The 5 most important players on the New England Patriots for the 2023 season

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The Patriots face immense pressure heading into the 2023 season, much more than they have in quite some time.

On top of having the most brutal strength of schedule in the league and a quarterback hoping to have a bounce-back season, Bill Belichick is rumored to be in the hot seat if the team doesn't make the playoffs or, at the very least, perform better than last year.

The good thing is the roster is full of many talented players with the leadership qualities needed to be pillars of a team working to get back on track.

These are just five of those important players.

Rhamondre Stevenson

With the departure of Damien Harris in free agency and the release of James Robinson after a short stint as a Patriot, all chips are on Rhamondre Stevenson for the upcoming season.

His performance through just two seasons has been impressive, especially last year when he actively trained to become a receiving threat out of the backfield in the absence of James White. He's a proven workhorse willing to do what it takes to have a lot of the offense run through him, and it is expected he will have a breakout season in 2023.

As the clear primary running back of the team and the uncertainty surrounding the potential signings of Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook, Stevenson's role on the team becomes much more critical than it has been previously.

He won't be splitting snaps with Harris anymore, even though it was more like 65/35 last year, and he may become a more prominent leader on the offense moving forward. His performance certainly warrants it, that's for sure.

After becoming the first running back since LeGarrette Blount in 2016 to total 1,000+ receiving yards in a season, Stevenson is all but guaranteed to build upon that this year.

With so much uneasiness around the receiving corps, his presence on the field provides a comfortable and trusted weapon for Mac Jones to turn to, making him one of the most important pieces on offense without a doubt.