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Redskins vs Bills Week 15 Player Spotlight: Tyrod Taylor

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The former VT QB is returning home this week.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Tyrod Taylor

Quarterback

Age: 26

Height: 6'1"

Weight: 215 lbs.

College: Virginia Tech

NFL Draft: 2011 - Round: 6 - Pick: 180

Form

Taylor is the 15th starting QB of the Buffalo Bills since the great Jim Kelly 19 years ago.  He and the Bills are coming off of a crushing 23-20 defeat in Philly last week.  Taylor and the Bills offense got the ball with a chance to win the game (or send it to OT with a FG) with 1:49 in the game on their own 31.  Taylor threw a pick to end the game.  It should be noted that losing that game basically ensures Buffalo is out of the playoff hunt (for the 16th straight season - since the Music City Miracle - the longest drought in major North American professional sports).  Will that affect their play in Washington this week?

The ending of that game aside, Taylor has been pretty great recently, especially in two areas: not throwing INTs and executing in the fourth quarter.  The pick in Philly snapped his team-record streak of 223 straight pass attempts without an INT.  And his fourth-quarter passer rating of 117 (prior to last week) was fourth in the league.  He's now started a whopping 11 games (and owns a 6-5 record).  Another thing that Taylor excels at is the deep ball.  He throws a gorgeous deep pass and many have compared it to that of Joe Flacco.  He's got the highest completion percentage in the league on throws of 40+ yards (he's completed 10).  He's also a very impressive student of film study.  In fact, he leads weekly meetings with the offense for an hour with no coaches.  The meeting are optional, but most everyone attends and Taylor conducts the whole thing with a projector and laser pointer.  The game-plans the Bills use can sometimes have 300 plays per week.

He's also a gifted runner who averages 5.2 ypc.  Some plays he has are a run-pass option where he can pick and choose his spots.  That makes him very difficult for opposing DCs to plan for.

Skills

Some people compare Taylor to Russell Wilson.  Both are smaller than average, very mobile, and play behind less than ideal OLs.  In fact, Taylor's VT team went 2-0 over Wilson and NC State.  Another comparison is to the last QB to take the Bills to the playoffs... Doug Flutie.  Want one more?  Mike Vick... the guy Rex Ryan chose to work with during his final season with the Jets.  Taylor and Vick have a lot of similarities.  They grew up in the same area of Hampton Roads in VA.  In HS, Taylor was called little Vick.  Taylor even followed Vick at VT.  He broke Vick's records.

He's a hard worker with a quick release and a very strong arm.  Still, he's erratic and lacks consistent, efficient decision making.  He's obviously an incredible athlete with elite running skills and a strong, muscular build.  He also excels at keeping his eyes down the field while remaining very mobile.  Very competitive.

On the other side, he's a little short at only 6'1".  That provides for a higher than average number of batted passes.  He needs to work on his footwork and consistency as a passer.  He has a bit of an issue with locking onto a receiver and telegraphing his throws.  Not the best at recognizing coverages and can be confused.

Potential Against the Redskins

Taylor could obviously cause a lot of trouble when he breaks contains and scrambles... or on designed runs.  Our ILBs and safeties will have to keep an especially close eye on him and if he has too much time to stay upright, he could take off and really burn us.  While the Bills OL hasn't been great, neither has the 'Skins pass rush.  It must get home Sunday or Taylor's mobility will hurt.

Another thing is keeping wraps on Sammy Watkins.  I've pointed out that Taylor excels at the deep ball.  If Watkins can get behind the defense, Taylor will have no issue hitting him.  We'll need to keep everything in front of us and force quick, short throws.

One advantage will be the ability of our DL to get their hands up when they can't get home and hopefully deflect a pass or two and maybe create a turnover.  When kept in the pocket, his passing isn't consistent enough to beat us... but keeping him in the pocket is a huge issue.  Joe Barry's done a good job of throwing various looks out there and this a great week to really focus on confusing a young signal caller.

Interesting Facts

After HS, Rivals pegged Taylor as the #1 dual-threat QB in the country and ESPN had him as the #3 QB overall.  He ran a 4.55 40.  After his time with the Ravens, Taylor's agent spoke with the Eagles and the Broncos courted him heavily before he ended up choosing Buffalo.  He did so to have an opportunity to be the starter.  Denver even offered more money.