When Stevenson was a rookie in 2021, he fumbled in his second career touch in his first-ever NFL game. Stevenson didn't see the field for the remainder of that Week 1 matchup against the Miami Dolphins and was scratched from the lineup for the next three games before seeing the field again.
Stevenson is hoping Douglas won't suffer from a similar fate after he didn't play an offensive snap following his first-quarter fumble in Sunday's loss to the Dolphins. Bill Belichick claimed he didn't bench the rookie because of the fumble, but it sure seemed like he did.
“I talked to him a day after the game. I said, ‘The same thing happened to me and missed a lot of games. Hopefully, you don’t miss as many games as me,'” Stevenson told reporters on Wednesday. “Hopefully, he gets back on the field. Young guy, first couple of games, just trying to get into the swing of things just like I was, just like every rookie is when they first come to the league. We’re super confident in that guy and he’s going to be better.”
"Same thing happened to me. I missed a lot of games off of it. Hopefully you don't miss as many games as me."
Rhamondre Stevenson on his advice to Demario 'Pop" Douglas 😂 pic.twitter.com/fK3j1O3dzW
— NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Coverage (@NBCSPatriots) September 20, 2023
Douglas was off to a good start to his NFL career prior to the fumble, in which he lost the ball when Dolphins edge Bradley Chubb punched the ball out of his grasp after he made a move to run downfield after the catch. The sixth-round rookie had six receptions for 59 yards through his first five quarters of football, recording four catches for 40 yards in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Following an impressive training camp, Douglas has seemingly become an important player in the Patriots' offense, potentially being their most toolsy receiver.
Stevenson had a strong showing after he returned to the lineup in Week 5. He rushed for 604 yards on 4.6 yards per carry, adding five touchdowns as he only fumbled once in the rest of the season.
Stevenson said he took extra precaution to make sure he wouldn't fumble the ball again, holding the ball tighter. He relayed a similar message to Douglas.
“I talked to him about that as well,” Stevenson said. “I told him, ‘When you come back and get another opportunity, ball security has to be on your mind. That’s the No. 1 thing. But you can’t just 100 percent think about ball security if you want to produce like you want to produce.’ So, keep it on his mind and practice ball security throughout the week is better than focusing on it on Sundays.”