Rhamondre Stevenson says he’s ‘a lot more comfortable’ in Patriots passing game

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Rhamondre Stevenson has a unique opportunity to get a foothold in the New England Patriots’ passing attack. And he’s prepared.

Back in April, Stevenson seemed like he would be dealing with an extremely crowded running back room. Running back James White, a go-to option on third down, was set to return on a new contract. Rookies Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris were joining the group. And that indicated Stevenson might not get as many touches, especially in a group that already includes No. 1 Damien Harris and jitterbug ball-carrier J.J. Taylor.

So far in training camp, Stevenson has gotten plenty of work. White started training camp on the physically unable to perform list. Strong, a candidate to compete for the third-down role, has been unable to practice with an undisclosed injury. So Stevenson and Harris are getting more third-down reps than anyone could have expected.

Stevenson looks like a natural.

Does he feel more comfortable in the Patriots offense on third down?

“Definitely, I feel a lot more comfortable running routes and catching the football,” Stevenson said after day two of training camp on Thursday. “I did a lot of that (this offseason): running routes, getting better with my hands, pass protection.”

He downplayed the idea that he might be able to insert himself into the discussion to get a bigger share of snaps on third down — and get a leg up on White and Strong.

“It’s day two. I just need to stick to the plan … and try to do the best I can,” he said.

Stevenson, who said he’s lost seven pounds and is about 225 pounds, finished the 2021 season with 133 carries for 606 yards and five touchdowns. He added 14 catches for 123 yards. Stevenson thrived as an option in the screen game, but wasn’t hugely involved in the passing game beyond that. So if he wants to show his skills have evolved since his rookie season, he’s got a prime opportunity while the more pure pass-catching backs are on ice.

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