One of the long-lasting eﬀects of a Rex Ryan run team is the lack of development. All too often, Ryan has built success around a strong defense and a solid run game. His time spent with the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills directly reﬂect that. Both of those teams failed to produce a franchise quarterback or even develop a placeholder to bridge to the next signal caller. Quarterbacks rarely develop under Ryan and Tyrod Taylor was one of them.
Whether or not he has the talent to be their man, Taylor at least has enough talent to be a serviceable quarterback until they ﬁnd an alternative. It is not even if he is a total failure either. There have been times where he has made the big plays. The veteran quarterback came over from the Baltimore Ravens as a backup to Joe Flacco. Unlike most potential franchise quarterbacks, he had already been in the league four years before getting his chance to start. As a backup to a Super Bowl winning quarterback, he had little chance of cracking the starting lineup. It would not be until he arrived in Buﬀalo that he would have a chance to start.
So where did Rex and the Bills get it wrong?
Tyrod Taylor could be a mobile quarterback. Some of his biggest throws have been on the run. However, he rarely went beyond the hash marks and never had the full go-ahead to run. Taylor has rushed for 500+ yards both years at QB for the Bills, but with how much they have leaned on the run game, it limited his breakout plays.
With the best rushing attack in the NFL, the Bills became too predictable. They only asked Tyrod Taylor to make big plays in rare situations. Some of his biggest plays were deep passes that he threw perfectly to hit the receiver in stride. Unfortunately, for the oﬀense, teams cheated towards the line to account for the run game. Between the run-heavy oﬀense and the quick hit passes, the Bills never kept defenses honest. With one of the best oﬀensive lines in football, they could easily test defenses with mid to long passes yet the quarterback remained unchallenged. He has the arm strength but was limited to predictable passes.
Another huge mistake the Buffalo Bills have made is all the time they spend on the running game. They have completely neglected their receivers. While Sammy Watkins has had his breakthrough moments, no one else has stepped up. Their oﬀensive woes have multiplied to the point they had to pull veteran receiver Percy Harvin out of retirement. Tight end Charles Clay has not enjoyed the success he did for Miami. The team paid big money to pull him away from their division rivals and has taken a step back.
Now that the Bills have drafted Zay Jones, their balance on both sides of the ball is level. Sammy Watkins on one side and Jones on the other should keep defenders more honest. If they can build oﬀ the run game, Taylor should have no issues spreading the ﬁeld. With a new oﬀensive scheme, Taylor will likely be challenged more than he ever has in his career. Expect a career resurgence this year and at least a step in the right direction. He does not turn the ball over often but could see an increase as the oﬀense takes more chances. Expectations should skyrocket this season and he could push 4,000 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. However, the only improvement the Buffalo Bills want to see is in the win column. Bills fans would rather see a playoﬀ appearance in their lifetime than having the leading passer. If Tyrod Taylor can get moving this season, expect a lot of upsets from teams underestimating their talent pool.
Editor’s Note: The article can also be seen in our upcoming NFL Preview Edition.