Patriots expected to be without another offensive starter for ‘multiple games’
October 11th, 2022
Oct 2, 2022; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; New England Patriots running back Damien Harris (37) rushes for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
The Patriots are expected to be without running back Damien Harris for the foreseeable future after he suffered a hamstring injury during Sunday’s win over the Detroit Lions. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Harris “is likely to miss multiple games” due to the injury.
Pelissero added that Harris is “still getting tests,” which could give a more definitive answer as to his return to play window. As of now, there’s no indication whether or not the team will need to place him on IR – which would mean he’d miss a minimum of four games. Still, “the expectation is he’ll be out for a bit,” per Pelissero
Harris suffered in the injury late in the first quarter in Sunday’s game, after running the ball four times for 11 yards. In total, Harris is averaging 4.5 yards per carry this season on 57 carries, finding the end zone a team-high three times.
With Harris out, Rhamondre Stevenson got the nod on Sunday. He took over the full responsibilities of the rushing game, piling up a career-high 161 yards on 25 carries.
Patriots running back #38 Rhamondre Stevenson runs for a big gain after getting a block from #71 Mike Onwenu in the 4th. (Bob Breidenbach/USA TODAY NETWORK)
While putting the running game on Stevenson’s shoulders worked for one game, it’s not a sustainable plan in the long-term at such a physical position. With Harris hurt, Stevenson and rookie Pierre Strong – who was inactive on Sunday – are the only two healthy backs currently on the Patriots’ active roster. So far this season Strong has played just three total offensive snaps, following a trend of the Patriots being cautious about putting rookie running backs on the field.
In addition to those on the active roster, the Patriots also have J.J. Taylor, rookie Kevin Harris, and hybrid running back/wide receiver Lynn Bowden on the practice squad. All three could be candidates for an elevation as long as Harris is out.
Will the Patriots stay within the building to add depth? Or will they look elsewhere? Here’s a run-through of their most realistic options…