New England Patriots running back J.J. Taylor knows the job description depends on the down.
And in Sunday’s preseason finale against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium, that was illustrated with just over three minutes to go before halftime on second-and-20 with goal posts behind him.
From there, Taylor chipped defensive lineman Leonard Williams onto his back at a listed 5-foot-6, 185 pounds. He then swung out to catch a pass from rookie quarterback Mac Jones that picked up eight yards.
“You know, either to hit or get hit,” Taylor told reporters of the play following New England’s 22-20 win. “That’s the only mentality I have, either give a blow or take a blow. You choose which side you want to be on.”
J.J. Taylor (5-6, 185) just laid out Leonard Williams (6-5, 291) pic.twitter.com/OaR0ekuSZC— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) August 29, 2021
Taylor finished the evening having accounted for 140 all-purpose yards.
The University of Arizona product handled nine rushes for 76 yards, two receptions for 13 yards, three punt returns for 28 yards and one kickoff return for 23 yards. He was on the field through the final frame.
“You got to go out and do your job and make something happen,” Taylor said, “because it’s 11 guys out there. You got to show what you can do.”
Damien Harris, James White, Brandon Bolden and rookie Rhamondre Stevenson also reside on the depth chart with Sony Michel traded to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for 2022 and 2023 draft picks. More movement lies ahead with active rosters around the NFL set to reduce from 80 to 53 by 4 p.m. ET Tuesday.
It is a deadline that Taylor outlasted as an undrafted rookie last August despite being waived on Labor Day Weekend and spending one day on the practice squad.
“It’s still a stressful time,” he said. “Just got to make the days count, stay strong in my faith and leave it up to God at that point. It’s not my decision. I can only control what I can control.”
A former first-team All-Pac-12 selection, Taylor appeared in six games for the Patriots during the 2020 regular season.
“I’m just taking every opportunity that’s given to me,” added Taylor. “They’re asking me to do something, and I’m going out there and just trying to prove a point and show that I can play. That’s it.”