Anthony Lynn: Tyrod Taylor 'Is a Heck of a Quarterback,' Could Start for Chargers in 2020
Jason B. Hirschhorn
After the Los Angeles Chargers officially parted ways with longtime starting quarterback Philip Rivers earlier this week, speculation has already begun as to who will fill his shoes next season. According to the head coach of the team, backup Tyrod Taylor could get the first crack at replacing Rivers.
"Tyrod Taylor is a heck of a quarterback," Lynn said on AM 570 L.A. Sports. "We couldn't have a better backup right now, and now he has an opportunity to maybe step up into a starting role. I've had Tyrod before [in Buffalo], and I know what this young man brings to the table in the passing game and the running game.
"I believe every year he's started in this league he's been the No. 1 quarterback in taking care of the football. ... So, if we can just take care of the football and take it away, we'll be OK."
Turnovers became a near-constant problem for the Chargers in 2019. Rivers tossed 20 interceptions and lost three fumbles. He tossed seven picks during a two-game stretch in November that nearly resulted in his benching. While Rivers remained the starter, his giveaways contributed greatly to the team's 2-9 record in games decided by a touchdown or less and its 5-11 overall record.
By contrast, Taylor has taken far better care of the football during his time as a starter. In 46 starts with the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns, he tossed just 18 interceptions and lost just four fumbles. In NFL history, only the Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers has a better interception rate than Taylor's 1.47%.
But while Taylor stands as the best in-house option to replace Rivers, the Chargers could and likely will bring in other options. They currently hold the No. 6 overall pick in the draft, putting them in position to select a rookie signal-caller such as Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa or Oregon's Justin Herbert. Alternatively, the front office could add one of the numerous starters slated to hit the open market this offseason, a list that includes the New England Patriots' Tom Brady. Brady could improve the play on the field while also helping the franchise off it.
But until the Chargers acquire another quarterback, their head coach feels comfortable handing the reins to Taylor.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH