Following a ‘15 season that saw the Buffalo Bills’ have some sort of stability at the quarterback position for the first time in a long time begs the question; do the Bills currently have a franchise quarterback on their roster? The Bills have yet to have any real extension talks with Tyrod Taylor following his pro bowl season. This and the trade rumors swirling about a possible move to Denver for Taylor has lead many to believe as well that internally the Bill’s may be asking themselves as well what do they really have at the position if anything.
In his first full season as a starter and in Buffalo Taylor managed to get the Bills to an 8-6 record in the games he played in. The key word being managed. Finishing the season with a 99.4-passer rating good enough for seventh in the league, the rest of his numbers though aren’t quite as prolific or eye popping. Passing for just over 3,000 yards (3,035) he was able to provide just enough of a spark to keep Buffalo in most games while holding on to the ball with a 2:1 turnover ratio. By all aspects of the word in 2015 Tyrod Taylor was just a very good and affordable game manager. If the definition of a “game manager” is someone who although have relatively low and unimpressive statistics manages to win games thanks to a strong defense and run game then Taylor fits this definition to a tee.
It would appear that there were games that the Bills offense would entirely disappear; they became much too dependent and reliant on the run game. On a team with a back such as Lesean McCoy who has faced multiple injuries the past few seasons and is starting to get near the twilight of his career the Bill’s need to open up the field and the pressure off the run game. As long as the Bill’s continue to employ game managers on their roster this will remain a constant obstacle they will face.
With that being said Taylor only has one real season of competitive playing time under his belt. Has Buffalo and the rest of the NFL seen only a preview of what Taylor can do or has he already tapped into his potential, is what we see what we get? “I definitely feel more in charge, more of a command, being able to speak up. And guys listen because they know the preparation that I put in, the preparation we put in as a unit, and they see the visiom of what we want to be,” Taylor said, via the Buffalo News.
At only 26 years old and a limited games under his belt it appears as if Taylor has a lot of football left in him and a whole lot let to prove. This team though will only go as far as Taylor, or whoever the quarterback is will take them. In year two if he can grow, and show development and remove the stigma of a game manager that surrounds him then this team, and this offense can be dangerous. Perhaps the biggest obstacle in the way however is the coaching. If the Bills allow for Taylor to take over games, allow Taylor to throw the deep ball more often while making plays with his feet then this offense and Taylor included would be able to grow and become quite a complete offense that is not just “managing” to stay in games.
Behind Taylor on the dept chart the options are less then spectacular. There is the former face of the franchise turned disaster EJ Manuel, career journeyman Josh Johnson, and Cardale Jones the rookie who won a national championship in only his third career start in college. The most intriguing of the bunch is by far Jones who has already grabbed the attention of head coach Rex Ryan who stated before the draft, “if we have a chance to get you, we’re gonna get you.” This is no 1A and 1B ordering on the depth chart though as Jones will need years to develop and perhaps at best there is the chance he may only become another game manager.
Even after an improved 15’ season the Bills are still on the search for their franchise quarterback. Perhaps he is already on the roster in the form of Tyrod Taylor or even Cardale Jones. Regardless the 16’ season will be a large determinant of whether Taylor can run the franchise if not the Bills may be forced to look elsewhere.
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