Rhamondre Stevenson, the emerging star of the New England Patriots backfield, finds himself in a position of increased responsibility following Damien Harris’ departure. Harris, who struggled with injuries last season, has signed with the rival Buffalo Bills in free agency.
Now that he is gone, Stevenson is the potential leader of the team’s running back group.
Can Rhamondre Stevenson replace Damien Harris’ output?
During the Patriots’ OTA session on Tuesday, the running back expressed his commitment to becoming a leader in the running back room. He understands the expectations placed upon him and is determined to fulfill them. Stevenson said, “I’m trying to take that step. It’s still early, but I’m trying to take that step to be a leader.”
One of his primary focuses heading into the upcoming season is his conditioning. With Harris gone, he recognizes that he will shoulder an even heavier workload and wants to ensure he is in peak physical shape. Last season, the running back had 279 touches, which ranked him tied for 10th in the NFL among running backs. Toward the end of the season, he admitted feeling the strain of that workload. However, armed with that experience, Stevenson is prepared to handle the demands of potentially an even more demanding season in 2023.
“Just getting in shape again, just getting my wind back,” Stevenson said. “Damien’s out of here now so I’m kind of the guy, so just trying to make sure I’m ready for the end of the season.”
He acknowledges that the NFL season is long, spanning 17 games, and mental preparedness is crucial.
Who should the Patriots sign to provide competition for Rhamondre Stevenson?
With the departure of veteran Devin McCourty, who retired after 13 seasons as a key figure in the Patriots’ defense, the team is faced with the challenge of finding a new leader, especially in the secondary. However, safety Kyle Dugger believes that collective efforts from the entire team can help fill the void left by McCourty. Dugger himself is taking on a more active role as a vocal leader, focusing on communication to ensure a seamless transition.
While the Patriots will miss McCourty’s leadership, they also have their sights set on other areas of improvement. One notable addition to the team is Christian Gonzalez, the Patriots’ top draft pick. After missing the team’s first open practice, Gonzalez made his presence felt on Tuesday, earning reps with the first-team defense. He impressed his team with his great skills.
Another player who could provide competition for Stevenson is Jalen Mills. Mills’ versatility is highly regarded by the Patriots’ coaching staff, and he has the experience and skills necessary to contribute effectively in multiple positions. While it is still early to define specific roles, Mills’ adaptability and willingness to contribute wherever needed make him an asset to the team.
In conclusion, Rhamondre Stevenson’s emergence as the Patriots’ lead option in the backfield, coupled with the departure of Damien Harris, has elevated his role within the team. The running back is eager to step up as a leader and deliver consistent performance weekly. As the Patriots continue their preparations for the upcoming season.