Rex Ryan has decided upon his starting quarterback for the 2015 regular season. Jay Glazer was the first to report that Tyrod Taylor won the Buffalo Bills' starting job, with Ryan himself confirming the decision on Monday afternoon.
Bills are going w Tyrod Taylor as their starting a QB— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) August 31, 2015
The Bills signed Taylor as a free agent early in the 2015 offseason. He picked up a rather unique contract, which we detailed back in March. If Taylor starts for the entirety of the 2015 season, he will earn $3.15 million, and have a $2.88 million cap hit. If he continues to start for 2016, he would earn $4 million with a $4.13 million cap hit, and his contract would void in 2017.
Taylor, who recently turned 26 years old, was a sixth-round selection out of Virginia Tech. Taylor started 42 games in his college career, throwing for 7,017 yards with 44 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. He also accumulated 1,940 yards and 23 touchdowns (also school records) on 501 attempts. As a draft prospect, Taylor was considered raw as a passer, but he had plus-athleticism for the quarterback position.
Taylor is entering his fifth pro season. The first four were spent backing up Joe Flacco as a member of the Baltimore Ravens. Taylor has been used very sparingly since becoming a pro, with only 35 pass attempts and 27 rushing attempts in his career to date (most of them coming in the final game of the 2012 season). In some respects, it was the perfect development scenario for Taylor: four years with a stable franchise, playing behind a strong quarterback, taking the time to develop his mechanics and improve his field-reading.
As he entered his first Bills training camp, Taylor had his ups and downs, much like incumbent EJ Manuel and Buffalo's other notable quarterback acquisition, Matt Cassel. In games, however, Taylor shined, completing 24-of-31 passes for 236 yards, and rushing for 108 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Most importantly, Taylor showed a significant change from his college playing style, playing from the pocket, finding open receivers, and delivering accurate throws.
The improved pocket passing, combined with Taylor's reputation as a dangerous scrambler, ultimately won Taylor the edge in a competition that was close from start to finish.