Patriots not looking to change Rhamondre Stevenson, but he needs to be better in crunch time

The  New England Patriots still have full trust in running back Rhamondre Stevenson, following his fumble against the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday.

Special teams coach Vinnie Sunseri had a few pointers for the running back, but he is not going to recommend any drastic changes. Stevenson has been a key piece of the Patriots’ rushing attack since he entered the league in 2021. This season, he has taken on the role of starting back for the Patriots, and has done so at a high level. He currently has 196 carries for 944 yards and five touchdowns.

Stevenson has also managed to rush for over 160 yards more than once this season. The first game came against the Detroit Lions on October 9, when he ran for 161 yards. He did it again against Las Vegas on December 18, as he recorded 19 carries for 172 yards and a touchdown.

The former fourth-round pick has quickly established himself as an emerging back in the NFL. With that in mind, his fumble was a costly one. New England had a chance to take the lead in the red zone from the five-yard line, but the fumble stopped any hopes of a comeback bid.

“I’m never going to question a player fighting for yards,” said Sunseri, via NESN’s Zack Cox. “The one thing that we just have to note is the situation in the game. You have to have two hands on the ball, and he had two hands on the football, and like every great back, he’s going to fight for extra yards. He just has to know the situation within the game. He has to know how much time’s left. He has to know where we’re at on the football field, and he just has to try to have the best ball security possible.

“But I’m not going to question Rhamondre. He’s been playing really hard. It’s the first ball he’s lost all season. We’re definitely going to take note of that, but just going forward, I don’t want to change who he is as a football player, because you’re going to take away some of the best ability that he has. Some of his best runs are after contact, and that’s what he’s shown. We’re just going to move past it. We’re going to put an emphasis point on ball security this week. He has to understand two hands on the football at all times and keeping the person that he is. I trust him.”

Stevenson and the Patriots’ ground game will look to spark an offense that has struggled, especially in the first half. Their next challenge will be the big New Year’s Day tilt with the visiting Miami Dolphins.

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Story originally appeared on Patriots Wire