The start of the regular season is less than two weeks away, and as preseason wraps up and cuts are being announced, teams are also finalizing their plans at a number of positions - including, for some teams, quarterback.
The Buffalo Bills were one of those teams, as they had a competition between Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel, and Tyrod Taylor during training camp and preseason for the starting spot. According to FOX Sports' Jay Glazer (and since confirmed by many others), the Bills have made the decision: they will go with Tyrod Tayler as their starting quarterback in week one against the Indianapolis Colts.
Bills are going w Tyrod Taylor as their starting a QB— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) August 31, 2015
Taylor was originally drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL draft by the Baltimore Ravens out of Virginia Tech, but with Joe Flacco as their starting quarterback Taylor has yet to make a start in the NFL. In his four seasons with the Ravens, Taylor appeared in 14 games, completing 19 of 35 passes (54.3%) for 199 yards and two interceptions, while also adding 136 yards and a touchdown on the ground, averaging five yards per carry. He was signed by the Buffalo Bills earlier this offseason.
Here's what Buffalo Rumblings' Dan Lavoie had to say about Taylor's time with the Bills so far in camp and preseason:
As he entered training camp, Taylor had his ups and downs, much like the incumbent EJ Manuel and Buffalo's other notable quarterback acquisition, Matt Cassel. In games, however, Taylor shined, completing 24 of 31 passes (77.4 percent) for 236 yards, and rushing for 11 attempts, 108 yards, and a touchdown. 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 open from the start.
It is that scrambling ability that could add another dynamic to the game in week one against the Colts, as they will have to now prepare for a mobile quarterback who, at least from what it sounds like, has improved as a passer as well. Though he will present some challenges to the defense, however, keep in mind that he will be making his first NFL start.
Along those lines, consider the opposing quarterbacks for the Colts' first five games: Tyrod Taylor (Bills), Ryan Fitzpatrick (Jets), Marcus Mariota (Titans), Blake Bortles (Jaguars), and Brian Hoyer (Texans). That's an ideal schedule when it comes to the player at the most important position. Of course, after that it gets much tougher, with Tom Brady (Patriots), Drew Brees (Saints), Cam Newton (Panthers), Peyton Manning (Broncos), and Matt Ryan (Falcons) being the next five quarterbacks faced. So it does even out a bit, but those first five weeks will be favorable matchups for the Colts defense.