The perenially underappreciated Tyrod Taylor is fresh off a season that saw him end the Bills' historic playoff drought. Now as a member of the Browns after a recent trade sent him to Cleveland, where he's expected to serve as the team's bridge quarterback while they groom a rookie behind him, Taylor is aiming even higher.
At his introductory press conference Thursday, Taylor refuted the notion that he's nothing more than a bridge quarterback by saying he's hoping that he's a "bridge" to the Super Bowl.
"I don't necessarily view myself as a bridge quarterback. I'm a quarterback," Taylor said, via NFL.com. "As far as a bridge, hopefully I'm helping 'bridge' this team to a Super Bowl."
That's a great outlook for Taylor to have and nobody should knock him for looking at this situation as optimistically as he can, but it doesn't seem like a likely outcome -- not because Taylor isn't a solid quarterback, but because the Browns are still a year or two away from fielding a playoff-caliber roster and they'll probably take a quarterback with one of their two top-four picks in this year's draft, which means Taylor is unlikely to be around when the rebuild is complete. Instead, 2018 is a chance for Taylor to continue his audition for the rest of the league.
He should be used to it by now, after the Bills have spent the past few years refusing to commit to him as their long-term starter even though he completed 62.6 percent of his passes, averaged 7.2 yards per attempt, threw 51 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, posted a 92.5 passer rating, and ran for 1,575 yards and 14 touchdowns as their starter from 2015-17. Last week, the Bills agreed to trade him to the Browns in exchange for a third-round pick. The Bills then signed AJ McCarron on Wednesday to be their new bridge quarterback, though like the Browns, they're still expected to draft a quarterback.
Taylor can't control who the Browns take in the draft, but if he continues to play well, he'll probably be someone else's starter in 2019. He might not be set up to win a Super Bowl this season, but he's not set up to fail either.
Hue Jackson has named @TyrodTaylor our starting QB for 2018 season.— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) March 15, 2018
"He’s going to be the starting quarterback. There is no competition."
As of Thursday, the Browns are set to enter the season with Josh Gordon, Corey Coleman, and Jarvis Landry at receiver, which is a better group than what the Bills have going on in Buffalo. The Browns also signed running back Carlos Hyde, who should pair nicely with Duke Johnson. Though they lost All Universe left tackle Joe Thomas to retirement, they have enjoyed a productive offseason to this point, adding a wide array of talented players to their roster. That's not to say the Browns will be a playoff contender in 2018, but at the very least they'll be competitive and hey, maybe even win a game or two considering they finally have a starting-caliber quarterback.
Taylor might not be a bridge to the Super Bowl, but he's the Browns' best quarterback since ... let's just go with forever because I don't really feel like sorting through the list of previous Browns quarterbacks.