Sunday’s Patriots inactives list featured a surprise: Rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson would not play against the New York Jets.
Stevenson enjoyed his best game as a pro the previous week against the Dallas Cowboys. However, New England elected to sit him in Week 7 in favor of second-year back J.J. Taylor, who wound up scoring the first two touchdowns of his NFL career.
So, what led to Stevenson not taking the field against the Jets?
“Everything goes into it. Everything they do all week long goes into it,” Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears said Tuesday. “Usually, Bill (Belichick) makes a decision based, at the end of the week, on how the guys handled the week. We got two good guys there in J.J. and Rhamondre, and they’re both battling it out — they’re busting their butt, they’re doing a great job. We love both of them, but you can’t play them all.
“Unfortunately, we’ve gotta make a call. Generally speaking, what they do during the week dictates who gets that call. So, both guys are usually ready to go, and Coach makes a decision at the end of the week. … Next week, we’ll see what happens.
Obviously, that’s not a ton to go on, but it certainly sounds as if Stevenson’s performance during the week — either on the field, off it or both — factored into Belichick’s decision.
We’ll see which young back gets the nod Sunday afternoon when the Patriots visit the Los Angeles Chargers.