If Tom Brady does not head across the country, the Chargers have a quarterback option much closer to home.
Days after the Chargers officially split with longtime quarterback Philip Rivers, head coach Anthony Lynn spoke very highly of 30-year old backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
“Tyrod Taylor is a heck of a quarterback,” Lynn told AM 570 LA Sports per ESPN. “We couldn’t have a better backup right now, and now he has an opportunity to maybe step up into a starting role.”
The Virginia Tech product was selected by the Ravens in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He spent four years backing up Joe Flacco before signing with the Bills in 2015. He was immediately named their starter, but was plagued with injuries in 2017 and was ultimately traded to the Browns in March 2018.
Taylor inked a two-year, $11 million contract with the Chargers before last season and was reunited with Lynn, who was a member of the Bills coaching staff from 2015 to 2016 as the assistant head coach, then offensive coordinator and interim head coach when Rex Ryan was fired.
Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor throws a pass during the AFC wild-card game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
“I’ve had Tyrod before [in Buffalo], and I know what this young man brings to the table, in the passing game and the running game,” Lynn said. “There are some guys that can win from the pocket, but when you look around the league, most of these guys are mobile quarterbacks that can move. … So that’s just the world that we’re in right now — you can do more things and be more cutting edge [with a mobile quarterback].”
The Chargers have been closely linked to Brady, who is set to hit free agency for the first time in his career come March 18. The Patriots remain the favorite to retain Brady, but the Chargers’ Los Angeles location and potential contender status has helped grease the rumor mill.
Taylor appeared in eight games this year during mop-up duty and completed four of six passes with one touchdown. Lynn specifically lauded his backup’s low-turnover percentages. Taylor recorded just six turnovers in 2017 when he last served as a starter. Taylor’s efforts helped the Bills make their first postseason appearance in 18 years.
“One of the things he does very well is take care of the football. I believe every year he’s started in this league he’s been the No. 1 quarterback in taking care of the football. I believe more games are lost than won. So if we can just take care of the football and take it away, we’ll be OK,” Lynn said.
Rivers finished the 2019 season with 20 interceptions behind only Jameis Winston and Baker Mayfield for the most in the league.
The team publicly announced a mutual parting of ways with their longtime starter on Feb. 10.
“We looked at a lot of things with Phil and where he’s at in his career,” Lynn said. “And Phil had a say-so in it as well. We agreed to split. And we couldn’t have done it any classier or better. My conversation with Phil was one of the best I’ve had with him, I can tell you that.
“I’m a big fan of his. And if he decides to continue to play, I’m going to root for that young man and [his wife] Tiffany; they are two special people. But it was just time. It happens. Brett Favre left Green Bay. Joe Montana left the 49ers. Peyton Manning left Indy. It happens,” Lynn said.