Tyrod Taylor

Texans HC David Culley On QB Davis Mills

Due to the legal drama surrounding Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, along with Watson’s insistence that he will never play another snap for the Texans, Houston has made several high-profile additions to its QB room. The team signed veteran Tyrod Taylor in March, and then used its first choice in the 2021 draft (No. 67 overall) on Stanford signal-caller Davis Mills.

Obviously, there is no way to know when Watson’s legal situation will be wrapped up. There may or may not have been recent settlement talks between his legal team and the team representing the 22 women who have filed lawsuits against him, but even a best-case scenario for Watson — a dismissal of the suits (which isn’t happening) or a quick settlement that allows him to escape a major financial hit — still leaves the Texans in a bind because of Watson’s previous trade demands.

A settlement, along with minimal or no punishment from the league, would at least allow Watson’s trade market to heat back up. One way or another, it appears that the Texans will be rolling with either Taylor or Mills when the 2021 regular season opens, and new head coach David Culley had a lot of good things to say about Mills during a press conference yesterday.

“Davis Mills, I thought [GM Nick Caserio‘s] staff did a great job of all of a sudden earmarking a guy that fit what a quarterback in the NFL is all about,” Culley said (via the Texans’ PR department). “Obviously he didn’t play as much football as some of the other guys because of the COVID situation in the Pac-12, but we really love what he’s all about. We love all of the intangibles he has. He’s a pro-type NFL quarterback and we feel good to have him. He’s smart. He can make all the throws and we feel good and feel fortunate that we’re able to get him when we got him.”

The Texans would presumably like for Mills to beat out Taylor for the starting job so that they can get a complete picture of what the rookie can do and set their 2022 priorities accordingly. But when Culley was asked how important it is to give Mills ample playing time this season, Culley had something of a predictable answer. “We’re not looking at it like that,” he said. “We’re looking at it like there’s going to be competition at all positions. This is a new football team here. Basically, we’ve created competition all around this football team. Not just at the quarterback position, but basically at all positions.”

At least one NFL scouting director believes Mills could have been a first-round pick in 2022 if he had stayed in school, so there is some cause for optimism for a franchise that appears to be headed for a major rebuild. “Davis Mills, man, the ball comes out of his hand really nice,” the scouting director said (via veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson on Twitter). “His release quickness is really good. A lot of people around the league are saying he could have been a first-round draft pick next year if he had stayed in school. Very intriguing.”

When asked specifically about Watson, Culley said, “we have nothing to say about that situation at this time.”

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Texans To Sign QB Tyrod Taylor

Texans brass has continued to insist Deshaun Watson will not be traded, but the team is signing another starter-caliber quarterback. They agreed to terms with Tyrod Taylor on Tuesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

The now-well-traveled stopgap starter/backup option can make up to $12.5MM on this one-year deal with Houston, Schefter adds.NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that Taylor’s deal has a base value of $5.5MM, including $2.5MM guaranteed.

While Taylor would certainly not be an impediment to Watson, were Houston’s starter to reverse course, the 10-year vet represents a potential bridge option for a Texans team attempting to avoid a major transition.

Houston will add Taylor on an incentive-laden deal similar to the contracts Cam Newton and Jameis Winston recently agreed to, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. It would seem Taylor’s compensation will largely depend on how Houston proceeds with Watson.

Following Philip Rivers‘ defection to the Colts last year, the Chargers turned to Taylor. But a mishap with a pregame injection resulted in an earlier-than-expected transition to Justin Herbert. Taylor’s previous understudy started the Bolts’ final 15 games, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year acclaim. Taylor has now been a backup for most of the past three seasons.

Entering his age-32 season, Taylor has started just four games since 2018. Prior to that, however, the dual-threat QB did operate as Buffalo’s starter for three seasons. New Texans HC David Culley was Taylor’s position coach in 2017. While the risk-averse passer did well to limit turnovers, he did not offer much in the way of upside. That remains the case. Taylor would make sense as both a Watson backup and, in what would be the Texans’ emergency scenario, a bridge starter as the team attempts to construct a rebuild effort.

The bridge-QB market has moved since Monday night. Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Andy Dalton have chosen destinations. They followed Newton in doing so. Each could well be starters next season. Like Washington, Chicago and New England, the Texans are not in position to land one of the top quarterback prospects in the draft. As of now, they do not hold a first- or second-round pick this year. While Watson would net the Texans a bounty of picks, Culley and GM Nick Caserio have insisted — the former in roundabout fashion — that Watson was not going anywhere.

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Chargers’ Tyrod Taylor Won’t File Grievance

Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor has declined to file a grievance against the team or the team doctor who accidentally punctured his lung earlier this season, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The mishap sidelined Taylor in Week 2, opening the door for Justin Herbert to take over as the starting quarterback. 

At the time, head coach Anthony Lynn insisted that Taylor would get his job back once he was medically cleared. Then, when Herbert impressed, he stuck with the rookie and left Taylor on the bench. It’s especially unfortunate for Taylor since he will be eligible for free agency in the spring. But, fortunately, Taylor’s decision seems to indicate that he won’t have lasting damage as a result of the puncture. If he was at risk for a long-term problem, he would have had a good chance of winning a grievance against the other parties, because it would have impacted his future health and earnings.

The NFLPA will continue to look into the matter, according to Rapoport. And, to avoid similar situations for other players, the union is looking into changing protocols for how and when players can receive painkilling injections, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets.

The Chargers, with Herbert under center, will face the Patriots on Sunday afternoon.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.