Chargers head coach says Tyrod Taylor to start things off as QB1, but ‘it’s a competition’ with Justin Herbert

For a moment during the pre-draft process, it appeared as if the Los Angles Chargers would punt on taking a quarterback with the No. 6 overall pick and simply head into 2020 with veteran Tyrod Taylor as its starter. After all, head coach Anthony Lynn had been throwing tremendous confidence Taylor’s way in the aftermath of the club parting ways with longtime quarterback Philip Rivers in free agency. Lynn even noted back in early April that Taylor was in the “driver’s seat” for the starting job, but did throw the caveat out there that things could change given that the draft was on the horizon. They did. 

With their top selection in the 2020 draft, Los Angeles elected to bring in Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, signaling that he is their quarterback of the future and — more importantly for the discussion we’re having now — Taylor isn’t. While it’s a certainty that Herbert will one day take the reins as the starter in L.A., Lynn still has Taylor penciled in as the starter as he begins his preparations for 2020. Similar to his comments prior to the draft, however, those plans could once again be thrown out the window if Herbert shows out in what he says will be a competition. 

“We’re going into this thing: Day 1, Tyrod Taylor’s going to be starting it off,” Lynn told Albert Breer of the MMQB. “He’s earned that right. His teammates respect the hell out of him, he’s a leader on this football team. Our young quarterback’s gonna learn a lot from Tyrod Taylor. Tyrod Taylor’s one of the most respected players on our team, and he doesn’t say a whole lot either. …

“[But] it’s a competition, bro. There’s a competition at every position, not just this one. I can’t just say Tyrod’s gonna be the starting quarterback for the whole year if this young man goes in there and wins the job.”

Unfortunately for Taylor, he’s encapsulated the “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” persona more than once throughout his career. He started three seasons with the Buffalo Bills (2015-17) and helped lead them to the playoffs as a wild-card team in his last year in upstate New York before the club traded up to select current franchise signal caller Josh Allen. Taylor then signed on with the Cleveland Browns, but was eventually ousted as the team’s starter for Baker Mayfield midway through the 2018 campaign. Now, it appears like a similar fate will happen to him at some point with the Chargers. 

The silver lining for Taylor is that he may have a window to showcase his talents in what is the final year of his contact. If the current pandemic prevents clubs from going through OTAs, minicamp and possibly alters training camp, it’d be foolish to throw Herbert out there as the Week 1 starter if he’s not properly prepared. Taylor, at least, is well versed in the Chargers offense and could conceivably start the first month or two as Herbert gets his feet wet in the league. In that time, Taylor could not only try to help Los Angeles in 2020, but prove that he can be a viable starter somewhere else in the league before he hits the open market in 2021. 

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