When Tyrod Taylor signed with the Houston Texans in free agency, he wasn't sure what to expect. The Texans had only one quarterback on their roster, Deshaun Watson, and his status was up in the air.
"Since I came into the league, I've always treated the job that I think every quarterback should approach it this way," Taylor said. "It's just to prepare as a starter because, at our position, you are one play away and you never know when that opportunity will come. So regardless of how the roster looks, you have to come in and prepare to start each and every day that that gives yourself the best chance to go out and be successful. But it also gives your team the best chance to be successful throughout the year."
Taylor had other options, but ultimately chose Houston because of the familiarity he had with head coach David Culley and quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton. Taylor played for Culley when he was the Buffalo Bills quarterbacks coach and last year for Hamilton when served as the Chargers quarterbacks coach.
"There's a comfort level there," Culley said. "He knows what we're all about. He knows how we go about things. He knows what we expect. And that's important because he has a comfort level with us and we have a comfort level with him and with what Tim (Kelly) has done when installing this offense with him. He's picked up stuff very well. Here's a guy who has been in a league for a long time. Basically it's just a matter of terminology which he's picked up well."
The 11-year veteran quarterback has had a crazy, tumultuous NFL career. As a rookie, Taylor earned a Super Bowl ring with the 2012 Baltimore Ravens. In just three seasons with the Buffalo Bills (2015-17), Taylor set multiple franchise records. He holds the best completion percentage (62.6) in Bills team history (minimum 500 attempts) and ranks third in rushing touchdowns (14) by a quarterback.
During the 2017 season in Buffalo, Culley recalls a time when Taylor was benched for one game but reclaimed his role as a starter and then led the Bills to their first playoff appearance in 17 years.
"He's a professional through and through," Culley said. "Didn't like it. No one would have. But he handled it like a pro supposed to handle like a guy with class would handle things. And then basically the very next week, he was back in the lineup and was able to help lead us to the playoffs because of that. And that just goes to show the professionalism he has and the experience that he's been around and and it worked out for everybody involved."
Last season with the the Los Angeles Chargers, Taylor earned the starting role after Philip Rivers signed with the Indianapolis Colts. However, a pregame injection resulted in a lung injury that caused Taylor to miss six games and ultimately, his starting role to rookie quarterback Justin Herbert.
"It's no bad feeling toward like whatever happened in the past.," Taylor said. "You learn from it, you move forward but don't believe in holding on to things."
Taylor says he is more motivated than ever. With a fresh start in Houston, Taylor says he is just happy to be able to lace up his cleats, put his helmet on and make plays in OTAs this offseason.
"You learn from those experiences, you move forward and you stay in a positive attitude," Taylor said. "I think that has kept me with the right mindset to be able to persevere to the things that's happened to me throughout my career. It hasn't been all great but it hasn't been bad? I mean, I don't know how you would describe it. I know that when it comes to the NFL, I've been a winner in this league. Yes, I've had trials and tribulations, but it's part of the game. And like I said, I'm now just thankful for the opportunity to be able to to lead the guys that we have in the locker room to be able to work with Coach Kelly, Coach Culley and see Coach Lovie do his thing on the defensive side as well too."
Taylor is just one of five quarterbacks since 2015 to total at least 8,000 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards, along with Josh Allen, Cam Newton, Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson.