This was an incredibly long season for the New England Patriots, who dealt with more losses than they've seen in decades. The former AFC East bullies limped to a 4-13 finish which trumped their frustrating 8-9 campaign in 2022.
This was also their worst record since going 5-11 way back in 2000 which was the first season under Bill Belichick. After nearly a quarter-century of success, it feels as though things are beyond salvageable with the roster constructed as is.
There will be some serious discussions this offseason in regards to the direction the team must take but before then, let's identify six Patriots who deserve blame for the dumpster fire we saw in 2023.
6. Rhamondre Stevenson, RB
It's tough to be too harsh on Rhamondre Stevenson since the holes weren't there in the running game the same as they were early in his career. The defense could also zero in on the ground game thanks to the struggles they had throwing the ball. Even with that being the case, it was hard not to notice how ineffective the rushing attack was.
Stevenson came into the season fresh off his first 1,000-yard campaign and averaged 5.0 yards per carry. That was an improvement on the 4.6 he had as a rookie. This year, however, he managed just 619 yards with a career-low four touchdowns. He also had just 4.0 yards per attempt.
New England did rely on Ezekiel Elliott more in the passing game which limited Stevenson to just 38 receptions after having 69 in 2022. But Stevenson still never topped the 100-yard mark all year long and was held under 40 yards in six of his 12 games.