-year-old who played in Tampa Bay and Philadelphia will have to battle his way back into a role if and when he’s healthy.

• Yodny Cajuste: After spending all of 2019 on the PUP list, the offensive lineman has never been healthy in New England. If gets healthy enough to play, would the Patriots be willing to use a roster spot on someone so far behind in development? They’re already carrying seldom-used offensive line Hjalte Froholdt and Korey Cunningham. Cajuste would likely need to offer something to get back on the 53-man.

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