With the Bills QB competition now down to Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor, folks have begun expressing their opinions on what each guys needs to do to win the job. The popular thing I’ve seen repeated over and over is that Tyrod needs to learn to establish himself in the pocket and not just rely on his legs. Frankly, I just don’t agree. I understand what people are getting at, but for the Bills and this particular circumstance, I’m calling BS.
A few things factor into this. First off, if Tyrod is to win the starting job over Matt Cassel, there is absolutely no promise that he’ll be starting all season long, let alone in week 2. This thing is (unfortunately) going to get dragged out over the course of the entire season. If the team is winning, chances are the QB will remain the same, but if last season taught us anything, it’s that the minute anything goes wrong, people will call for a change. If there is no certainty that Tyrod is the guy all year long, why waste time trying to change who he is? Regardless of if he starts 5, 10 or all 16 games this year, he is not going to be the Bills QB of the future. Why not just allow him to do what he does best and try to win as much as you can now? Most Bills fans have been saying they just need a QB to compliment that defense and run game, by not turning the ball over and doing just enough not to lose. How much safer can you get than with a QB that pulls the ball down and runs? This isn’t EJ two years ago who needed to learn to play a complete game because he was viewed as being “the guy” for the long haul. This is a plug and play option, for a team that is ready to try to win now.
Secondly, I had a chance to watch Tyrod playing in the Bills first preseason game this past Friday and the dude is quick, elusive and has one smooth play-action. By allowing him to use his feet and scramble outside of the pocket consistently, you are making defenses think twice about doubling up on Sammy Watkins. This also leaves all of the other receiving threats (Woods, Harvin, McCoy & Clay – just to name a few) with less to deal with. The Bills have so much talent on offense and if defenses don’t know where the ball is going, they can’t prepare as easily. A big problem the Bills have had in the past few seasons is that other teams have shut down the run by crowding the line. They knew the Bills wanted to run the ball so they forced them to try to win games by throwing it. If Tyrod is given the green light to be himself and try to burn rubber, then NFL defenses will have a much harder time preparing for all that the Bills can throw at them.
Lastly, if injury is your main concern, that’s why Veteran Matt Cassel is there. The QB competition is so close right now between Cassel and Tyrod, that whomever is picked, it won’t be by much. Changing Tyrod’s style of play simply because of concern over injury seems stupid to me when plan B is pretty much on par. In the NFL you can’t live in fear, you have to go out there and try to win now. Especially when the Bills have a team that is constructed to compete right away. If Tyrod gets hurt running around then you can plug in a guy that is the definition of a true-pocket QB and go from there. And if you’re really concerned for Tyrod’s well being, just teach him how to slide/get out of bounds.
Overall I think this Bills team has all the makings to do something special and at the very least grab the Wild Card and play in a playoff game for the first time since ’99. If the Bills feel that Tyrod Taylor gives them the best chance to succeed here and now, I don’t see why you try to force him to stay in the pocket. Back when Michael Vick was running for 1,000 yards, the Falcons were a fun team to watch, but they were also competitive. Of all the years Vick rushed for over 500 yards, his team only finished with a record of under .500 twice. They made the playoffs three different times over that span as well. Those numbers probably would have been greater if it hadn’t been for injury. Similarly, the only year Donavon McNabb rushed for over 500 yards, the Eagles went 11-5 and made the playoffs. My point is that if the Bills really want a guy for this year, who can compliment a scary good team, their best bet is to just let Tyrod be Tyrod. Run around, make plays with your legs, throw the ball when you have to and just don’t lose games. Really not the most complex concept in the world.
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