CAPACCIO: When it comes to QB, Bills talk - and actions - are calculated

May 16, 2017 - 2:40 pm
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So, a lot is being made of Bills’ GM Brandon Beane's - and for that matter head coach Sean McDernott's - comments regarding Tyrod Taylor and the team's quarterback situation overall heading into 2017.  Heck, I even wrote about them after Beane was on WGR Monday morning. That was the second round of "interesting" that day. The first was a joint interview both did with Peter King in TheMMQB.com. 

By now you've probably read or heard at least the abbreviated versions of what was said. If not, it basically goes like this: 

Neither McDermott nor Beane have come out and said Taylor will definitely be the team's starting QB come opening day, or even once training camp opens, for that matter. Both have used the word "competition" several times, referring to the entire roster, not just the QB position. 

The closest either came to stamping Taylor under center is Beane saying "If we walked out there today I would say Tyrod’s probably the starter." But that's it.  And that's what's leaving a lot to interpretation by fans, as well as local and national media. 

So here's my interpretation, trying to put what's been said into context. 

First, both of these men intentionally measure their words carefully. It's part of the reason they were chosen for their current positions. They think before they speak. Everything they say is thoughtful.  Even calculated. They both know they can declare Tyrod the unquestioned starter for 2017 and even beyond at any time. But neither has, which means there's a reason for that. 

That reason isn't because either expects someone to beat out Taylor as the Bills' starter in 2017. I'm confident they both believe he'll be the one getting almost all the first-team reps at camp (aside from just giving the backups snaps for insurance purposes) and ultimately  running the offense once the regular season begins. 

But both also know they may very well move on from Taylor following this coming season.  And as two young faces putting their names and reputations on the line for the first time for what they hope will be many years, why hitch their wagons to one that may be pulling out of town in less than 12 months?

Sure, Taylor will get every opportunity to be the QB of the future of the Buffalo Bills.  He'll have the chance to be that franchise guy. And I believe it will be genuine. Not just window-dressing.  The door is open for that to happen. If he pushes through it and emerges on the other side with the Bills in the playoffs and/or a terrific individual season (however that can be defined), McDermott and Beane will either keep him and his $18 million salary cap hit around in 2018 or maybe even sign him to an extension to lower that figure. 

But let's go back to April 27. Draft night. The Bills swung a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs to drop down 17 spots and pick up an extra first round pick next year. I stated right away that it was apparent to me the two teams did it to grab franchise QBs. The Chiefs to get theirs in 2017, which turned out to be Patrick Mahomes, and the Bills to get theirs in 2018, having more ammunition to move up in what's regarded as a loaded QB class.  Just as McDermott's and Beane's words are calculated, so was that deal, orchestrated by the new head coach. 

Fast-forward three weeks. I'm now even more confident that was the case then, and is still the case now. 

So just as we were headed into last season, Tyod Taylor will be playing to prove he deserves to be the franchise QB of the Buffalo Bills.  And he will get the chance to do that in 2017, despite a lack of complete endorsement in public.

But as he's doing that, the computers in the brains of the new heads of Bills' football will just continue to do what they have already been doing all offseason. 

Calculating. 


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