Filmroom Breakdown: Week 5


It’s been a difficult 17 years, hasn’t it? In that span of misfortune, I don’t think I can remember a player as highly scrutinized as Tyrod Taylor. The only player I can think of as close is Ryan Fitzpatrick after he inked that ridiculous 6-year $59 million deal in 2011.

Truthfully, I’m not old enough to remember the ins and outs of the 1999 season or the Doug Flutie/Rob Johnson thing, so Taylor takes the (my) cake. I already offered my extended thoughts on, so I’m not going to get into much else other than his play.

Let’s just say this: it hasn’t been pretty. Therefore, I’ll shield your eyes from most, but here are a few plays that stood out to me:

Give Zay a chance to shine  

This play is a good example of Tyrod missing an “open” receiver. I put open in quotes because sure, he has some separation with the corner, but he gains that separation after Taylor had already looked him off.

I think my biggest complaint about this play is Taylor’s feel for the defense. But maybe more than that, it’s the (lack of) feel for his own receivers that’s the most concerning. The injuries are well-documented, but I’d really like to see a concerted effort on the part of Taylor to give Jones an opportunity to make a play. With the deep high safety, he should know that there isn’t immediate help over the top of Zay. His key should have been to watch Bengals corner Adam Jones. His move to take Charles Clay in coverage opened up a huge window to lead Zay safely at the right hash. This is the sort of throw that requires confidence and anticipation, but also the ability to identify a pre-snap read. Especially with what Rick Dennison wants to do through the air, a lot of time the defense will tell you where to go with the ball; you just have to trust your eyes.

Oh no, not Charles Clay!

Say it isn’t so! The Bills’ only true vertical threat. The only guy Tyrod has confidence in to make plays, and the guy on pace for a career season. Why?

Anyway, as for the play, let’s show a nice play from Taylor here, as he does a great job throwing Clay into the open window. The route spacing is garbage because Zay allows the corner to wash him inside and disrupt two routes, but Clay was able to recover, and Taylor does a great job of completing the pass. Pocket navigation and his ability to put some needed touch on the football make this a really nice play all around.


This play stood out to me on film because of the look the defense showed Taylor on this third-and-long play. As Erik says, talk about keeping him in the pocket. Teams are covering their butts and forcing Taylor to beat them by making difficult throws down field. On this play, I think he should have likely had a completion, but there was nothing past the sticks available to Taylor. There are six guys around the line of scrimmage on this play, which means he should have a favorable matchup underneath. I like the play call having the deep in route against a 2-high safety, man under look, but Taylor doesn’t deliver the ball accurately enough. I will file this away in the “you don’t see that everyday” folder.

“Keeping the faith” – Billy Joel

This isn’t pretty. I go back to the earlier play, on which Taylor had a similar look over the middle of the field to Zay. This is a play where he needs to recognize the deep-high safety and know that his crosser has the step if it’s thrown as he makes his break. He has a very small window here before the safety becomes a factor, and I think it’s a pre-snap read thing more than it’s a “not seeing it” thing for Taylor.

I just need Taylor to grow in this area, and quickly. What it comes down to is a willingness to make a play. He has to know that in the cover 3 look, that outside corner is going to welcome, and essentially pass off, that receiver to the linebackers and safety over top. On this play he ends up trailing, but there was a play here to be made.

I know, I know. It’s frustrating, and it’s likely going to be a tough go of it for the next few weeks without the likes of Clay and Jordan Matthews. I do truly believe Taylor gives them the best chance to win, though. I said it early and I’ll say it again: he deserves 10 games to get acclimated to the offense. If this team is still in a position to be a playoff team, then he stays. If they’re out of it, then turn to Peterman and see what you have there.

But at 3-2, Sean McDermott owes it to his team. He owes it to guys like Kyle Williams who have stuck it out when it looked ugly. Benching Taylor in favor of the unproven rookie would be a terrible look, so for everyone’s sake, let’s hope they get things figured out.


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