New England Patriots fourth-round pick Rhamondre Stevenson opened training camp on the non-football injury list. We still don’t know why, but he’s since returned from that designation, which is really all that matters.
Stevenson was the second Oklahoma Sooner the Pats selected in the draft that missed a portion of the 2020 season.
Both Stevenson and teammate Ronnie Perkins played in just six games at OU last year after being suspended for failing routine drug tests.
Not a great look … but if anyone’s going to turn players around from skeptical character issues, it’s Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
And honestly, we thought Stevenson’s start to camp was somewhat promising!
That is, until running backs coach Ivan Fears dropped a truth bomb on everyone this week about the rookie.
Patriots RBs coach Ivan Fears doesn’t sound pleased with Rhamondre Stevenson.
So … maybe he’s not doing well? Perhaps there’s some behind-the-scenes stuff we’re not aware of?
Because his play on the field has prompted a few beat writers to applaud his efforts. He laid a ferocious truck stick on cornerback Myles Bryant a few days ago. Last week, he supposedly impressed with his pass-catching abilities and explosiveness after the catch.
Then again, we’re certainly not going to doubt Fears, who’s been the team’s RBs coach since 2002 and has oversaw some of the league’s most potent rushing attacks led by mostly pedestrian names, with the exception of Corey Dillon.
Other than the former Pro Bowler, the Patriots have been carried by guys like Sony Michel, LeGarrette Blount, Stevan Ridley, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Jonas Gray, Dion Lewis, Sammy Morris and Laurence Maroney, who successfully handled RB1 duties on some of the best offenses in the NFL.
So, while we’ll take Fears’ word for it, we’d still like to know why Stevenson seemingly has this steep of an uphill battle. We know his limited experience and production in college is a bit of a red flag (just 1,180 yards and 13 touchdowns in 19 games), but his size (6-foot, 230 pounds) and speed combination are prototypical for what the Patriots look for in a running back.
Does this assessment now affect the team’s running back rotation for 2021? With just a little over a month until Week 1, Stevenson’s progress will be worth heavily monitoring.