New England Patriots’ mid-season running back report
Let’s take a look at the Patriots‘ mid-season running back report as we head into week 11.
Before the season started, we predicted who would lead the Patriots in rushing touchdowns. We evaluated the Patriots’ two most dominating backs: Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson.
The pre-season prediction was that Rhamondre Stevenson would lead the team in rushing touchdowns. Has that been the case? Absolutely.
Heading into week 11, the running back has 618 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns, plus 227 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown – per ESPN. He has not fumbled yet this season.
Behind Stevenson, Harris has scored three touchdowns, and Mac Jones has one. While this pre-season prediction was considered a hot take, Stevenson has nicely stepped up into the RB1 position this season.
Last year, Harris was the number-one rusher for the Patriots, totaling 15 rushing touchdowns. However, Stevenson also had an impressive rookie year in 2021; he rushed for 606 yards, had 123 receiving yards, and had five rushing touchdowns. The 2022 season had room for debate about who would take the RB1 spot.
Damien Harris is a powerhouse rusher, but a fragile one at that. Harris is unfortunately plagued with injuries. This season he started pre-season by leaving joint practice early due to an undisclosed injury.
Fast forward to the regular season; Harris has suffered another injury. He missed week six against the Cleveland Browns, week nine against the Indianapolis Colts (due to illness), and then had a bye week. When he returned for weeks seven and eight, he was severely limited in his workload.
Because of this, Stevenson has stepped up in the primary running back role. Due to his versatility, the Patriots’ offense has Rhamondre playing in the position that former player, James White, used to hold. These types of utility players bode well for the Patriots offense.
The curse of a sophomore slump was looming in the background for this young, 24-year-old athlete. This season, he has proven that it’s merely talk.
Aside from the talents of the run game, the Patriots have been dealing with significant quarterback issues. This, in turn, has put a lot of pressure on the rushing game.
If Harris can get healthy and stay healthy, the competition for the number one spot is back on. For now, it’s Dre Day all the way.