LA Chargers: The challenge Tyrod Taylor faces on the Bolts

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Tyrod Taylor is slated to be the LA Chargers’ starting quarterback in the 2020 season.

All signs are pointing to Anthony Lynn giving the starting quarterback duties to Tyrod Taylor for the 2020 season. The LA Chargers may have drafted Justin Herbert with the sixth overall pick but Lynn is bullish on Taylor being the starter in 2020, likely to be a one-year bridge option to Herbert moving forward.

Taylor presents the exact opposite of what Philip Rivers was for the Chargers for so long. Taylor is not a traditional pocket passer and can extend plays with his feet, something an immobile Rivers hardly did throughout his career.

He is also far less turnover prone. Taylor’s career interception rate is only 1.5 percent. Rivers’ career interception percentage is 2.6 percent and last season he had a 3.4 interception percentage. His turnovers are what killed the Chargers’ season.

While Taylor is better in that regard, the ceiling with Rivers at his best is certainly higher than Taylor’s. Taylor does have some inconsistencies in making reads on defense and has never passed for more than 3,100 yards.

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However, Taylor is still a really intriguing story for the LA Chargers this season. Not only is he a breath of fresh air, especially in regards to the turnovers, but he is still a former Pro Bowl quarterback with a winning record in his career that has never had these kind of weapons before.

That is absolutely true. The Chargers have one of the best receiving corps in the league and while the narrative that Taylor had no weapons in Buffalo is a bit of a stretch, they certainly are not the weapons that the Chargers have.

The Chargers have a top-five receiving duo, a top-five (at worst) receiving halfback and a top-eight or so pass-catching tight end.

Tyrod Taylor still faces a fairly big challenge on the LA Chargers

While all of that is true, there is something that the LA Chargers might not have that all of Taylor’s teams had that could hurt his performance — a solid offensive line.

Throughout Taylor’s tenure in Buffalo, the Bills always had a great offensive line. In 2015, Taylor’s Pro Bowl season, Pro Football Focus ranked the Bills offensive line as the seventh-best in the league with the sixth-best pass-blocking numbers. In 2016 the Bills ranked 11th and in 2017 they ranked seventh.

What about when Taylor was pressured?

Granted, he was in a bad situation on a poorly coached team, but Taylor was pressured quite often in his short amount of time with the Cleveland Browns. In 42 dropbacks in which he was pressured he had a 29.2 completion percentage with 2.4 yards per attempt.

While the LA Chargers’ front office did a great job in improving the offensive line by adding Bryan Bulaga and Trai Turner, there is still no guarantee that the offensive line will be great. Turner is coming off the worst season of career, albeit he is still young and could easily rebound, and there are questions on the left side of the line.

Trey Pipkins appears to be the team’s option to start at left tackle and while I personally am high on Pipkins, he is a raw talent that might not be ready to protect Taylor’s blindside. Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney are competing for the left guard spot and while we could be optimistic, there is no guarantee that either guy will be better than they have been.

Mike Pouncey and Scott Quessenberry are two solid center options, which is promising, but who knows how good Pouncey will perform at his age after neck surgery.

This very well could be a solid offensive line that allows Taylor to do his thing as a passer, but it very well could also be another struggling offensive line that allows pressure on Taylor, which could lead to an inflation in that turnover number or just overall worse performance.

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The key to Tyrod Taylor’s 2020 season is ironically not Tyrod Taylor, it is what version of the offensive line he gets in front of him.

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