Anthony Lynn has good reasons for optimism when it comes to Tyrod Taylor as the LA Chargers starting quarterback.
In Peter King’s most recent edition of his Football Morning in America column, he says that Anthony Lynn is “legitimately bullish” on the prospects of Tyrod Taylor as the starting quarterback. He also adds that Taylor has the potential to be the starter for “maybe more than one year”.
Barring Tua Tagovailoa being available at six, Taylor is the presumptive starter. Fans are understandably skeptical about him leading the team. His tenure in Buffalo was generally good but petered out towards the end. In Cleveland, he wasn’t playing all that well and then suffered a concussion in Week 3 of 2018 vs. the Jets. Baker Mayfield had the starting gig from that point on.
However, it’s worth pointing out that all of those moments took place after Lynn was no longer working with Taylor. Most view 2016 as his best season, which is when Lynn became offensive coordinator in Buffalo. Taylor had an 89.7 passer rating, 17 touchdowns, and six interceptions that season. The mark of 580 rushing yards he set that season was also the most he’s ever recorded in his career.
Tyrod Taylor’s new situation on the LA Chargers is suited perfectly for him.
In addition to the Lynn-Taylor partnership, the LA Chargers have a better roster than the Bills or Browns did with Taylor. He’s never had a receiver with Keenan Allen‘s skill. Charles Clay is probably the closest comparison he’s had to a tight end like Hunter Henry, but even he’s not particularly close.
Taylor will also have a better offensive line protecting him than Philip Rivers had in recent seasons. The additions Bryan Bulaga and Trai Turner are a drastic improvement over the line last year. They also may not be done in adding to the offensive lineman in free agency or the draft. Jason Peters is an offensive tackle that’s been consistently connected with the team.
Taylor’s mobility should also have fans encouraged. While he may not be quite as fast as he used to be, he certainly can extend plays better than Rivers was able to. Free-agent target Tom Brady also wouldn’t have been able to do much outside of the pocket if he had come to Los Angeles.
Anthony Lynn has also let his thoughts on mobile quarterbacks and the modern NFL be known pretty often. While mobility isn’t a necessity, it makes crafting a modern offense easier. That’s especially true when dealing with fearsome defensive lines in the division like Kansas City and Denver.
The main job Taylor will have as the starting quarterback is really managing the game and keeping turnovers down. “Game manager” is used by some to be a negative term, but it’s about managing the tempo of the game and running the offense smoothly.
In the last four seasons, Taylor has an interception percentage of just 1.4%. That’s effectively one interception for every 100 throws. Rivers had a percentage of 3.4% in 2019. If Taylor can avoid the deep interceptions that cost the Chargers in 2019, he can be a very capable starter.
Being confident in Taylor over the next season or two doesn’t mean the LA Chargers can’t draft a quarterback. They probably still will. If the draft pick is Justin Herbert or Jordan Love though, it makes sense to sit them for a year or two.
With Taylor’s skills on the field and in developing a younger quarterback, the team can remain over .500 while developing the true heir apparent to Rivers. While Mayfield had a down year in 2019, people remember how great his rookie season was. Taylor was pretty vital in mentoring him after Mayfield took the starting job.
Being bullish on Taylor doesn’t mean he’s going to light the league on fire. It does mean that he can be a serviceable bridge quarterback in developing a draft pick. If he’s asked to start for one or two seasons, he can do the job well and efficiently with good game management skills and scrambling ability.
Taylor will also have a more complete roster on offense than he had in either Buffalo or Cleveland. His previous experience with Lynn is a benefit for the team, as it did work out very well in Buffalo during Lynn’s tenure.