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

stepped in.

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

your turn.”

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.”