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Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson said Tuesday that his focus this offseason was "route running and being a third down back." That doesn't necessarily mean that he'll be New England's primary pass-catching back this season. But it's certainly possibly, especially if he's improved in that department after a promising rookie year. Stevenson caught 14 of 18 targets for 123 yards in 2021, ranking 12th among 89 qualifying RBs in yards per route run. The Patriots re-signed RB James White in March, but the 30-year-old coming off hip surgery is a big question mark.

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"My guess after being around this team a little is that Rhamondre Stevenson probably will get the bulk of the carries," NBC Sports' Peter King said after attending Patriots training camp. It's a tepid prediction -- and King reminded us that "you're not gonna have any Patriots RB run it 300 times. That's just not the way Bill Belichick wants to use his personnel in the backfield." But it's still noteworthy considering RB Damien Harris is going a round or 2 ahead of Stevenson in fantasy drafts. We'll be keeping a close eye on this backfield in the preseason.

Pats RB Rhamondre Stevenson has slimmed down to 225 pounds, per insider Doug Kyed. He’s listed at 230 pounds on NFL.com, so it’s not a drastic cut. The move is believed to be because of an increased emphasis on the passing game. Per Kyed, Stevenson said he has a better understanding of 3rd-down concepts entering year 2. With James White’s health a question mark, Stevenson looks like the Pats’ primary receiving back in 2022.

Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson ran with the 1st-team offense on Wednesday, while RB Damien Harris was with the 2s, according to multiple sources in attendance. It's the 1st day of Patriots training camp, so we're not overreacting or even adjusting projections for the backfield yet. But it's a situation to keep a close eye on through the rest of camp and preseason action.

Patriots beat writer Khari Thompson writes that the “next step” for RB Rhamondre Stevenson is “getting better as a pass blocker and receiver.” As a 2021 rookie, Stevenson excelled as a rusher, posting 4.6 YPC and excellent broken tackle metrics. But he graded out as a below average pass protector and pass catcher from Pro Football Focus, dropping 1 of 18 targets and fumbling on another. Still, the fact that Stevenson effectively matched Damien Harris in routes per game (7.2) is encouraging. There’s also not a receiving RB currently on the roster, assuming James White, 30, gets to free agency. Look for the 1-2 punch of Harris-Stevenson to continue in 2022.

Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson has been activated from the COVID list. He should be back as the 1B to Damien Harris' 1A in Sunday's game vs. Jacksonville.

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