Tyrod Taylor: Chargers will ‘go out and turn a lot of heads’ if he’s the guy ‘calling the shots’


After letting Philip Rivers walk in free agency and losing the Tom Brady sweepstakes to the Buccaneers, the Chargers are in quarterback limbo. Unless they add a quarterback late in free agency (say, Jameis Winston or Cam Newton), trade for a quarterback (like Andy Dalton), or draft a quarterback at No. 6 (Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert or Jordan Love, perhaps?), they’ll enter the season with Tyrod Taylor as their new starting quarterback.

That might not necessarily be a bad thing, though. While Taylor recently acknowledged the uncertainty surrounding the Chargers’ quarterback situation and the possibility that he won’t remain atop the depth chart come September, he also expressed confidence that if he’s the starting quarterback in 2020, the Chargers will find success.

“We have a lot of talent on our team,” Taylor said, per the Orange County Register. “If I am the guy that would be calling the shots, I know for sure that we’ll go out and turn a lot of heads.”

Taylor’s not wrong about that first part. This Chargers team is still immensely talented. Outside of their inability to lure Brady to Los Angeles, it’s been a successful offseason for the Chargers, who upgraded in other areas.

They added Chris Harris, one of the best cornerbacks of the past decade, to a secondary that already includes Derwin James and Casey Hayward. They plugged Linval Joseph into a defensive front that already includes Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. They somehow managed to flip Russell Okung, a 31-year-old, two-time Pro-Bowl offensive tackle, for Trai Turner, a 26-year-old guard who’s already been to five Pro Bowls. They were able to sign offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga, an elite player when healthy. They also re-signed Austin Ekeler, the perfect running back for the modern NFL, at a reasonable price. Now, they’ll have a chance to add a premium player with the sixth-overall pick in next month’s draft.

That player could be a quarterback. At No. 6, the Chargers won’t be able to get Joe Burrow barring some sort of miraculous trade up to No. 1, where the Bengals are nearly guaranteed to take the LSU quarterback. It feels like the Dolphins will take a quarterback at No. 5. But that’ll still leave the Chargers with options. Even if the Dolphins grab Tua, the Chargers can take Herbert or Love. 

If the Chargers do use their first-round pick on a quarterback, they can still roll into the season with Taylor as their bridge quarterback. Remember, this is likely going to be a truncated offseason due to the global pandemic that has shut down most of the country, including team facilities. NFL teams might not want to throw a rookie quarterback out there in September after a CliffsNotes version of an offseason. In that sense, Taylor, who has been with the Chargers for a year already and has familiarity with coach Anthony Lynn, would be the perfect Week 1 starter.

It seems like it’s already been forgotten due to his short unsuccessful stint in Cleveland, but Taylor has had success in the NFL as a starting quarterback. Taylor and Lynn were paired together in Buffalo, where Taylor emerged as an above-average starting quarterback. From 2015-17, Taylor led the Bills to a 22-20 record as a starting quarterback, snapped their historic playoff drought, averaged nearly 3,000 passing yards, 17 touchdown passes, roughly five interceptions, 525 rushing yards, and almost five rushing touchdowns per season. In 2016, when Lynn was the offensive coordinator and briefly the interim head coach, Taylor threw for 3,023 yards, 17 touchdowns, six picks, and added 580 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. 

Those numbers would work just fine in Los Angeles. If the defense were to make the leap, the Chargers could even be a playoff team with that level of quarterbacking. Nobody will make the argument that they can unseat the Chiefs in the AFC West, but the wild card race in the AFC is wide open. 

Then again, with quarterbacks like Jameis Winston and Cam Newton still available in free agency, and a quarterback like Andy Dalton still available in the trade market, there’s still a chance Taylor will resume his role as the Chargers’ backup come September. 

“I’ve spoken with our coaches,” Taylor said. “There hasn’t been anything that’s been directly told to me (about the starting job), but I guess through our conversations you get a hint of where the team is going as far as personnel, and like I said, I can’t control what moves would be made and I won’t look to control them. I’ll just continue to focus on bettering myself.”





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