After Sunday’s collapse against the Oakland Raiders Rex Ryan refused to commit to quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The signal caller they only committed to in the offseason with a six year $90,000,000 has been thrust under the microscope after three lacklustre performances in a row.
Taylor defied expectations in 2015 tossing 20 touchdowns and just six interceptions – enough to earn him his monster deal. After a slow start to 2016 the former Baltimore Raven started to find his groove and helped push Ryan’s squad to impressive wins against Arizona and New England.
However, since his huge game against Seattle – in Seattle I should add – Taylor has fallen off dramatically. His showing against Pete Carroll’s men was the best in his career and seemed to signal he was the guy for the long term in Buffalo. Unfortunately, the Bills’ wins against the Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars have come in spite of Taylor who has thrown just one touchdown to two interceptions in the three contests.
Unable to connect with his receivers on his trademark deep balls and making his offensive line work harder with his eagerness to break the pocket Taylor has made the offense a mishmash at times. Since earning the starting job in Buffalo Taylor has displayed consistency and seldom makes mistakes. An exciting playmaker with a cannon for an arm is now looking for checkdowns and picking up first downs on emergency scrambles.
What is clear is that defenses are adjusting to Taylor and his deep ball yet Taylor is unable to adjust back. Perhaps now in his own head thinking the deep ball has primitively been taken away Taylor missed a wide open Sammy Watkins against both the Raiders and the Jaguars – had he found his number one receiver they would have been good for 30-plus yards and a score.
Cardale Jones is the backup in Buffalo and the vibes sent off from Ryan suggest that Jones could be thrust into action if and when the Bills are eliminated from play-off contention.
From a statistical standpoint Taylor has dropped off. Just 11 passing touchdowns in 12 games this season, for a quarterback wanting to be the franchise – and to be paid $12,000,000 in 2017 – it is not enough. His yards per game are down and so are the number of explosive passing plays.
The question is – can Buffalo find better? Their projected draft spot would suggest they will not draft a quarterback and they have more urgent needs on their team. Ryan Fitzpatrick will surely be available but after his stinker of a season in New York I doubt he will unseat Taylor.
However, the biggest X-Factor is the money. Buffalo were admittedly put in a tricky position when Taylor exceeded expectations and put fans in seats to see his exciting playmaking ability. They simply had to pay him. He’s also a perfect foil for LeSean McCoy with defenses having to scheme for Taylor’s mobility and when he gets it right his deep ball is one of the best in the entire NFL.
There is no doubt that, on the whole, Taylor has not lived up to his $90,000,000 deal but there is also no doubt that quarterback needy teams would give up a considerable amount to land the sixth year passer, *cough* Browns, 49ers, Jets, should his future not be in Buffalo. With Ryan sending out warning shots that Taylor’s job is in some jeopardy, 2017 will be a make or break season.