“Tyrod, I would say he’s made the team,” Harbaugh said, a smile creeping across his face. “Newsflash: Tyrod played well.”
Taylor is one of two quarterbacks on the Ravens’ 90-man roster not named Joe Flacco. The other, Hunter Cantwell, doesn’t have a realistic chance of making the team; he’s gotten very few reps in training camp, and has thrown just three passes during the preseason.
That just leaves the Ravens’ starter and Taylor, who continued his strong preseason by going 11-of-18 for 125 yards and a touchdown last night against the Redskins. Taylor also added 31 rushing yards on two electric quarterback keepers, and led the Ravens to 13 fourth quarter points and a 34-31 comeback victory.
A sixth-round pick in this year’s draft, Taylor has surprised many with how quickly he’s picked things up during his month of practices. He’s still fairly raw, and has lots of developing to do within the Ravens’ offense, but the coaching staff has been pleased with the Virginia Tech product’s progression early on in his pro career.
“There are things that he needs to learn from,” Harbaugh said. “You have the ball third-and-two down (near the goal line), you don’t take a sack. I think that’s something he’ll learn from. Yet, some of the throws he made in the teeth of pressure were just exceptional for us. He was using his feet to get out of trouble a couple of times. Just really great plays.”
Now that Taylor has locked up a roster spot, the question is whether he has done enough to earn the No. 2 quarterback job behind Flacco.
The Ravens would probably prefer to have a veteran quarterback backing Flacco up, that way they’d have someone with experience who could step in and run the offense without all that much of a hiccup should Flacco get injured.
But salary cap issues and a lack of attractive options on the free agent market might give Taylor a chance to swipe the backup job for himself.
That’s certainly his goal at this point.
“I’m learning and continuing to (try) to get better,” Taylor said. “My job is just to move the team when I’m out there on the field ... that’s what I’m focused on. I know I have to impress these people that will be watching me as far as the number two job, but at the time, I’m just trying to be the best quarterback I can be.”