FOXBOROUGH Rhamondre Stevenson made a somewhat startling admission a few weeks ago, at least for a player who plays in New England. The West Coast-bred Patriots running back admitted that he detests playing in the chilly weather.
On Sunday, Stevenson not only retracted that claim but also expressed some interest in it.
I know I’ve said it before, but I hate the cold, but there’s a part of me that loves it too because a lot of defensive guys don’t want to tackle in the cold, Stevenson said. Around this time of year, especially while running the ball, it gets a little more stressful.
The remainder of the Patriots’ home schedule (including a game versus the Bills in Buffalo) will probably be played in the cold now that Thanksgiving has passed. The game versus the Bills on Thursday is forecast to be chilly. According to AccuWeather, the temperature will be below 30 degrees Fahrenheit with some wind.
Similar weather conditions were present during one of the Patriots’ previous games. It was about a few degrees warmer but much windier in Week 11 when the New York Jets were the opponent. Stevenson had trouble running that game against a superior Jets front, gaining only 26 yards on 15 carries. He caught six catches for 56 yards, making plays as a receiver that night.
Stevenson performed admirably in the four outdoor games he played in the Northeast after Thanksgiving the previous year. In those four games, he carried for a total of 258 yards at 4.3 yards per carry, including 24 carries for 78 yards against the Buffalo Bills when the Patriots only completed three passes.
Nevertheless, Stevenson has emerged as the Patriots’ all-purpose running back, regardless of the conditions. He has been a force in the passing game, catching 50 catches for 359 yards in addition to doing a good job pass-blocking, and has 680 rushing yards this season at 4.5 yards per carry.
Bill Belichick, the head coach of the Patriots, commended Stevenson earlier on Sunday by praising his all-around performance. Later on in the day, linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, one of his teammates, was asked to provide a scouting report on the budding running back.
“It means a lot. Just from where I started from last year, just remembering how little I knew and how unproductive I really was… it feels good.”
Rhamondre Stevenson reacts to Bill Belichick comparing him to James White as a pass protector pic.twitter.com/Gzw3EWcUGq
— NBC Sports Boston’s Patriots Coverage (@NBCSPatriots) November 27, 2022
highly versatile running back. A running back for three downs, Bentley said. having good contact balance and the ability to run the ball. being able to sustain damage while continuing. He must do everything is required of him by the offense. He essentially does it all, whether it be wide receiver play.
I’m Happy He’s on My Side. That’s a Decent Summary of Him, in My Opinion.
Thursday’s game against the Bills will probably require the Patriots to put more pressure on Stevenson. After suffering a thigh injury in Thursday’s loss to the Vikings, Damien Haris missed practice on Sunday, raising questions about whether or not he will play against the Bills.