New England Patriots: Realistic expectations for Rhamondre Stevenson in 2023

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Third-year Patriots' running back Rhamondre Stevenson rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2022 on 5.0 yards per carry. Will he improve on those numbers in 2023? I think we might be looking at one of the most prolific runners in the NFL in 2023. I truly believe Stevenson is going to breakout in his third season and is clearly the RB1 in New England.

Stevenson was a fourth round pick back in the 2021 NFL Draft and shared the backfield with Damien Harris in his rookie season. Then, in 2022, because of Harris' nagging injuries, Stevenson took over the RB1 role and rushed his way to one of the better seasons among running backs in the NFL in 2022.

Now in 2023, the Patriots will likely feature Stevenson as the primary workhorse running back. Free agent addition James Robinson is also a former 1,000 yard rusher and will likely do a good bit of cleanup work for the Pats, perhaps in short yardage and goal-line situations.

And based on the history of Bill O'Brien and his offenses, I think Stevenson is in a very advantageous situation heading into his third season.

The following rankings are from Bill O'Brien's time as an OC in the NFL with the Patriots in 2011, and his tenure as the head coach of the Houston Texans from 2014-2020. Here's where his rushing offenses ranked in the NFL in yards:

20th, 5th, 15th, 8th, 14th, 8th, 9th, 31st. Perhaps we can forget the 2020 season, as that seems to be a clear anomaly. But, take a look at the rankings from 2014-2019. O'Brien fielded four rushing offenses that ranked inside the top 10 in yards gained.

Also, the rushing attempts in his offenses also ranked quite high as well. In 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018, O'Brien's offenses ranked inside the top 10 in rushing attempts per game.

The one statistic that does seem oddly low is the touchdowns. He has several seasons ranking inside the 20s in rushing touchdowns scored, so perhaps we should not expect Stevenson to score a bunch in 2023, but what is obvious is how much BoB prioritizes the run in his offense.

That coupled with Mac Jones' regression in year two might put more of an emphasis on the run game, so I think Rhamondre Stevenson can flirt with something around 1,500 yards in 2023.