I found the biggest believer in Tyrod Taylor among the national media.
NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks raved about the Buffalo Bills quarterback — and the team’s decision to sign the him to a contract extension — in his most recent “Scout’s Notebook”
It was published this past Friday, August 12 at 3 pm, so it wouldn’t have been hard to miss. You’ll find the highlights from Brooks’ article below, with my reaction to each quote in GIF form.
The former Bills returner, who later scouted for the Panthers and Seahawks, started with this line about Taylor:
“The Buffalo Bills just signed Tyrod Taylor to a six-year contract extension, a move I roundly applaud. I think Taylor is an electric QB1 capable of leading the team into the playoffs and beyond.”
Quite definitive praise right there.
Brooks’ next paragraph:
“Taylor's numbers in 2015 were on par with the debut seasons of perennial Pro Bowl selectees Russell Wilson (64.1 completion percentage, 26:10 TD-to-INT ratio, 100.0 passer rating; 489 rushing yards and four scores in 2012) and Cam Newton (60.0 completion percentage, 21:17 TD-to-INT ratio, 84.5 passer rating; 706 rushing yards and 14 scores in 2011).”
That applause is for Taylor’s first year in Buffalo and Brooks’ drawing the apt comparison between Tyrod’s 2015 and the debut seasons of Cam Newton and especially Russell Wilson.
On to the next one.
“The Bills' QB1 is more than a run-around wizard with a big arm. He is one of the most efficient pocket passers in the game. Last season, Taylor compiled a 101.6 passer rating on throws from inside the pocket, which ranked seventh among quarterbacks with at least 200 pass attempts. He also completed 65.2 percent of his passes from the pocket and amassed a 17:5 TD-to-INT ratio on those throws.”
Yes, you read all that correctly. While his athleticism makes it easy to assume — and many do — that Taylor isn’t good from the pocket, Brooks laid out a convincing group of stats which say the exact opposite.
Another good tidbit from Brooks coming up, which includes Sammy Watkins...
“Speaking of Watkins, I think Taylor's performance with and without the ultra-explosive pass catcher also cements his status as a franchise quarterback. With Watkins on the field (326 pass plays), Taylor completed 62.9 percent of his passes and tallied a fine 17:5 TD-to-INT ratio. On the flip side, Taylor was even more efficient in some ways without Watkins on the field (90 pass plays), completing 66.7 percent of his passes with a 3:1 TD-to-INT ratio. This shows how well Taylor can adapt his game to a "small ball" approach without his deep threat on the field.”
Yeah... even without Watkins last season, Taylor was an efficient passer.
The last Brooks paragraph features an exclusive inside scoop on an opinion of Taylor from one of the NFL’s longest-tenured head coaches.
“Now, I must admit that I didn't expect Taylor to tear up the league as a surprise starter for the Bills, but Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told me last offseason that the former Virginia Tech standout was an "alpha dog" with special skills and a dynamic game. But I couldn't go all in on his talent and potential without seeing him take a snap as a starter. Now, after a Pro Bowl campaign, I'm convinced: Taylor's a legit franchise QB and the Bills were wise to lock him up.”
You got it right, Blanche. A “fans self” GIF wouldn’t have been enough here. The level of appreciation Brooks has for Taylor and Tomlin labeling the Bills quarterback an “alpha dog” calls for the old water spray bottle.