Tyrod Taylor came into the 2015 season as an unknown to fans and the media as a starting quarterback. As the season went on, we saw better quarterback play then in years past, but seeing the same old Buffalo Bills season made that tough to see.
Many fans do not feel that Taylor is the answer at quarterback going forward, and will try to find flaws in his game from this season. When looking at Taylor from a statistical point of view, that is a very hard task.
First, let us look at the basics. He had 3,035 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns, and a 63.7 completion percentage in 14 games. His rankings league-wide in those stats were 23rd, 20th, and 15th in order. None of those say that he is a top quarterback, but looking deeper into his stats show that those rankings are misleading.
Taylor finished seventh in the National Football League with a 99.4 passer rating. That was better than some of the league’s best quarterbacks like Cam Newton, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers. Taylor also finished seventh in QBR with a 67.8. That was better than Rodgers, Newton, and Tom Brady. That is some elite company.
So why does Taylor finish poorly in the basic numbers, but has an elite passer rating and QBR? It comes down to his number of attempts, and his efficiency with those attempts. Taylor had the 24th most attempts in the league with 380. It was the least attempts of a quarterback who played at least 14 games.
Now, the stats that show Taylor as a great quarterback. Yards per attempt is one of them, with 7.99. That ranked fifth in the NFL only behind Carson Palmer, Andy Dalton, Roethlisberger, and Russell Wilson.
Deep ball accuracy was one of Taylor’s best assets, as he was prolific throwing the ball downfield. Of passes thrown over 30-yards Taylor was 15 of 39, 674 yards, six touchdowns, and one interception. That is elite-level stats. For example, Rodgers was six of 27, 248 yards, six touchdowns, and no interceptions. Newton was eleven of 33, 466 yards, six touchdowns, and no interceptions. Taylor beats Rodgers in every category on deep ball passing, and replicates the numbers of Newton. The only difference with Newton was his completion percentage was better than Newton’s.
Taylor was also the best quarterback in the NFL when he came under pressure. Taylor had the highest QBR in the NFL under pressure with 58.2.
Highest QBR under pressure, 2015 1. Tyrod Taylor 58.2 2. Ryan Fitzpatrick 53.6 3. Carson Palmer 48.1 32. Brian Hoyer 1.5 33. Nick Foles 1.2
— Scott Kacsmar (@FO_ScottKacsmar) January 8, 2016
This also decreases the need for a great offensive line. If your quarterback can perform under pressure better than anyone else, how great of a line do you really need? Could save the Bills a draft pick.
Many people like to say that Taylor does not throw the ball over the middle of the field, and that it is a problem. This statement is simply not true. Taylor throws the ball between the hash marks almost as much as the top quarterbacks in the NFL. Taylor threw eight percent of his passes over the middle of the field. Other quarterbacks throwing over the middle of the field: Newton with 10-percent, Brady with 14-percent, Wilson with nine percent, and Roethlisberger with 14-percent. The difference between Taylor and these quarterbacks are not that significant at all.
When a quarterback drops back to pass, does it benefit him to have more or less wide receivers on the field? The answer is more.
Taylor had only 23-percent of his attempts come with four or more receivers split out on the field. For comparison, Roethlisberger had 38-percent, Rodgers had 46-percent, and Wilson had 30-percent. The only quarterback that was around Taylor’s QBR this season, that had a fewer percentage of attempts with four or more receivers was Cam Newton at 12-percent. Some of this is personnel related, and scheme related, but it shows that other quarterbacks that get the respect as great quarterbacks have more commitment around them to throw the ball.
Tyrod Taylor has just one year left on his contract. This coming year will mean a lot to his next contact, unless Doug Whaley signs him this coming offseason. As of right now his next contract is expected to come in around $19 million annually.
— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) January 7, 2016
This contract would put Taylor as the tenth highest paid quarterback in the NFL, although he would be making virtually the same money as the two guys behind him. Ryan Tannehill and Colin Kaepernick are only a few hundred thousand dollars below that.
Being paid as the tenth best quarterback is not unrealistic for Taylor. It is easy to see that he out-performed that this season. There is no reason to think he will not do at least the same next season, if not even better.
Doug Whaley, it is time to pay the man!