EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Fun fact about lifelong quarterback Tyrod Taylor: he made his first NFL start at wide receiver. That lasted one play. Taylor moved to quarterback for the game's second snap and threw a 20-yard completion.
The date was Sept. 13, 2015, the game was in Buffalo, and Taylor was playing his first game for the hometown Bills after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. The following week, he made the first of his 42 quarterback starts – plus one in the postseason – in three seasons for Buffalo before beginning a journey that took him to Cleveland, Los Angeles (with the Chargers), Houston and the Giants, whom he joined in 2022.
On Sunday night, Taylor, 34, might make his first start for the Giants. And as so often happens in the NFL, his big night will occur against his former team in his erstwhile home as the Giants play their fourth prime time game in six weeks when they visit the Bills Sunday night.
"As a competitor, any time you get a chance to go out and play, you always look forward to it," Taylor said. "It just so happens to be Buffalo this week. Obviously, I love to compete, so wherever that is, if it's this week, if it's another time, I look forward to those opportunities."
Taylor will get the call if Daniel Jones is unable to play because of the neck injury he suffered in the fourth quarter of the Giants' loss Sunday in Miami. He immediately left the game and has since undergone scans and received treatment.
"Still a little bit sore but feeling better," Jones said after practice. "Felt better every day since Sunday, so just continuing to listen to the doctors and trainers and trying to get better as quick as possible."
Jones missed the final six games of the 2021 season with a neck injury but said his current issue "feels different. It's not the same injury."
Asked if he had any concern about it potentially being a long-term injury, Jones said, "No, I don't."
Coach Brian Daboll is also focused on the short term,
"We're day-to-day with him," Daboll said. "Let's let it play out here. Today, he's not practicing. We'll see how he is the next day, then the next day after that and then I think we'll take this all the way to the end of the week."
Neither Jones nor Daboll offered details about the injury.
"He's a little bit more sore today so we'll see where he is tomorrow," Daboll said.
That comment was recited to Jones moments after he said he felt better.
"I'm still a little sore, I think that's probably what he was talking about," Jones said. "I'm just focused on improving daily and trying to get back out there.
"The goal is still to play Sunday, that's certainly my goal and that's what I'm working on. I'm preparing to play like I always would and taking the advice of the doctors and trainers."
If he is sidelined, Taylor is the next man up. Rookie free agent Tommy DeVito will presumably be elevated from the practice squad to serve as the backup. Signing a veteran quarterback could become a possibility.
"I think there's a lot of discussions that need to be had when your starting quarterback is not practicing for today," Daboll said. "Again, whether that changes for tomorrow, we'll see."
Taylor said in a normal week when Jones is healthy, he gets "not many, if any" reps with the first-team offense. Today, he took them all. But the effort and hours of preparation he puts in each week won't change.
"I don't think it's any different for me," he said. "My mindset each and every day is to come in and challenge myself to be better, lead, and when my opportunity is presented in front of me, to go out and make the best of it."
Taylor is in his 13th NFL season. He has completed 61.5% of his 1,565 passes for 10,886 yards, 60 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. His career passer rating is 88.2. Taylor started one playoff game, a 2017 AFC Wild Card Game at Jacksonville for the Bills.
"He's a pro," Daboll said of Taylor. "He's done this a long time. He's played in a variety of systems. He prepares every week like he's going to play. He's a true pro."
The Giants would be the fifth team that Taylor started a game for in his career, joining the Bills, Browns, Chargers and Texans. His most recent start was for Houston against Indianapolis on Dec. 5, 2021. His most recent victory was two weeks prior to that, when he led the Texans to a win at Tennessee.
Taylor's record as a regular season starting quarterback is 26-25-1, including 22-20 with the Bills.
Last year, Taylor played in only three games and threw eight passes. He has appeared in four of the Giants' first five games this season, completing 11 of 15 throws for 92 yards with a long of 20 yards. Taylor has been sacked once. He had the wind knocked out of him while being tackled on a 3-yard scramble in Miami. But that occurred just prior to the two-minute warning, giving Taylor a chance to regain normal breathing. He didn't miss a play.
"Obviously, the best experience is having experience in a game," he said. "But whether I played snaps or didn't play snaps this year, I think execution is what it boils down to. That's going out there and executing in every aspect to give ourselves the best chance to go out and compete."
View photos of the Giants on the practice field ahead of the Week 6 matchup against the Buffalo Bills.
*Wide receiver Cole Beasley practiced for the first time after joining the practice squad from the injured reserve list. Tackle Yodny Cajuste, signed yesterday to the practice squad, also practiced.
*Veteran offensive lineman Justin Pugh, signed to the practice squad last week, continues to increase his workload.
"He'll do more than he did last week, so we'll try to get him involved," Daboll said.
*The Giants had a season-high 14 players on their injury report today, including eight who did not participate.
In addition to Jones, the group included offensive linemen Andrew Thomas (hamstring), John Michael Schmitz (shoulder) and Matt Peart (shoulder); tight end Darren Waller (groin); wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson (knee); and linebackers Micah McFadden (ankle) and Azeez Ojulari (ankle).
Six players were limited: running backs Saquon Barkley (ankle) and Gary Brightwell (ankle); offensive linemen Marcus McKethan (knee) and Shane Lemieux (groin); and defensive backs Deonte Banks (ankle) and Cor'Dale Flott (ankle).