Rhamondre Stevenson reacts to Bill Belichick comparing him to James White

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Stevenson reacts to Belichick comparing him to former Pats great originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Rhamondre Stevenson has been the New England Patriots' offensive MVP through the first 12 weeks of the 2022 NFL season. The second-year running back is the team's leading rusher while also ranking first in receptions.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick loves what he's seen out of Stevenson this year. So much so, that NBC broadcaster Jason Garrett claimed Belichick compared Stevenson's quick development to that of NFL legends Tom Brady and Lawrence Taylor -- two of the greatest players Belichick has coached.

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Belichick downplayed Garrett's report on Sunday, stating he "doesn't really remember it quite that way.” Still, he took the time to heap praise on Stevenson wile giving him a more accurate player comparison.

“He’s done a good job, continues to do a good job,” Belichick said of Stevenson on Sunday. “Pass protection, he’s had a couple of really good plays in pass protection — James White-level plays. Seeing things, making adjustments, that kind of thing. He’s been a big help for us in that area of the game, whether it’s been blitz pickup, flare control, catching the ball, all of the above.”

Knowing Belichick's feelings about White, plus the three-time Super Bowl champion's contributions both on and off the field during his career, that's a huge compliment.

Stevenson shared his reaction to the comparison during his press conference.

"It means a lot," he said. "Just from where I started from last year, just remembering how little I knew and how unproductive I was in the pass-pro game. So just making those steps and just learning and just seeing it translate to the field. It feels good."

The 2021 fourth-round draft pick has come a long way since his NFL debut. He fumbled the ball on his first career reception but hasn't lost a fumble since.

Is it "crazy" for Stevenson to see how much he's progressed since the 2021 opener?

"It's not really that crazy. I put in a lot of work," Stevenson answered. "Then just the people around me, they stay on me constantly. So it's not really that crazy. It's just, I would say I'm very grateful the way it is turning out and just my hard work and everyone around here just being on me, and that showing on the field is great."

Stevenson has 151 carries for 680 yards and four touchdowns through 11 games this season. The 24-year-old also has 50 catches for 359 yards and a TD.

He'll look to keep it up Thursday night as the Patriots look to earn a bounce-back win vs. the Buffalo Bills.