Tyrod Taylor gives Giants leader, viable backup

The best season of Tyrod Taylor’s 11-year NFL career played out weekly in front of Joe Schoen and was on film for Brian Daboll to evaluate.

And yet the Bills’ response to Taylor leading Buffalo to a surprise playoff berth in 2017 — with Schoen in the front office and Daboll added as missing-piece offensive coordinator just days after their postseason exit — was to trade Taylor and start over at quarterback.

That decision set Taylor on a nomadic journey through five teams in six years, so it’s interesting that Taylor opted to reunite with the Schoen-led and Daboll-coached Giants, knowing that he will begin as the backup quarterback regardless of his training-camp performance .

“That’s the NFL: More times than not, it’s a business,” Taylor said. “I don’t hold any grudges. I know what I’m capable of doing in any setting, and I think I’ve proved that every time I’ve had a chance to play.”

It has been exciting to watch Taylor lead the second-team offense against the second-team defense, buying time behind a weak offensive line by moving the pocket and throwing pretty deep balls in off-schedule situations like all the best mobile quarterbacks. He gave Darius Slayton, an offseason training partner in Atlanta, a chance to make a jump-ball play during practice Tuesday — and it turned into an unlikely touchdown.

Tyrod Taylor joins the Giants after spending last year with the Texans.

“Even before we signed him, we made a connection and we’ve thrown together here and there,” Slayton said. “When he signed, it was like, ‘This works out great!’ ”

Established as one of the NFL’s top backup quarterbacks, Taylor is the biggest threat starter Daniel Jones has faced over four years — at a time when Jones has no contract security beyond 2022. Taylor’s best audition window for earning eventual playing time could come Friday, if there is a true intrasquad scrimmage at FanFest.

“My job is to prepare like a starter every day,” Taylor said. “That’s not everybody, but it’s the mindset for me, and I know it keeps me in a competitive state of mind. Also, it builds trust within your teammates. If there is no drop-off from the first, second and third group, the better our team is.”

A case could be made that Taylor is one of the handful of most important players on the roster, even though Jones has taken every first-team snap during camp. Taylor’s two-year deal included the second-biggest average annual salary ($5.5 million) that the salary-cap-strapped Giants handed out in free agency.

The Giants morphed from a disappointing 4-7 start to embarrassing over the final six games of last season, when Jones was sidelined by a neck injury. The offense averaged less than 10 points per game and regressed to simply trying to play mistake free for field position with Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm as fill-ins. Taylor is tasked with not letting a repeat happen under worst-case circumstances.

Tyrod Taylor (2) is the Giants' second-string quarterback, for now.
Tyrod Taylor (2) is the Giants’ second-string quarterback, for now.
Robert Sabo/New York Post

“If you would’ve asked me earlier in my career, I was always ‘Lead by example,’ ” Taylor said. “I think the older you get, the more experience you have, you become more comfortable being vocal. Ultimately, how you play is what guys are going to respond to the most: Do your job every day, uplift guys and make them better, and trust them. Don’t try to be Superman.”

Taylor is 26-25-1 as a starter, but his bigger role since leaving the Bills was to mentor rookies Baker Mayfield (Browns), Justin Herbert (Chargers) and Davis Mills (Texans) until they were ready to supplant him as the starter . Jones is 12-25 as a starter and being given one final shot to prove he is the future — with no telling how short the leash will be if a fully healthy Giants’ offense struggles again.

“Much respect for Daniel,” Taylor said. “The way he approaches his job and the way he leads. I think just the quarterback room as a whole, we all bring out the best in one another. Whether it’s in competitions, whether it’s in the weight room, whether it’s on the field [when] we tally up who has the best throws for the day. If you see our board of tallies, it can get crazy.”

The Giants’ quarterback battle isn’t crazy. For now.


Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: