Today, Tyrod Taylor takes over as the Buffalo Bills starting quarterback. While he's a mystery to most, he's not to everyone. Former coaches and teammates see something special. Fellow former Virginia Tech Hokie, and current assistant athletic director, Kevin Jones has stayed in touch with Taylor. A few extra thoughts from him as kickoff closes in...
On how close he is with Taylor: “I know him pretty well. I try to keep in touch with him throughout the year. He comes back to coach at my football camp that I do here at Tech. He’s one of those guys who I try to stay close to just because he’s an awesome kid. The kids love him when he comes back. He’s a good person. He’s been patient in his career — I don’t know how he’s been so patient! Man. I couldn’t have been that patient.”
On Taylor being such a mystery and what he knows about him: “Tyrod right now is extremely focused. He understands the task at hand and knows this is a tremendous opportunity. I know that he’s extremely focused on his faith also. And I believe that’s what kept him going this far. You never hear anything in the media about him sitting behind Flacco. And Flacco, don’t get me wrong, has been getting the job done. But to have the talent that he has and to have been sitting, it has been a blessing in disguise for him.”
On watching Taylor live at Cleveland in the preseason: “The words ‘focused’ and ‘determined’ keep coming up for me. I’m sitting there watching him every play and it just seems like, it seemed like it was effortless. I know it’s not effortless because he’s prepared. But when you are prepared, it almost becomes like ‘Wow. Why hasn’t he been a starting quarterback all this time?’ I was watching ESPN one day after work and they were talking about the quarterback battle and they didn’t even mention his name. I was, I was livid. I was upset. I thought it was unfortunate. I’m sitting there thinking, ‘Did they really not mention Tyrod?’ One of my co-workers said, ‘Hey, I think they’re going to talk about Tyrod,’ over lunch. And they didn’t even mention it. I was discouraged but then I was like, ‘We must not be watching the same film.’ And then sure enough, one or two days later he was named the starter and I was thankful for that because I was praying for him.”
On Taylor’s legacy in Virginia Tech: “He’s revered by Virginia Tech. It was like we had Michael Vick back. Mike was the one of the first players outside of Bruce Smith to electrify college football for the Hokies. Tyrod came in and had that same appeal. I felt like Tyrod had that same quality of excitement. But now it’s a different type of Tyrod. He has that patience. He’s always been a thrower and a runner, but he’s running smart. That’s the difference I see in him from other running quarterbacks. He’s kind of like Russell Wilson — when they know they need to run. When you look at RGIII, he tried to stop running and do more passing. But you still need to run, you know what I’m saying? I think Tyrod has that balance.”
On if he can find that balance after hardly playing in four years: “I think so. I think he’s displayed it. Now, time will tell. I think he’s learned. After these last five years, to me, he’s seasoned, primed and ready to go.”
On if he has any trepidation considering Taylor hasn’t started a game: “People don’t understand how much of a blessing that is. He’s fresh. His arm is fresh. It’s basically like saying you’re getting a vet in his rookie year. Tyrod’s coming in fresh as they come, but smarter than most.”