Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan was noncommittal after Sunday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers when asked about his quarterback plans for Week 15.
After reviewing the game film, Ryan told reporters Monday that Tyrod Taylor will remain the starter because he gives the team its best chance to win.
Taylor is coming off of his worst two-game stretch of the season. Sunday’s disappointing performance can be at least partially attributed to a steady snowfall at New Era Field.
It’s a bit surprising to see Taylor come under fire of late.
He tends to hold the ball too long, fails to work the middle of the field effectively, and runs hot and cold with his accuracy. On the other hand, he’s the most effective running quarterback in the league — keying the Bills’ top-ranked ground attack — and throws a pretty deep ball.
Moreover, Ryan has no viable alternative. EJ Manuel, the organization’s top draft pick in 2013, has the same weaknesses as Taylor — only to a greater degree. Although offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn recent raved about No. 3 quarterback Cardale Jones as the kind of prospect “you want waiting on the runway,” the fifth-round rookie simply isn’t ready to run an NFL offense after starting just 11 games in college.
The six-year, $90 million contract Taylor signed in August is essentially a one-year, $9.5 million commitment designed to determine if he can develop into a franchise quarterback.
With a $27.5 million team option for 2017 hanging in the balance, general manager Doug Whaley told Buffalo’s WGR-AM 550 last week that Taylor has “four more games to write this chapter.”
The Bills owe it to themselves to see the Taylor experiment through to the end of the season, adding three more games of data to their due diligence.
If the head coach is already considering alternatives in mid-December, though, perhaps it’s only a matter of time before Whaley is scouring the veteran quarterback market for his 2017 replacement.