Phil Simms, who played quarterback for the New York football Giants for 14 seasons, thinks Tyrod Taylor’s critics are too harsh.
Simms this year transitioned from game broadcaster to being a studio analyst with “The NFL Today,” the CBS pregame show. He also works on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.” He spent a few minutes by phone this week talking about the Bills’ playoff matchup with the Jaguars, and Simms thinks people who want Taylor to play like a gunslinger are off base.
“It’s amazing that we’ve had this conversation, on Showtime, or on 'The NFL Today,' so many times,” Simms said. “I watch the games closely. Overall is he a cautious thrower? Yes. You can’t have everything. You can’t have a guy score 40 points a game in basketball if you tell him, ‘Only take the really good shots when you’re wide open.’
“Tyrod Taylor has survived in the NFL and is where he is now playing his style, that’s how he was taught and brought in by Rex Ryan, and he’s kind of continued this year. What do we want from him? It’s not like he’s throwing to the receiving group of the Los Angeles Rams. So there are limitations there.
“You know, everybody complains about turnovers, but when there are no turnovers, people say, ‘Well, you’re not taking enough chances, we need more points.’ He’s going to continue to play the way he is playing. To me it’s been consistent, you know what you’re dealing with, you know what he’s going to give you, now you game plan and build around that as you play the game.”
Simms compared the Bills’ quarterback to Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Alex Smith understands who he is, what he can do on the field, and they maximize it, and that’s why he’s in the position to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.”
Taylor “is very careful with the football, so that’s huge in Buffalo’s favor” against the Jaguars, Simms said.
Simms is expecting a close game on Sunday.
“We know that Jacksonville is going to run the ball and try to control it that way, and I think that helps Buffalo, too. They can really play the run. And to me the strength of the Buffalo defense is their secondary, so go ahead and let your secondary come through for you. In other words, play to your strengths.
“”Their secondary played well all year, and Tyrod is not a mistake-ridden quarterback, doesn’t take many chances. Those by far are the two biggest factors in Buffalo’s favor going into the game.”
Simms doesn’t expect high scoring. “It could very well be 17-10 in the fourth quarter, that’s how I see it.
“The Buffalo Bills are somewhat like the Jacksonville Jaguars in this respect, they’ve got a style of play right now that lends itself to the game being somewhat close. Unless we see unforeseen things, fumbles are picked up and run for touchdowns, big special teams plays … the ball is crazy, it bounces everywhere. But I think they are both kind of built on the same philosophy and foundation. Extremely sound, great technique, and let’s play the thing this way.”
If the Bills win on Sunday, their reward is a date in Foxborough the following Saturday night to face the Patriots. Simms said that while the NFL is unpredictable, “If you said, OK, Phil, you have to make a choice, of course I’m going to pick the Patriots. The problem is, you can battle with them and it’s halfway through the fight and you think, man, we’re right in here. The next thing you look up you’re down 17 points.
“They just have the ability, the talent, the experience, the history, and they’ve been together so long that they just keep throwing haymakers at you. They just keep doing it. Most teams run out of haymakers halfway through the game. The Patriots never run out of haymakers and that’s what makes them so hard to beat.”
Simms was replaced by Tony Romo as CBS’ lead game analyst this season. After 17 weeks of the season as a studio analyst, he says he’s enjoying his new role while learning on the job.
“First of all, the day is really long (on Sunday), it’s easily a 13-hour day,” he said. “But there’s so much going on. I’m used to doing one game, as a broadcaster. … Now you go into a studio show and you are prepared to talk about all of the games, but time is limited and there are so many games going on at once that you can’t really define what is going on. I’ve learned as we talk about games that the time is short to condense and get a simple thought out on something that maybe people don’t know or pay attention to. But it is fun. Doing the show is fun and following the whole league is great.”
On Tuesday, CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor, the Tonawanda native and well-known Bills fan, was a guest on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” with Simms, James Brown, Boomer Esiason and Ray Lewis.
Glor said on the show, “There were three games in a row there that were some of the worst games I’ve ever seen, we (the Bills) just got crushed. I think it was three-and-a-half games if you count the second half of the Jets game. We were all like, what is going on? They were playing above expectations to start the season, and then way below them. We evened out. Based on where the team was after those games, I thought there was no way. … In terms of the moment the Bengals-Ravens play that happened, it’s certainly right up there with the comeback over the Oilers.”
Simms said he asked Glor off camera about riding high as a Bills fan this week. Glor said he had one small problem.
“Glor said, ‘Yes, before I came on the show I was looking into flights (to Jacksonville) and they’re all booked,’” Simms said. “I said, yes, that’s what I’ve heard, the flights are tough to get.
“It’s great that these two teams are back in the playoffs, so these teams became part of what we talk about more and more. You just can’t have enough good teams in the NFL. It makes it great for the fans and makes it great for people like me.”