In his first road game as a Houston Texan, Tyrod Taylor will be playing in a place he once called home. The 11-year veteran QB will face the Cleveland Browns, where he played his 2018 season.
"It's never about me or my feelings when it comes to going to play against previous teams," Taylor said. "Yes, that is part of it, but I'm not going to make a big deal about it. It's about me executing at a high level this weekend as well as everyone else in the locker room."
After acquiring Taylor in a trade, the Browns drafted QB Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick just soon after. Taylor started three games before a concussion knocked him out of a Thursday night game against the Jets. Mayfield entered the game for Taylor and would start the remaining 13 games.
"I mean, obviously, it didn't end the way that I wanted it to end," Taylor said. "But I think I grew as a person during that year, dealing with adversity, also becoming more of a vocal leader than I had before up until that time. Their team that we had in Cleveland in '18 was fairly young, so you had to find different ways to lead. Of course, at the time, I want to say I was 28; I think I was like the third oldest on the team. Guys looked at me as the oldest guy or one of the older players."
Since his 2018 campaign in Cleveland, Taylor played two seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers (2019-20). There he met Pep Hamilton, who now serves as the Texans passing game coordinator and quarterback coach.
"I think I've been able to obviously learn a lot from that year, but also the two years after that with the Chargers," Taylor said. "Watching Philip (Rivers), how he prepared week-in and week-out, and even taking an offseason and preparing to become the starter last year and even going into this year. I think I definitely learned a lot and became a better player since then, and that's always the goal, to be better this year than the year you were before. Yeah, just continue to keep growing in that aspect."
Currently, the Texans have seven players, in addition to Taylor, who played for the Browns. Aside from DL Vincent Taylor, who is out with an ankle injury, TE Pharaoh Brown, LB Christian Kirksey, OL Justin McCray, DBs Terrance Mitchell, Eric Murray, and Tavierre Thomas all wore the Browns uniform. Kirksey had the longest career in Cleveland, where he played six seasons (2014-19) and started every game he played in from 2016 to 2019.
For Taylor, Sunday's game is more than going back to play a former team. It's about using what he gained from his experiences to lead his team.
"I mean, any time you get a chance to play against your former team, it's definitely an opportunity for you to showcase how you've progressed as a player," Taylor said. "Obviously, those guys spent more time in Cleveland than I did. I was there for a year and started for three games, got hurt in the third one. Everybody's story is different. Am I excited to go back? Yes, I am, but it's not about me; it's about our team here and us working hard throughout this week and us executing on Sunday."
In the Texans 37-21 win over the Jaguars in Week 1, Taylor completed 21-33 passes for 291 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 112.1 passer rating. He has started 48-of-73 career games and surpassed 10,000 career passing yards last week against Jacksonville.
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Check out the best photos from the Houston Texans practice on Wednesday leading into Week 2.