Tyrod Taylor

Chargers’ Tyrod Taylor Cleared To Return

Tyrod Taylor could dress for a game for the first time since Week 1. The veteran quarterback received medical clearance to return from the punctured lung he suffered in September, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

A chest injection prior to the Chargers’ Week 2 game against the Chiefs ended up sidelining Taylor for more than a month, leading to the Week 1 starter’s role changing upon return. Justin Herbert is now Los Angeles’ QB1. While that promotion would likely have come to fruition at some point this season, Taylor lost his job because of the injection mishap. The NFLPA began an investigation into this matter.

The Chargers have listed Taylor as questionable to dress for their Week 7 game against the Jaguars, but it appears likely he will suit up. Taylor practiced fully all week. Second-year passer Easton Stick has served as Herbert’s backup since the rookie took over.

Taylor being in uniform would certainly serve as a plus for the Chargers, who have one of the NFL’s top backups. The 31-year-old passer backed up Philip Rivers last season and, after being replaced in September 2018, was Baker Mayfield‘s caddy in Cleveland for most of a season. Taylor’s familiarity with Anthony Lynn goes back to their 2016 season together in Buffalo, when Lynn’s in-season promotion to offensive coordinator led to his Chargers hire.

Herbert has surpassed expectations in his first games as the Bolts’ starter. Despite injuries to Austin Ekeler, both his top receivers and multiple high-profile offensive linemen, the rookie quarterback ranks 12th in QBR and has thrown seven touchdown passes over his past two games. Taylor’s Chargers contract expires after the 2020 season.

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Chargers To Keep Justin Herbert As Starter

Anthony Lynn has acknowledged what became known fairly early in Justin Herbert‘s three-game run subbing for an injured Tyrod Taylor. The fourth-year Chargers HC confirmed the quarterback job is Herbert’s going forward.

Lynn had previously kept the door open for Taylor to reclaim the job when he recovered from the chest injury a pregame shot aggravated just before the Bolts’ Week 2 game. In stepped Herbert, a rookie who was a candidate to sit behind Taylor for many games this season. But the rookie has outperformed expectations and will keep the starting job.

This represents another abrupt end to a Taylor bridge-QB period. The Browns moved to Baker Mayfield in Week 3 of the 2018 season, and Taylor did not start another game in a one-season Cleveland stay. His 2020 starting stint did not end up lasting that long. Taylor, who backed up Philip Rivers in 2019, will return to a QB2 role. Taylor, who started under Lynn in Buffalo during a three-season run as the team’s top quarterback, has not dressed since a lung-puncturing chest injection paused his season.

Although Herbert was linked to the Dolphins at No. 5 overall at points leading up to the draft, Scouts Inc. ranked the Oregon passer far behind Tua Tagovailoa overall. When the Dolphins drafted Tagovailoa, the Bolts quickly nabbed Herbert at No. 6. So far, the 6-foot-6 prospect has impressed. In Week 4, he helped the Bolts gain a three-score lead on the Buccaneers in a game that featured three Herbert touchdown passes — to UDFAs Tyron Johnson, Donald Parham and Jalen Guyton — and an 80% completion rate. Through three games, Herbert ranks 12th in QBR.

Herbert being ahead of the curve, despite some skepticism coming out of the draft and an offseason altered by the pandemic, would be a major win for a Chargers team that has enjoyed QB stability for most of this century. The Bolts signed a few 30-something veteran starters best suited to play for a contending team now. While the Chargers are 1-3, Herbert’s early promise would help the likes of Bryan Bulaga, Linval Joseph and Chris Harris contribute to a contender either in 2020 or ’21 — rather than play for a team dealing with uncertainty at quarterback.

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Latest On Chargers’ QB Tyrod Taylor

We already knew that Chargers QB Tyrod Taylor would be unavailable for the team’s contest against the Panthers this afternoon, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that the veteran signal-caller will also miss next Sunday’s game against the Bucs. Rookie Justin Herbert will continue to get the call in Taylor’s absence.

Taylor, of course, suffered a punctured lung at the hands of a team doctor last week when the doctor was administering a pain-killing shot for Taylor’s rib injury. Schefter reported a few days ago that the NFLPA was looking into the matter, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports elaborated on that point this morning.

According to La Canfora, the union is seeking clarity on the timeline of events, whether there was any negligence or malpractice on the part of the doctor, and whether Taylor is now more susceptible to long-term injuries as a result of any such negligence. The investigation will also focus on how Taylor’s future earning potential might have been impacted.

Indeed, while the Chargers continue to insist that Taylor will be reinstated as the starting QB when he is healthy enough to return, that will be a difficult sell for HC Anthony Lynn if Herbert continues to play well. The rookie nearly pulled off an upset over the division rival Chiefs last week, and according to Schefter, his teammates already view him as a strong leader. So Taylor could point to the medical mishap as the turning point in his fortunes with the club.

On the other hand, the plan was always for Taylor, who is eligible for free agency next year, to serve as a bridge to Herbert. So as long as Taylor’s punctured lung did not cause any lasting damage, it seems as if the team would have a good chance of defeating any earnings loss claim that the union might bring on Taylor’s behalf.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers’ Tyrod Taylor Has Punctured Lung

A Chargers team doctor accidentally punctured quarterback Tyrod Taylor‘s lung just prior to Sunday’s game while administering a pain-killing shot, sources tell ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (Twitter links). Taylor was preparing to play through broken ribs before matters were made worse by the complication. 

Taylor is now looking at an extended absence and doctors have advised him to stay home “indefinitely,” according to Schefter. Rookie Justin Herbert — who was thrust into action against the Chiefs — is now slated to start against the Panthers on Sunday. Odds are, Taylor will need even more time to heal after that point.

The NFLPA is looking into the matter, Schefter hears. Meanwhile, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn insists that Taylor will resume his role as the team’s starter once he’s able to return to the field. For what it’s worth, the Bolts pushed the defending champs to overtime on Sunday with Herbert under center. If he’s able to keep up the good work, the Chargers could be looking at a tricky situation when Taylor is finally cleared.

Taylor, 31, was a three-year starter for the Bills between 2015 and 2017. During his 2015 Pro Bowl campaign, Taylor averaged 8.0 yards per pass, threw 20 touchdown passes, six interceptions and ran for 568 yards. All in all, he owns a career 23-21-1 record as a starter. Taylor is historically safe with the football: among quarterbacks with at least 1,000 attempts since 2015, Taylor ranks third in interception percentage.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Notes: Bolts, Broncos, Incognito

Tyrod Taylor could be on the verge of being benched in September for a second time in three seasons. A chest injury he was battling caused Justin Herbert to be called upon Sunday, and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo report Taylor received a pregame injection to the area (Twitter link). Complications ensued, prompting Chargers HC Anthony Lynn to call on Herbert. While the No. 6 overall pick fared better than could be expected, given the lack of offseason prep time, Lynn has not named him the Chargers’ Week 3 starter. The fourth-year coach said he will turn back to Taylor when he is “100%” recovered from the chest setback.

Whether “100%” will be how the Bolts justify keeping Herbert in the lineup or not, it would seem difficult for the team to give the job back to its bridge starter. The Chargers drafted a quarterback in the first four rounds for the first time since 2006 and saw him throw for 311 yards in an overtime loss, making it entirely possible Taylor is benched again. The Browns sidelined Taylor after three starts in 2017.

Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • Von Miller has not given up on returning this season. The Broncos‘ future Hall of Fame linebacker has been studying how some non-NFL athletes returned in three months from the injury he suffered — as opposed to the four- to six-month timetable he was given after suffering a dislocated peroneal tendon — and has told teammates he could return in mid-December, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. However, since this report surfaced, the Broncos lost Drew Lock for perhaps more than a month and Courtland Sutton for the season. They are already down A.J. Bouye and Phillip Lindsay for the foreseeable future, making a playoff run more difficult to envision. As for Miller’s long-term future, the 31-year-old pass rusher has told teammates he is eyeing five or six more seasons, per La Canfora. This tracks with previous Miller plans.
  • Speaking of Lindsay, the Pro Bowl running back will almost certainly miss Week 3 and may be out longer. Rather than turf toe, Lindsay is dealing with a toe sprain, Rapoport notes. This represents a tough break for the UDFA success story, who was discussing an extension shortly after last season’s conclusion. However, the Broncos instead opted to sign Melvin Gordon to a two-year, $8MM deal. Lindsay is set for restricted free agency in 2021.
  • Brandon McManus‘ four-year, $17MM Broncos extension will guarantee the Denver kicker $4MM in 2021, but Mike Klis of 9News notes the deal’s final three seasons are not guaranteed (Twitter link). McManus is due to earn base salaries of $3MM (2022), $3.75MM (’23) and $3.95MM (’24) over the course of the deal, which also came with a $2.5MM signing bonus. The Broncos have used McManus as their kicker since 2014 but are not committed to him beyond 2021.
  • Richie Incognito left Monday night’s Raiders win with an Achilles issue, but the veteran guard may not miss any time. Incognito aggravated a previous injury but did not suffer a tear, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The Raiders were already down right tackle Trent Brown, due to a reportedly not serious calf injury, and backup tackle Sam Young against the Saints.

Justin Herbert Starts At QB For Chargers

The NFL debut of Justin Herbert is coming in unexpected fashion. Just moments before kickoff, the Chargers announced the rookie first-rounder would be making his first career start.

In an unusual situation, normal starter Tyrod Taylor apparently injured his chest during pregame warmups and needed to be pulled. That meant the sixth overall pick of April’s draft was suddenly thrust into his first real action without being prepped for it against the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs.

He certainly didn’t look overwhelmed initially, scoring a touchdown on his first pro drive. There’s no word yet on how serious the injury to Taylor is, but we’ll be sure to pass on word to you shortly. Taylor entered the season as the starter, but it was likely only a matter of time before the Oregon product took over anyway.

Los Angeles escaped with a narrow victory over the Bengals in Week 1, but Taylor didn’t play too well and failed to move the offense consistently. If Herbert plays well today against Kansas City he probably won’t be relinquishing the job regardless of Taylor’s health.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

QB Notes: Washington, Taylor, Ravens

Here are the latest developments from quarterback rooms around the league. At least 11 teams will go with different starting QBs compared to Week 1 of last season. Two teams confirmed they are going in that direction Wednesday:

  • Alex Smith has made a remarkable recovery, having returned to team drills after undergoing 17 surgeries to repair career-altering injuries. But Washington ended any suspense about its quarterback competition Wednesday, announcing Dwayne Haskins will start in Week 1. This was the expected route for the rebuilding team, which selected Haskins 15th overall last year. Kyle Allen is in line to back up the second-year player, with Smith looming as a wild card. The latter is guaranteed a $16MM base salary this season.
  • Hard Knocks has given more attention to Justin Herbert‘s throws, but Tyrod Taylor did not lose his job in the Chargers‘ abbreviated offseason. While the No. 6 overall pick looms, Anthony Lynn did not throw a curveball and named Taylor as his Week 1 starter. “Tyrod Taylor is our starter right now,” Lynn said, via ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez. “Until someone steps up and shows that they can run this team, that’s [how] we’re going into it.” Taylor was a Week 1 starter from 2015-18 and worked with Lynn in Buffalo from 2015-16. While Herbert should be expected to take this job at some point this season, Taylor may have it for longer than he held off Baker Mayfield two years ago in Cleveland.
  • In a lower-stakes competition, the Ravens have not decided on their third quarterback. Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin III are locked in, but Baltimore’s QB3 race between Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley remains “up in the air,” Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com tweets. McSorley, a sixth-round 2019 pick out of Penn State, held this job last year. The Ravens signed Huntley as a UDFA out of Utah this year. The latter was a three-year starter for the Utes, though McSorley was the more productive college passer and rusher.
  • Both the Cowboys and Falcons changed up their quarterback depth charts Wednesday. The latter brought in a former Giants mid-round pick.

Peter King’s Latest On 2020 NFL Draft

While Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah is widely viewed as the top defensive back in the 2020 draft class, at least one general manager thinks a portion of NFL decision-makers may have a different view. “I bet 40% of the teams in the league have C.J. Henderson higher on their boards than Okudah,” the anonymous GM told Peter King of NBC Sports. “Better cover guy.” Henderson, a Florida product with 30 total games and a 2019 All-SEC nod under his belt, is pegged as a first-round pick, but it would certainly be a surprise if he came off the board before Okudah, who is thought to be a potential top-five selection.

Let’s take a look at a few more draft tidbits from King’s latest column:

  • The Chargers‘ quarterback situation continues to a conundrum. While a source close to Los Angeles GM Tom Telesco tells King Telesco is high on Oregon signal-caller Justin Herbert, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn has faith in incumbent Tyrod Taylor. In fact, Lynn might be comfortable starting Taylor even beyond the 2020 season.
  • While the Chargers may target a quarterback in the first round, don’t expect the Jaguars to go after a passer with the ninth overall pick, per King. Jacksonville intends to give 2019 sixth-rounder Gardner Minshew a legitimate shot at becoming a full-time NFL starter after trading veteran Nick Foles to the Bears earlier this month.
  • Although the 49ers are already loaded along their defensive line (even after trading DeForest Buckner to the Colts), they could still target even more front four help in the first round. Specifically, San Francisco could be eyeing a defensive tackle such as South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw. The 49ers own both the 13th and 31st picks on Day 1 of the draft, leaving them ample opportunities to address nee areas.
  • The Cowboys may look to find a replacement for All-Pro center Travis Frederick after he announced his retirement earlier this year, but at least one rival executive tells King that Dallas won’t spend the 17th pick on a pivot. However, that same executive believes the Cowboys are fans of Michigan interior lineman Cesar Ruiz, and could trade down before selecting the ex-Wolverine.
  • One NFL GM tells King the Patriots “love” Herbert, but may not be infatuated enough to trade up from pick No. 23. Indeed, New England would likely need to sacrifice a 2021 first-round pick in order to move into Herbert range.

Latest On Chargers’ Mike Pouncey, QB Situation

Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn spoke at length with reporters yesterday, and two of the most significant topics he covered were the team’s quarterback situation and center Mike Pouncey‘s status.

Pouncey, who spent the first seven years of his career with the Dolphins, was released by Miami in March 2018 and quickly caught on with the Chargers. The pickup proved to be a savvy one for the Bolts, as Pouncey rewarded the team with a Pro Bowl performance and agreed to a one-year extension prior to the 2019 campaign that kept him under club control through 2020.

Unfortunately, the 2019 season did not go as planned for Pouncey or the Chargers. Pouncey landed on IR with a neck injury that required surgery, and as Lynn observed, the 30-year-old pivot has not yet been cleared for football activities (Twitter link via Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times). However, Lynn does expect Pouncey to be cleared by the time players reconvene — whenever that is — and he suggested that he is comfortable with the club’s other options in the event Pouncey is not ready to go. Dan Feeney, currently penciled in at left guard, and 2018 fifth-rounder Scott Quessenberry combined to fill the void left by Pouncey, but neither player performed particularly well in that role.

As for the team’s QB situation, Lynn confirmed that Tyrod Taylor is the team’s starter for now, as Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com writes. That is not at all surprising given that the only other signal-caller currently on the roster is 2019 fifth-rounder Easton Stick, but Lynn did create a little intrigue. Per Thiry, Lynn was asked specifically about the Chargers’ interest in Cam Newton, and after initially avoiding a similar question, Lynn said, “[w]e’re looking at everybody. I want to turn over every single rock, so yeah, we’re looking at everybody.”

More likely than not, that statement is basic coach-speak. After all, we heard just a couple of weeks ago that the Chargers have no intention of acquiring another veteran QB to compete with Taylor, and it seems more plausible that the club will select a QB with the No. 6 overall pick and roll into the 2020 season with Taylor and the rookie passer at the top of the depth chart. On the other hand, Los Angeles is built to win now, and its offseason moves were clearly made with an eye towards competing in 2020. If healthy, Newton is a dramatic upgrade over Taylor — whose release would free up $5MM of cap space — so it stands to reason that Lynn would at least consider that option.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bolts Not Expected To Acquire Veteran QB

Finishing as the Tom Brady silver or bronze medalists — depending on how close the Patriots came in that pursuit — the Chargers may be moving in a different direction. It may have been Brady-or-bust regarding Los Angeles’ interest in adding a veteran quarterback.

The Bolts are not expected to sign or trade for a veteran quarterback, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. As of now, they are moving forward with Tyrod Taylor.

This points to the team being prepared to use its No. 6 overall pick on a quarterback or trade up for one. The Chargers have not selected a first-round quarterback since Eli Manning 16 years ago. The team announced early in the offseason it was moving on from 38-year-old Philip Rivers, its starter since 2006. That leaves Taylor, whom the Bolts signed last offseason.

Taylor being a bridge passer would not be a new role for the veteran. The 30-year-old quarterback served in this role with the Browns in 2018, coming over in a trade prior to Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield pick. The Chargers have been linked to Justin Herbert at No. 6, and Utah State’s Jordan Love could factor into this equation. Teams’ quarterback pursuits will be more difficult to pin down. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL banned pre-draft visits this year.