The Patriots have historically used multiple running backs under Bill Belichick, but now they've got no choice. Starter Damien Harris, who left Sunday's win over the Lions after just four carries, is expected to miss multiple games with a hamstring injury, according to NFL Media. After approaching 1,000 rushing yards in 2021, Harris was off to a relatively productive start in 2022, scoring in three straight games. Now, Rhamondre Stevenson is set to take over as New England's lead ball-carrier.
Harris, to be clear, is still undergoing tests for the injury he suffered against Detroit, per Tom Pelissero, but all signs point to the former third-round pick missing several weeks. Stevenson, meanwhile, a 2021 fourth-rounder, was already trending upward in the Patriots' backfield, emerging to basically split time with Harris in recent games. Belichick has been especially complimentary of the latter, telling reporters after Sunday's game that Stevenson is built to carry the load on the ground.
"He is a good all-around back," the coach said, per The Athletic. "Love him. Love him. ... You have to give him a ton of credit. With Damien out ... he put it all on his shoulders and finished with a couple of first downs there at the end of the game in the four-minute offense. He is always good. He does a great job with the ball in his hands. He is a strong runner, but he can make people miss. He is a really good football player. ... So glad we have him."
Pick Six Newsletter
Crafted By The Best NFL Experts
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Fresh off a career-high 25 carries for 161 yards, Stevenson doesn't figure to have much competition for carries with Harris sidelined. Backup Ty Montgomery is on injured reserve, and rookie reserve Pierre Strong Jr. was inactive Sunday.
Harris, on the other hand, could face an uphill battle to reclaiming No. 1 RB duties once he returns. Though he's been productive when active, the former Alabama standout has struggled to stay healthy. After missing three games with a hamstring injury in 2019, Harris missed another six games in 2020 due to finger and ankle issues. While he played 15 games in 2021, he battled separate rib, neck, head and hamstring injuries throughout the year.