How Lack Of Patriots Practice Squad Move Could Impact Rhamondre Stevenson

The Patriots didn't elevate any players for Sunday's game


September 17

The Patriots didn’t elevate any players from their practice squad for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Last week, New England elevated wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey and linebacker Harvey Langi for their season opener against the Miami Dolphins. But no such moves were made for the Patriots’ Week 2 game at Acrisure Stadium.

The lack of a move is somewhat surprising, given Ty Montgomery’s knee injury. Montgomery, the Patriots’ top receiving running back, landed on short-term injured reserve this week and will miss at least the next four games. Humphrey was signed to the 53-man roster to fill the veteran’s spot.

The loss of Montgomery led some to wonder whether running back J.J. Taylor could be elevated from the practice squad for Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh. Taylor hasn’t established a role over his two-plus seasons in New England but saw extensive work in the passing game during training camp. He seemed like a logical replacement for Montgomery.

Instead, Taylor will stay on the practice squad for at least another week.

The Patriots now are set to roster three running backs on Sunday: Damien Harris, Pierre Strong and Rhamondre Stevenson. Strong, a rookie, is questionable with a shoulder injury and likely won’t have much of a role if he does play. The fourth-round pick didn’t see much work over the summer and wasn’t impressive with the reps he was given, though he projects as a passing-down back going forward. Strong was a healthy scratch in Week 1, so Sunday’s game would represent the rookie’s NFL debut if he’s active.

Regardless, Stevenson seemingly stands to gain the most from New England’s current roster configuration.

The second-year back made it a point to improve his receiving abilities over the offseason and the results generated rave reviews from his teammates. Stevenson is committed to being a versatile back in the Patriots offense and has the skill set to be a dangerous weapon out of the backfield.

In his rookie campaign, Stevenson caught only 14 passes for 123 yards — 41 of which came on one play. He caught two passes for two yards last week against the Dolphins.

The Patriots and Steelers will kick off at 1 p.m. ET.

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