FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots won’t have their top running back for Sunday’s matchup with the Cleveland Browns, but his understudy is available.
Rookie Rhamondre Stevenson officially is active for the Patriots’ Week 10 matchup at Gillette Stadium after missing all three practices this week with a concussion. Stevenson’s presence will add some much-needed depth to New England’s backfield, which would have been down to just Brandon Bolden and J.J. Taylor had he been unable to suit up.
Stevenson has sat out four of nine games this season as a healthy scratch, but he’s been highly effective of late as the Patriots’ No. 2 early-down back behind Damien Harris. In last week’s win over the Carolina Panthers, the fourth-round draft pick had 10 carries for 62 yards and two catches for 44 yards before exiting with a head injury.
Harris and wide receiver/return man Gunner Olszewski both suffered concussions against Carolina, as well, and were ruled out for this Browns game.
Here is the Patriots’ full inactive list for Week 10:
RB Damien Harris
WR Gunner Olszewski
QB Jarrett Stidham
CB Shaun Wade
OLB Ronnie Perkins
OL Yasir Durant
— You’ll see a much different Patriots tight end group Sunday. Smith is out with a shoulder injury, and Devin Asiasi and Matt LaCosse both are up for the first time this season. LaCosse was elevated from the practice squad Saturday. He and Asiasi will fill out the depth chart behind Hunter Henry, who has caught a touchdown in five of his last six games.
This will be LaCosse’s first game since the 2019 playoffs, as he opted out of last season due to COVID-19 concerns.
— Offensive tackle Trent Brown is active for the first time since Week 1. He suffered a calf injury on the opening drive of the season and hasn’t played since. The Patriots activated him off injured reserve Saturday.
Now, how will they use him? Will he slot back in at right tackle over Mike Onwenu? Move to left tackle and bump Isaiah Wynn out of that spot? Serve as swing tackle for the time being while he works his way back to game speed?
The Patriots’ current O-line configuration has yielded positive results in recent weeks, so it’ll be interesting to see how Brown fits back in.
— Wide receiver N’Keal Harry is active after missing last week’s game with a knee injury.
— Stidham sits after being activated off the physically unable to perform list this week. Brian Hoyer remains the second-string quarterback behind rookie starter Mac Jones.
— Taylor is back in the lineup after two consecutive healthy scratches. In addition to his running back duties, he could handle punt returns with Olszewski sidelined.
— Wade and Perkins have yet to make their NFL debuts. They’ve been inactive for every game this season.
— The Patriots placed linebacker Jamie Collins (ankle) on IR on Saturday, making him unavailable for the next three games.
— Here is the Browns’ list of inactives:
Cleveland also will be down its top two running backs, as Nick Chubb is on the reserve/COVID-list and Kareem Hunt is on IR.