A common theme from several members of the 2021 Patriots rookie class was taking advantage of a full offseason program with the team before their second season. That was certainly true for sophomore running back Rhamondre Stevenson.
After admitting he “didn’t really come in in the best shape” during his rookie season, Stevenson spent the offseason getting more lean — telling reporters back in July he lost seven pounds.
“I think I got a lot more lean,” Stevenson said after a training camp practice. “I’m in shape. I can run a lot more. I just feel better overall.”
Running a lot more is exactly what Stevenson is doing this season, especially as Damien Harris has been out of the lineup of late with a hamstring injury.
After Harris injured himself against Detroit in Week 5, Stevenson played every snap the rest of the way, en route to a career-high 161 rushing yard performance. Last week against Cleveland, Stevenson played a career-high 60 snaps with Harris still sidelined.
“It was a task for sure,” Stevenson said of the increased usage. “Just the workload was pretty different from the first couple of weeks. I feel like I handled it pretty well.”
In total, Stevenson piled up 266 all-purpose yards and two scores the past two weeks. The back doesn't believe the production would be possible without his work from the offseason.
“I feel like I’m in pretty good shape right now,” Stevenson said on Thursday. “If this happened last year, I don't think I’d be ready for it. I attacked this offseason pretty crucially and I feel like it’s coming in handy.”
Throughout the whole season, Stevenson has become one of the league’s top backs. He currently ranks as Pro Football Focus’ ninth-ranked rusher, while he is sixth in the league in rushing yards, and fifth in rushing yards after contact. Stevenson’s offseason work is quickly paying dividends and the Patriots will continue to rely on the 24-year-old down the stretch.