As Joe Flacco and his agent attempt to negotiate a new contract extension with the Ravens, who also have the option of using a franchise tag to keep the soon-to-be free-agent quarterback off the open market, Flacco’s backup, Tyrod Taylor, is approaching this offseason no differently than he has the past two years.
“I have to approach my job as if I’m the starter,” Taylor said Friday as he signed autographs at a memorabilia show presented by MAB Celebrity Services at the Pikesville DoubleTree. “Every guy on the team [does] that. Each week I prepare as if I’m going to be the starter because you never know what can happen in a game. Going into the offseason last year we didn’t know what was going to happen with [Flacco’s] contract situation.”
Taylor, a 2011 sixth-round draft pick, has been the only backup to Flacco, one of the NFL’s most durable quarterbacks, the past two seasons. He has appeared in 10 career games, but those snaps were usually in mop-duty late in lopsided games or trick plays, including one this season when he lined up as a wide receiver.
The first extensive action he got under center in the NFL was the regular season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals. In a 23-17 loss, Taylor completed 15 of his 25 attempts for 149 yards and an interception. He also scrambled for 65 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. But he hopes to evolve as a passer this offseason.
“I think every aspect can be improved,” Taylor said as he scribbled his name and the number five, his number during college, on some Virginia Tech memorabilia. “You never want to be complacent with what you’re doing. But that’s what I want to focus on this offseason, especially getting quicker in my drops and getting the ball out of my hand faster. That way when the preseason comes, I can go out there and showcase my talent.”
Taylor said he talked to Flacco “the other day,” but they did not discuss football or the Super Bowl MVP’s contract situation. Taylor believes the situation “will work itself out” and Flacco will remain with the Ravens.
“I wish him the best,” Taylor said.
Taylor said regardless of what the future holds for Flacco and subsequently himself, he is excited to attack the offseason and get better. He believes his teammates will all do the same after winning a Lombardi Trophy.
“This feeling is so great,” Taylor said. “Why wouldn’t you want to experience more than once?”