Since the moment Tyrod Taylor, a five-star high school recruit, stepped on Virginia Tech’s campus as a freshman quarterback, things went downhill, pretty fast.
As a teenager, Taylor was a dual-threat quarterback, roadrunner fast, who relied on his speed to feed his passing game.
Taylor’s first season at Virginia Tech illustrates the temporary highs, but primarily lows, he had throughout his collegiate and pro career. Tech’s offensive line was so horrendous at the time that Taylor was their only viable option under center because of his speed. After replacing Sean Glennon down 24-0 to LSU, Taylor went on to start the next few games before going out with an ankle sprain against Duke, which cost him that job. Bad break number one.
In fact, many of the tough times throughout Taylor’s career were not of his own doing, merely unfortunate injuries and decisions made above his head.
The latest setback may be the end of the road for Taylor’s career, and it came due to seemingly gross incompetence at the hands of a Chargers team doctor.
After signing a two-year, $11 million deal with the Chargers last year, knowing he would be Philip Rivers’ backup, he was finally given a chance to start this season. Then tragedy struck again when Taylor suffered broken ribs in the Chargers’ 16-13 week one win over the Bengals. While that sucks, he was still scheduled to play against the Chiefs the following week until a team doctor punctured his lung while administering a pain killer shot to him. His potential comeback season was done.
Now, with news that Taylor has officially lost his starting quarterback job to rookie Justin Herbert through no fault of his own, his career may well be over. It pushes you to think how a guy who had so much talent could suffer this inglorious an ending.
He spent 10 seasons chasing a fair opportunity, and everywhere he landed the floor crumbled underneath his feet for absolutely no reason.
Now 31 years old, we never got a full season from Taylor.
The Ravens drafted him in the sixth round of the 2011 draft and he immediately won a Super Bowl backing up Joe Flacco. We saw very little of Taylor over his four seasons in Baltimore, though he did have a few moments.
That promise of potential earned him a three-year, $3.55M deal with the Buffalo Bills, and in training camp he earned the starting job, opening the door to the possibility of what type of pro quarterback Taylor could be.
A pretty darn good one, it turned out. He would throw 51 touchdowns to only 16 picks in a Bills uniform. In a game against the Tennessee Titans in 2015, Taylor became the fifth quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 100 yards, run for at least 70 yards, and catch a pass in a single game. That year, Taylor went to the Pro Bowl and everything was looking up.
Taylor’s time in Buffalo was filled with highlights, but injuries ravaged his playing ability, and there were numerous shifts in the management and coaching ranks. During Taylor’s final year in Buffalo, he led them to the postseason, which hadn’t happened in 18 years.
But that year was everything but a bed of roses. There were nagging injuries and Taylor was forced to play the quarterback shuffle with rookie Nathan Peterman midway through the season. “The Peterman,” as he would be dubbed, was awful, once throwing five interceptions in a game against the Chargers. Still, it became clear that the new coach Sean McDermott was going to do everything in his power to make sure Peterman became the starting quarterback, even if the dude’s play was worse than Taylor’s.
That situation in Buffalo until this day makes absolutely no sense. Josh Allen replaced Peterman real quick in 2018 and he disappeared from the NFL (dude probably shouldn’t have been in the league at all, but I digress).
It’s hard to believe a white quarterback playing as well as Taylor would get booted when a new head coach is hired, especially if he was playing better than the rookie drafted by that new coach. It’s sadly not at all unbelievable when it happens to a Black QB like Taylor. The opportunities are few for Black quarterbacks, and the patience from organizations is short.
After being traded to Cleveland, he began the season as the Browns starter, playing pretty decent football. He was 1-1-1 before getting injured, and that was a wrap in Cleveland. Another bad break.
Taylor wasn’t a perfect quarterback by any means, but he combined his stellar running game with a subtle batch of management skills at the quarterback position when he was out there, a run-pass style of play that has swept through the league. He’s had some of the most awful breaks in NFL history at the quarterback position. And if Herbert “Wally Pipps” Taylor in Los Angeles, through no fault of his own, he may be out of chances. And them’s the bad breaks.