- NFL analyst Cian Fahey referred to Tyrod Taylor as “probably the most underrated quarterback in the league right now.”
- Taylor was nearly cut by the Bills over the offseason but ultimately agreed to a restructured deal for the next two years.
- The Bills are off to a 4-2 start, and with few weapons on offence, Taylor deserves much of the credit.
As a sixth round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Tyrod Taylor has spent his entire career proving people wrong. The quarterback is doing it again this season, piecing together a career-best campaign just months after the Buffalo Bills were reportedly planning to cut him from the roster.
Through six games, Taylor has thrown for 1,178 yards and a 91.8 passer rating, leading Buffalo to a solid 4-2 record. Those numbers might not be the best in the league, but without any of his top three wide receivers from last year’s team, the Virginia Tech product has been hindered by a shoddy supporting cast.
Many observers believe that Taylor would excel in a system with better weapons and a more competent offensive line. Cian Fahey of ESPN agrees with that assessment. The writer, known for his in-depth analysis of NFL quarterbacks, recently appeared on an episode of “The Dan Le Batard Show” and gave a compelling defence of Taylor’s game, comparing him with one of this season’s breakout stars: Alex Smith.
“Tyrod and Alex Smith are basically the same player, except Alex Smith is slightly better at throwing over the middle of the field and Tyrod’s more willing to attack tight windows downfield,” Fahey said. “But as players, they’re very similar … I think Taylor is probably the most underrated quarterback in the league right now because he’s got receivers who can’t catch the ball and he’s got an offensive line that’s good at run blocking but not very good at pass blocking.”
It was high praise from Fahey — Smith is sporting a 72.4 completion rate, has yet to throw an interception this season, and until two weeks ago, was considered a favourite to win MVP.
Taylor’s Bills aren’t doing quite as well as the Chiefs, but after the offseason they had, merely being above .500 may feel like a Super Bowl win in itself. Things looked bad enough when receivers Marquise Goodwin and Robert Woods left via free agency, but expectations hit a low point when Sammy Watkins followed behind them in an August trade.
“The Buffalo situation is completely different to the Kansas City situation,” said Fahey. “You’ve got nothing in Buffalo and you’ve got everything in Kansas City, basically.”
All of that occurred in the wake of drama between Taylor and the front office. In March, Jason La Canfora of CBS reported that the Bills had plans to cut their signal caller. A reluctant coaching staff managed to stall the process until Taylor agreed to a restructured deal — two years, $US30.5 million — which basically amounted to a $US10 million pay cut over the next two seasons.
Some were surprised that Taylor was willing to give up so much, but the allure of comfort and familiarity simply can’t be overestimated. In addition, he wanted the Bills to have more flexibility in terms of roster construction, telling WGR-550 that “we can only spend so much in a year” back in March.
Now Taylor is making the most of his opportunity to return, leaky offensive line and all. If the season ended today, the Bills would be in the playoffs — not bad for a franchise that made its last postseason appearance in 1999.
Taylor will play his next game on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. He will go head-to-head with Smith and the Chiefs on November 26.
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