Quick Hits: Taylor to start at QB in Kansas City

Posted Nov 22, 2017

Bills head coach Sean McDermott has gone back to veteran Tyrod Taylor as his starter this week in Kansas City.

Taylor to start in Kansas City
Bills head coach Sean McDermott said on Monday that his plan for last week’s game to start rookie quarterback Nate Peterman didn’t work. Today he announced that veteran Tyrod Taylor will be back in the starting lineup.

“Tyrod Taylor will be our starting quarterback this Sunday,” said McDermott. “It’s the right thing for our team.”

Taylor came on in relief of Peterman at halftime in last week’s game against the Chargers after the rookie’s five first-half interceptions led to 24 points for Los Angeles. The veteran quarterback went 15-25 passing for 158 yards and a touchdown pass in the second half last week. He also ran for a touchdown as Buffalo put up 17 second-half points.

McDermott said he met with the team’s 12-member leadership council for input on all things concerning the team, but the quarterback decision was his alone.

“There was some dialogue,” he said. “I did meet with the overall council, like I always dialogue with our team. That’s always a part of it. At the end of the day it’s my decision.”

McDermott also made it clear that the quarterback position will remain under evaluation going forward.

“Every position is the same,” said McDermott. “We evaluate every week who we feel has earned the right to be the starter.”

Sunday will be the second start of Taylor’s career against the Chiefs for Buffalo. In 2015 at Arrowhead, Taylor went 21-38 passing for 291 yards and three touchdowns. He had a passer rating of 106.4, but the Bills lost the game 30-22.

Benjamin and handful of others sit out practice
Kelvin Benjamin dodged a bullet last Sunday when he did not suffer any ligament damage in his right knee after it was hyperextended on a hit from a Chargers defender that forced him from the game early in the first quarter. Benjamin heads up a list of players who are not practicing Wednesday.

“He’s in a day to day situation right there,” said McDermott, who hasn’t ruled Benjamin out for Sunday’s game in Kansas City.

Also not practicing Wednesday are John Miller, Cordy Glenn and Dion Dawkins, who is sidelined with an illness.

Glenn, who has missed each of the last two games, has had a tough time improving the condition of his foot and ankle.

“He’s going through the normal rehab process and we’re taking it day to day,” said McDermott. “It’s really a feel thing for him and trying to make sure he’s in the right place on it as we move forward and they continue to rehab with Cordy at this time.”

Fixing first down
The Bills offense has found it difficult to sustain drives and move the sticks. Part of it can be traced to the team’s lack of execution on first down this season. The offense gains four yards or more on first down less than half the time (45.6%), which ranks 24th in the league. Whether it’s penalties, a lack of execution or unforced errors, Buffalo’s offense often puts themselves in long down and distance situations as soon as they reach second down.

“It has (been a problem),” said McDermott. “We’ve operated from a position of detriment quite a bit. We’ve got to make sure we stay on schedule. To be 2nd-and-11 or 3rd-and-11 or even 3rd-and-7, the probability (of success) is not in your corner at that point. So, you want to be in the third and mediums, third and shorts or right into another first down. Staying on schedule is big. We’ve had that problem a little bit and we have to find ways to fix it.”

On average Buffalo’s offense gives themselves the most yards to gain on second down of any team in the league. The Bills on average need 8.76 yards on second down to reach the first down marker and extend the drive. That ranks 31st in the NFL.