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Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson: 'I want to be the featured back' in New England

A new era in Foxborough is underway, and Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson has a specific role he'd like to play under head coach Jerod Mayo.

"I want to be the featured back for the Patriots," Stevenson recently told Nicole Yang of the Boston Globe.

Stevenson is coming off a down campaign, which ended on injured reserve due to an ankle injury. In 12 games, the back generated 619 yards on 156 carries with four touchdowns. His yards per carry average sank a yard from 5.0 in 2022 to 4.0 in 2023. In the mess of a New England offense last year, Stevenson was also used less in the passing game, seeing 38 catches for 238 yards with no scores.

Injuries played a role, but Stevenson's lack of usage on third down was surprising after he performed those duties well in 2022 after James White retired.

"I love playing all three downs," Stevenson said. "Playing running back on third down is totally different from first and second down. It's a totally different position. You have to pick up the blitz, run your route, keep the quarterback safe -- there's a lot that goes into it. But when you do it right, it's like an accomplishment."

Under Bill Belichick, the Patriots rarely used a workhorse back in recent seasons, preferring to roll with different roles out of the backfield. In Stevenson's three seasons, he split time with Damien Harris, White, and Ezekiel Elliott, among others.

Entering a contract year, Stevenson believes being a featured back would afford him a greater chance to get in a groove.

"The guys I split with -- Damien, Zeke -- they would say the same thing," Stevenson said. "The importance of being in the game and getting a hang of the game, just drive after drive -- not one drive on, one drive off. You can't get hot like that. All running backs know that. You can't really get hot like that."

New offensive coordinator Andy Van Pelt mentioned getting the run game going as he takes over in Foxborough.

"I think running the football in this league wins games, wins championships," Van Pelt said in a video posted to the Patriots' social media account. "We have to do that late in the season."

Stevenson knows he won't be the only back in the room. Elliott is a free agent, but the Pats still have Kevin Harris, JaMycal Hasty and Ke'Shawn Vaughn currently under contract.

"I definitely don't want to be just the only running back," Stevenson said. "I definitely want Kevin to get in. I definitely want things to happen. But I kind of want to take the charge."

With needs at quarterback, receiver, and impending free agents along the offensive line, RB isn't a front-of-mind concern in New England as we hit the offseason. Still, the Patriots could add depth later in the draft to supplement Stevenson and potentially take over if he leaves in free agency in 2025.

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