Trent Green didn't notice any difference from the Tyrod Taylor he saw during the Buffalo Bills' surprising Oct. 1 victory at Atlanta and the one he watched in their stunning triumph at Kansas City Sunday.
"I think that Tyrod is who Tyrod is," Green, the former NFL quarterback who was an analyst for CBS Sports' television coverage of both games, said by phone Tuesday. "I saw him several times look downfield. What he's not going to do is, even though he has the arm to do it, if it's not there he's not going to force it just because everybody wants him to throw downfield.
"It's the same criticism that (Chiefs quarterback) Alex Smith is under quite a bit, too. Because when you get those one-on-ones, if there's not separation, Alex isn't going to throw it. And Tyrod's very similar. If he doesn't see the separation, he's not going to just make it a jump ball and let the guy try to attack and go get it."
That didn't change, even though when Taylor faced the Atlanta Falcons, he hadn't been benched the previous week, as was the case entering the Chiefs game.
Green wondered whether Taylor might feel compelled to take a different approach to address what prompted coach Sean McDermott to conclude the Bills were better off with rookie Nathan Peterman as their starter against the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 19.
"We can all speculate as to why it was done," Green said of the benching. "I know there's been a lot said about trying to be more aggressive, trying to push the ball down the field more and be more aggressive. I think that's been the overlying idea that I've gotten throughout the last couple of weeks of studying and trying to figure out why they made the change. And you can understand that."
But Green thought Taylor did the right thing by not trying to force deep throws simply because of McDermott's decision two weeks ago to start Peterman, whose five first-half interceptions against the Chargers caused him to be replaced by Taylor in the second half.
The Bills' smothering defensive effort in their 16-10 upset of the Chiefs didn't require Taylor to do much more than be efficient and his typically careful self with the football.
"There are certain games you know you have to be more aggressive than others, because you know the other team's going to put up a lot of points," Green said. "But what Tyrod realized in that game is that the Chiefs weren't doing much offensively — that the Bills, defensively, were dialed in. All quarterbacks hate the label 'game manager,' but I think that he did a great job of understanding what was needed, from a risk standpoint, and I thought he managed it very well."
Green said that Taylor shared his raw feelings about being benched the day before last Sunday's game during a production meeting with Green, Greg Gumbel and the rest of CBS' broadcast crew.
"He was hurt by it," Green said. "It never feels good to have someone tell you you're getting benched. I know it did hurt him. I know that he was confused by it. He didn't know exactly what specific points why it was all happening."
The move triggered criticism — some of it directed toward McDermott for compromising the Bills' playoff chances and some of it directed toward Taylor, who heard the familiar comments about his unwillingness to take chances with his throws.
"There's no way you can escape it," Green said. "As much as you try and avoid it, you know it's going to be there. And then it hits you that much closer to home when, all of a sudden, you're benched and they put the other guy in. And then you come back in and it's like, 'OK, do I need to make an adjustment?' And I think what he did was, he was smart enough and aware enough (to know) that's part of playing the position."
Green credited Taylor with responding by staying true to himself and by displaying professionalism.
"He said, 'The whole thing I've been my entire career is I'm a professional. I'm going to come in and try and approach it the same and be the same every week,' " Green said.
It was that professionalism, Green believes, that went a long way toward inspiring other players on the team to play as well as they did to help carry the Bills to victory.
"The other players (who also met with CBS' broadcast team) said the amazing thing about it is, you can be divisive and try and divide the locker room, but the impressive thing was (Taylor) didn't change: his demeanor in the locker room, his attitude on the practice field, his attitude in the meetings," Green said. "He still was one of the leaders of the team trying to gather guys up and give motivational talks and try to pep guys up. And I think that that has something to do with how you're all of a sudden able to transition back into being a starter when guys see you handle things a certain way — not being selfish, being more about the team.
"I think that's why the team was able to respond the way it did because they have a lot of respect for the way he handled the whole situation."