LONDON – After missing last Sunday’s loss against the Cincinnati Bengals, Tyrod Taylor said Tuesday he’s optimistic about his chances of starting at quarterback when the Buffalo Bills face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.
“My mind right now is to get out” Wednesday “and actually get out there and practice,” Taylor said after he and several teammates used their off day to take part in a youth event at the training ground for the Tottenham Hotspur soccer team. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Taylor was limited in workouts last week because of a sprained MCL in his left knee suffered against the Tennessee Titans. EJ Manuel took his place against the Bengals and struggled, along with the rest of the team, in a 34-21 loss.
“Feeling good,” Taylor said. “Taking it day by day. Made a lot of progress this past week. … It’s progressed, each and every day. Like I said, my body feels good and I’m looking forward to getting back out there practicing.”
He said he has no limitations in his movement.
Despite the fact Manuel took the majority of practice snaps, Taylor said he prepared for the Cincinnati game as if he was going to be the starter. However, he added that he let the coaches make the decision, based off the recommendation of the trainers as well, late in the week.
“Of course, it’s some of my say-so, as far as body-wise,” the quarterback said. “But the best decision, listening to the trainers, was to not go out there.”
Still, after leading the Bills to victories in three of their first five games, Taylor had a tough time watching them fall to 3-3. He’s eager to do his part to help them rebound quickly.
“I want to do whatever I can do to help the team win the football game,” Taylor said. “And if I’m healthy to get out there and do that, I’m going to try my best when I’m out there on the field. The main thing is that I’m healthy, and, like I said, I feel good.”
Last Sunday’s loss hasn’t left him discouraged about where the Bills are headed.
“Like I said from the beginning of the season, we have a special team,” Taylor said. “We have to go out and play smart each and every week. We know, moving forward, how much each week means to us as a team, so we have to treat it like that as well.”
The Bills have been ravaged by injuries, especially on offense. Besides Taylor, wide receiver Percy Harvin missed the Cincinnati game with a hip injury and could be out this week as well.
Wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who injured his ankle against the Bengals, is another possible scratch.
Yet another receiver, Marquise Goodwin, was placed on the season-ending injured-reserve list Tuesday after re-injuring his ribs last Sunday.
Offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson could be out with a concussion he suffered against the Bengals, while running back Karlos Williams has been sidelined the last two games with a concussion and his status for the Jacksonville game is unknown.
Taylor did his best to try to downplay the additional challenge the injuries present, choosing not to follow the lead of coach Rex Ryan, who called the Bills “snake bit” and said the injuries have adversely impacted the team’s morale.
“It’s the same challenge each and every week,” Taylor said. “Most of it comes down to our execution, regardless of who’s in the game. Of course, you like to have those playmakers out there, but if they can’t go, we have tremendous belief and confidence in the guys that are going to play and I’m looking forward to those guys going out there and make plays.
“Definitely unfortunate, the guys getting injured. But those injuries are out of our control. We have to deal with it and move forward. You wish those guys a speedy recovery, but moving forward we have to take the guys that are going to play and get them the most reps we can in practice and get them prepared for games.”
Watkins spoke out before the Cincinnati game about wanting more targets. He was granted his wish, with five of them leading to four receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown before he left the game just before halftime with the injured ankle.
However, Taylor made it clear that getting the ball to Watkins wasn’t any greater a priority than putting it in the hands of the other receivers.
“I just try to get out there and get the ball to the open guy,” he said. “We know what type of playmaker he is. We know, once the ball gets in his hands, what he can do with the football. But we have to let the game come to us. At the end of the day, whatever it takes to win the football game is what we have to do.”
As with his teammates, Taylor has had some adjusting to a time zone that is five hours later than Buffalo’s.
He had some difficulty sleeping Monday night after the Bills, who departed on Sunday night, arrived here Monday morning.
“I didn’t really know what time I was on,” Taylor said. “By the time practice rolls around” Wednesday, “I should be well rested. It should be a normal week to us. We should be feeling like normal.”