In NFL debut, Taylor has his ups and downs

Making his debut in an NFL jersey, rookie quarterback Tyrod Taylor played much as you would expect a rookie quarterback to play in his first professional game under the bright lights.

There was the good (Taylor rushing for a team-high 59 yards and keeping a number of plays alive with his legs), the bad (a poorly-timed throw on a deep pass for wide receiver Torrey Smith was off target and was intercepted) and the ugly (Taylor took three points off the board late in the third quarter by forcing a throw to receiver Tandon Doss in the end zone, and having it intercepted).

Tyrod_Taylor-tall-running.jpgTaylor, the Ravens’ sixth-round draft pick in April, played nearly a full three quarters tonight. His final numbers aren’t very impressive - he went 19-of-28 for 179 yards and two interceptions, and added those 59 rushing yards on six carries - but one positive that can be taken out of the performance is that the rookie seemed to improve as the game went on.

In the Ravens’ final two drives of the game, Taylor went 9-of-13 for 89 yards, and he added another 36 yards on the ground. Of course, you could say that the quarterback was playing against the Eagles’ third-string defense at that point, but if you were to say that, I’d counter by saying that Taylor was working with third-string receivers and interior offensive lineman.

It goes both ways.

Those final two drives, by the way, came after Taylor left the game for a couple plays to get looked at by trainers. The Virginia Tech product took a few big hits tonight, and while he might have been hurting, he played through the pain and popped up immediately after hitting the turf each time.

Now, if it wasn’t clear to the Ravens entering today that they need to add a veteran quarterback to back up Joe Flacco, it should be now.

Taylor is simply not ready to be the Ravens’ No. 2 signal caller, not when he’s throwing two picks (it initially looked like three, before one was overturned early in the fourth quarter), tossing up passes off his back foot, and turning points into turnovers.

The Ravens can afford to wait a couple weeks and see what quarterbacks become available when teams start making cuts. There’s no need to make a move on a guy like Brodie Croyle right now; although if he’s the best that’s out there come early-September, the former Chiefs QB will have to do.

But even though Taylor won’t cut it as the Ravens’ backup come Week 1, there’s talent there. At times, the rookie made chicken soup out of chicken you-know-what when plays broke down, and that’s certainly a valuable trait in the NFL.

The kid isn’t ready for the big time at this point, but let’s not give up on him yet.

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