As new Bills offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn’s offense continues to develop and take form, so has the progress of Tyrod Taylor; no more evident than Taylor’s Week 4 performance on the road against a vaunted Bill Bellichick defense that shutout the Houston Texans the week before.
More impressive about Taylor’s performance was the fact that Bellichick had 10 days to prepare and game plan for what Lynn and Taylor would do. In what I feel could potentially be Taylor’s best game in a Bills uniform, you’ll see a confident and fundamentally sound player starting on the second play of the game.
Something you’ve seen a lot more under Anthony Lynn has been a conscious effort to move the pocket and put Taylor in positions that play to his strengths. You’ll see examples of this concept in several plays during this breakdown.
Another thing I’ve noticed is a conscious effort to put Taylor under center more, which I think has lead to more consistent footwork and ball placement. Taylor does a great job on this play getting depth after flashing the ball on the play action. From there his roll out path is picture perfect. At the peak of his roll out, he over-emphasizes his left shoulder rotation, which is critical to throw an accurate ball (for a right handed quarterback) on a roll out either left or right. He then immediately gets down hill, squaring both his hips and shoulders to the line of scrimmage. On a play I’ll break down shortly, you’ll see Taylor use poor fundamentals (out of shotgun ironically), doesn’t get his hips and shoulders square to the line of scrimmage and has a vastly different result.
Obviously on this play, the location of the ball isn’t perfect having been thrown to his back shoulder when ideally you want this to lead Clay to the sidelines, but a completion and a first down is a positive, especially on the first drive of the game.
Man, I love this play. It puts on full display the difference between Anthony Lynn and Greg Roman and what they were willing to do with this offense. It also shows the development of his route concepts and the ways he’s been disguising and setting up his plays.
This again is a double-in concept, something I broke down in last week’s victory against the Cardinals. This time he disguises it as a post/wheel, having Woods, the inside receiver, break outside of Marquise Goodwin at the snap pf the ball as if he’s intending to run that sideline wheel route. He quickly breaks it of, as does Goodwin, and it becomes a simple double-in where Taylor has to read who comes open first. It’s an easy read by Taylor and a well thrown ball that allows Woods to catch the ball in stride and immediately head up field.
Something else I brought up during his week one and week two performances was his lazy footwork. He’d come to an almost complete stop and the end of his drop and fall back on his heels, leading to inaccurate throws. On this play, he stays on his toes, stays tall in the pocket and delivers an accurate ball. Fundamentals, man.
In what is just another glaring example of Taylor being more decisive, accurate and fundamentally sound throwing from under center, you see what a true three-step drop is supposed to look like. There’s no hitch, no patting the ball and it leads to a perfectly placed ball that not only protects him from a big hit, but places it in a tight window.
Another key portion of Taylor’s game that has been improving under Anthony Lynn is his eye discipline. On this play, he looks off middle linebacker Jamie Collins just long enough to create the lane to complete the pass to Woods. In a Cover 3 look, the seam route isn’t necessarily the most ideal route when the middle of the field is considerably clogged, but his subtle look-off creates just enough time and space to make a great completion and a first down.
This was the play I was referring to earlier in the breakdown. Taylor starts out of shotgun, and it’s an obvious designed roll out with the offensive line rotating right and LeSean McCoy sealing backside. If you pause it right before he releases the ball, you’ll see his shoulders and hips facing the sideline and not the line of scrimmage like on the first play to Charles Clay.
Woods is wide open on this play, and you can see it from the coaches angle so Taylor feels rushed to get him the ball quickly instead of focusing on getting downhill on the roll out. It is absolutely critical (unless you’re Cam Newton or Aaron Rodgers) to square your body up on roll out plays to throw an accurate ball.
This is also a play that Taylor must complete 10 times out of 10 no questions asked especially with no defenders in his face. To me, this is his worst throw of the game, but never fear; he makes up for it on the next play.
Although this play starts off as a roll out, he pulls up and gathers himself and really turns this play into a just a modified drop back. His fundamentals however are key to throwing an accurate ball.
What you will see is Taylor’s shoulders and hips squared to the line of scrimmage just before he gathers him self. That’s important because had he decided to make this play a true roll out, like it was intended he would have put himself in a position to make an accurate throw. What he needs to be careful of on designed roll outs is that back side pressure. With the offensive line rotating to the right, that back side pressure can be dangerous when you stop like Taylor did. Luckily he had a wide open receiver and made a quick accurate throw or he might have been blind sided.
As I mentioned, I truly believe this is one of Taylor’s best games in a Bills uniform. I’ll be interested to see what Bellichick does in their second match-up against to defend against Taylor and Lynn moving the pocket. It worked wonders in Week 4 which leads me to believe it will be priority No. 1 to stop it next time.
So far, I’ve been thoroughly impressed with Taylor’s improvement under Lynn. Their objective now is to continue that development moving forward if the Bills intend on being a playoff team.