NFL columnist Peter King says that Los Angeles Chargers are “bullish” on going ahead with Tyrod Taylor as the starting quarterback.
Tyrod Taylor deserves more credit than he typically receives when mentioned in conversations of NFL quarterbacks. That said, the Los Angeles Chargers are going to need a better way forward if they want to catapult back to contender status after a disastrous 2019 season that left them among the league’s basement dwellers.
Taylor was the backup quarterback for Philip Rivers last season, the team’s long-term starter who signed with the Indianapolis Colts this offseason. The expectation for most of this offseason has been that the Chargers would use their early draft standing to grab their next franchise quarterback, but now reports are emerging that might not be the case. Specifically Peter King notes that the Chargers are “bullish” on Taylor as a starting option.
It’s one thing for a head coach to appreciate his veteran and want to verbally support him when it doesn’t count (e.g. middle of the offseason in the midst of a pandemic). Still, this sort of rumor sounds silly just before the draft, a sort of attempted smokescreen that falls apart immediately. Would the Chargers really go forward with Taylor as their starter—even beyond one year? King writes:
A quarterback or long-term tackle makes the most sense; a GM friend of Telesco’s thinks he’s very high on Justin Herbert. But head coach Anthony Lynn is legitimately bullish on Tyrod Taylor, and maybe for more than one year.
Certainly Taylor’s numbers are better than most casual fans will likely recall. Remember, Taylor’s most reliable pass catcher his final season in Buffalo was tight end Charles Clay. The year before that, Robert Woods led the team in receiving. Unfortunately for Taylor, current Chiefs receiver Sammy Watkins couldn’t stay healthy and Taylor himself had a hard time standing up straight after leading the league in sacks behind a porous offensive line.
One would think that if pass rushers could get after Taylor at league-leading rates, then the amount of interceptions thrown would be proportionally high, but amazingly Taylor was also one of the league’s best at avoiding mistakes. He threw only four interceptions in each of his final two seasons starting in Buffalo and even managed a winning record during his three years with the Bills at 22-20.
All this to say, Taylor is arguably the best backup quarterback on any NFL roster these days and the Chargers did well to land him. However, the Ravens had Taylor for years and rolled ahead with Joe Flacco while the Bills eventually decided to invest in Josh Allen. Taylor is the ideal bridge for whoever is next in L.A., but it’s hard to believe Taylor will be that franchise face.
If the team wants to remain bullish on the most important position on the field, the coaching staff might enjoy a brief season in which they no longer have the veteran gunslinger willing to risk the turnover so willingly, a la Rivers. However, it’s also just as likely they come to the same end conclusion as Taylor’s previous employers—only this time they will have lost the opportunity to grab a prospect so early.