The chance to beat the Ravens on Sunday has to be special for Tyrod Taylor.
Not that Taylor left the Ravens with hard feelings. But beating his former team would more be evidence of Taylor’s rapid career climb, from backup to Joe Flacco for four years (2011-14), to starting quarterback with the Bills.
“I’m excited to go back and play against those guys,” Taylor said during a conference call Wednesday. “As far as coming into the stadium on the opposite side, that will definitely be different. I haven’t been back to Baltimore, to M&T Bank Stadium, since I left.”
Taylor has been busy. Last year he won the starting job, led the Bills to an 8-6 record during his starts, and completed 63.7 percent of his passes for 3,035 yards, 20 TD’s, and just six interceptions.
That solid play led to a contract extension for Taylor. But he knows some people are still not convinced he’ll be the man in Buffalo long term.
“People are always going to doubt,” Taylor said.
“That doesn’t motivate, or take my focus away. My job is to do whatever it takes to find a way to win. What motivates me is being the best on the field each and every week.”
Taylor and Flacco remain close. Taylor texted Flacco within hours of his season-ending knee injury last year, and they spoke on the telephone as Taylor offered encouragement. For four years Flacco and Taylor sat in meetings together, watched film together, and exchanged ideas. Taylor said all of that helped him develop.
“I’ve definitely learned from Joe, watching a guy for four years, his daily preparation in the classroom, how he took his preparation to the field in practice and in games,” Taylor said. “We learned from three different coordinators together, (which) allowed us to pick up offenses in a short manner of time.”
When Taylor’s contract expired after the 2014 season, the Ravens were interested in having Taylor re-sign as Flacco’s backup. But the chance to start in Buffalo was something Taylor couldn’t pass up.
Now Taylor is preparing to make his return to Baltimore, not as a backup, but as a threat to lead the Bills to victory. The Ravens are happy that Taylor has a starting job. What they don’t want Taylor to have is a victory on Sunday.
“He’s very elusive, we got a lot of practice against him when he was here,” said Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs. “Against an athletic quarterback like that, he has the capability to extend plays. We accept the challenge. We know what he can do, what he’s capable of.”