The Bills not only have a training camp and preseason quarterback battle, they might not have a quarterback at all.
So, Tyrod Taylor’s extended audition Thursday night was important both for Taylor making his own case and for the team in evaluating what it has.
Taylor did little in the way of spectacular in a half against the Browns Thursday. Perhaps more importantly, considering the way this defense is built, he didn’t make any silly mistakes. Taylor completed 7-of-10 passes for 65 yards and rushed four times for 41 yards in leading the Bills on two long drives that ended in field goal tries; one was successful and one missed.
He showed command of the offense, extended plays with his feet and spread the ball around despite playing without the team’s top three receivers.
“We did some good things,” Taylor said at halftime, via team-distributed quotes. “Of course we would have preferred to come out with seven points on a couple of those drives but we were able to move the ball up and down the field. There are a couple of things we did out there that we can learn from.”
Team-distributed quotes rarely have much sizzle. The Bills need smart, solid play more than they need sizzle from the quarterback spot, especially when they get their full crew of skill players back. The team’s top five running backs missed the game with various injuries, too.
Taylor, who just turned 26, played in 14 games in four seasons as a backup in Baltimore but has never started a game. The Bills announced before Thursday’s preseason game that Matt Cassel, who started last week’s preseason opener, would dress but that the team’s plan was to play Taylor first, then E.J. Manuel.
Bills coach Rex Ryan has said he won’t name a starter until just before the Sept. 13 season opener vs. the Colts. More than likely, the battle will continue. Taylor goes forward with at least some momentum.