One question rises above all else this offseason for the Buffalo Bills: Is Tyrod Taylor a franchise quarterback?
The team sounds prepared to let Taylor enter a contract year. GM Doug Whaley said he still needs to see more out of him. And in Sunday's Buffalo News' story, which is live online now, we caught up with a panel of experts to answer this question. Former coaches Brian Billick and Kevin Gilbride, quarterbacks Warren Moon, Rich Gannon and Mark Brunell and teammate Eric Wood all weigh in.
On NFL Network Saturday morning, this question was posed to Taylor himself.
"Ultimately, the management makes that decision," Taylor said. "I think I've shown what I can do. I'm going to continue to get better. I love working with the guys we have there and I love being around my team and the coaches so I just have to continue to keep working."
In his first season as a starter, and his fifth season in the NFL, Taylor went 8-6 with 3,035 passing yards, a Bills QB-record 568 rushing yards, 24 total touchdowns, six interceptions and a 99.4 passer rating.
In our virtual roundtable, Billick dismissed the notion that defenses with championships. Here's an extra response from Billick on the topic...
"It’s a quarterback-driven league," Billick said. "All of the rules are bent that way. The idea that ‘defense wins championship’ is kind of a myth in today’s game. Obviously people will bring up my Baltimore Ravens and the next year New England, and the next year Tampa Bay that you can win Super Bowls with defense, running the ball and less-than Hall of Fame quarterbacks. But that was a different time. We were void of quarterback play. Our run to the Super Bowl — taking nothing away from our defense—was Gus Frerotte in Denver, Steve McNair — who God rest his soul was a damn good quarterback — but we were familiar with Steve, Rich Gannon who in Oakland when we played them was handing the ball off to the No. 1 running attack in the game, and Kerry Collins.
"So if you’re going to make a run through the playoffs today that may include one or more of the above: Brady, Manning, Aaron Rodgers, a Palmer, Russell Wilson. You’re going to have to go through those quarterbacks.”
Billick believes Taylor needs to become a 30-35 throw QB capable of winning a game on his own before the Bills show him the money.
Thus, it was interesting to see Billick ask Taylor on Saturday's pregame show about playing for a defensive-minded head coach. Again, Taylor reiterated the need to take care of the ball.
"Taking care of the ball is definitely something we preach in the offensive room," Taylor said. "You have to be smart with the ball. ... Not play scared but calculated risks."
Taylor picked the New England Patriots to beat the Kansas City Chiefs. Asked about the opportunity to start in general, he said it's something he has "waited for, for a long time."
And the Bills quarterback also called offensive coordinator Greg Roman "a brilliant coach" who "does a great job each and every week of scheming the running game and finding holes in the defense in the passing game."