Ravens backup QB Taylor ready for action
Tyrod Taylor is the forgotten quarterback at the Super Bowl.
Everyone knows the starters, of course, Baltimore’s Joe Flacco
and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick.
They even know about Alex Smith, who started for the 49ers until
he was sidelined with a concussion in November and Kaepernick
And Taylor? His resume can be summed up on the top half of an
index card: Two years, no starts and 30 passes – 25 of them in the
Ravens’ meaningless regular-season finale against Cincinnati last
That’s because Flacco has started every game during the past
five seasons and never has missed a down because of injury or
Still, Taylor knows he’s only one play away from getting into
the Super Bowl, and for that reason he’s practicing hard this week
as Sunday’s championship game draws near.
”There are so many situations throughout the league where the
next guy is called in, so you can’t look at how many straight games
Joe has played without being injured,” Taylor said. ”You never
know what can happen at any second of the game. I have to be ready
to take over if that happens.”
The 49ers are preparing for that situation, too. While Flacco is
a traditional pocket passer, Taylor is just as likely to scoot
downfield as throw the ball. He ran for 65 yards in that game
against the Bengals, and at Virginia Tech he set a school record
for rushing yards by a quarterback (2,196).
”Actually, we’re working on (stopping) the pistol and option in
case he gets in and in case they have him in certain packages,”
San Francisco defensive tackle Justin Smith said. ”We worked on
what we do and how to stop him. I think we’ll be prepared for him
if he gets in.”
Taylor smiled when told that San Francisco was taking his skill
set into account.
”It definitely adds a little extra to the game,” he said.
”For them to be prepared shows me it’s definitely something they
have in the back of their minds. I played against (San Francisco)
coach (Jim) Harbaugh my last game at Virginia Tech, so he knows
what I’m capable of doing. My job this week is to prepare the
defense and also to prepare myself so if I have to go into the
game, I’m ready.”
That, essentially, is the job description of a backup
quarterback – whether he was once a starter or has never been
anything but a second-stringer.
”I don’t know which situation is better or worse,” Alex Smith
said. ”We’re just at different points in a career. What’s this,
his second year? He’s been on a good team, obviously. He’s there
for a reason. Your job as a backup is to be ready to go. That’s no
different for him or I. That’s our job.”
It is a role Taylor takes seriously. He isn’t in the Big Easy
this week to take a stroll on Bourbon Street or munch on
”You have to be ready to play,” Taylor said. ”That’s how you
have to carry yourself throughout the week as far preparation. You
have to be physically prepared and mentally prepared because you
never know when the opportunity may come.”
For now, Taylor is fine with his role. The former sixth-round
draft pick is playing on a winner, earning a decent paycheck and is
appreciated by his teammates.
”He’s a great quarterback, man,” Ravens receiver Torrey Smith
said. ”I think a lot of people underestimated him coming out of
the draft. You think, how did he even fall this far? Obviously,
it’s tough for him because of Joe, but Tyrod can play. We’re both
from Virginia, and I’ve known him since high school. I’m happy he’s
on our team, because he can definitely do some damage. But he
understands how it works. It’s a business, and you have to wait
The 24-year-old Taylor is willing to be patient.
”Of course I want to start, but my job is to continue to stay
prepared,” he said. ”When the opportunity does come or whatever
playing time I get, I have to continue to showcase my talent
because other eyes are looking. But right now, it’s all about
whatever it takes to win this game right here, this Super Bowl. So
that’s my job this week.”