Playmakers on Buffalo's first-team offense, defense, and special teams, presented by Nike
Not many quarterbacks can say they complete 70 percent of their passes or have a rating above 115. Even fewer can boast about running the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds.
But how about one who claims all of the above? That's what coach Tom Coughlin calls a "force" to defend.
Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor is checking all the boxes in his first season as a full-time starter. After spending his first four years behind Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Flacco in Baltimore, Taylor signed with the Bills over the offseason and earned the starting job under new head coach Rex Ryan.
Through three games against Indianapolis, New England, and Miami, Taylor's completion percentage soared to 74.4 with seven touchdowns, three interceptions, and a passer rating of 116.1. With him under center, the 2-1 Bills are third in scoring at 33.3 points per game. But what sets him apart is his ability to soften defenses with his legs. Taylor averages 5.6 yards per rush, including big plays of 31 and 26 yards.
"Tyrod Taylor, the outstanding quarterback, is also a running threat," Coughlin said during Wednesday's press conference at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. "He has seven touchdown passes, he has a 74 percent completion percentage at this point in time, and does an outstanding job with the deep ball. A lot of play-action, a lot of movement, a lot of bootleg, a lot of great perimeter—so he is a force to have to defend as well."
From Russell Wilson to Michael Vick and Colin Kaepernick, the Giants have seen their share of dual-threats in recent years and know discipline is always the key.
"It's always the way it has to be, not only in the rushing the passer so he doesn't get out and get on the perimeter, but also because they do run a couple, three different ways of the zone-read," Coughlin added. "They do run the option, they do run the option with a pitch man, so he's got it all."
Getting back a veteran defender like Robert Ayers Jr. could go a long way in containing Taylor. Ayers missed Thursday night's victory over Washington with a hamstring injury, but he was able to practice today on a limited basis.
"He's real dynamic," the defensive end said. "And he doesn't play like this is his first time being a full-time starter, for sure. He has a lot of weapons at his disposal, and he has a good defense to depend on and he can lead on, so he can just play, not carefree, but he can play comfortable and trust his team and trust his running back, his receivers, and the o-line and trust in his defense. And the team believes in him. The head coach believes in him. So he's playing with a lot of confidence."
Meanwhile, cornerback Jayron Hosley, who made his first start of the season last week in place of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (concussion), can draw from his college days at Virginia Tech, where he was a teammate of Taylor.
Drafted a year ahead of Hosley in 2011, Taylor set school records in just about every dual-threat category: total offense (9,213 yards), passing yards (7,017 yards), rushing yards by a quarterback (2,196), rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (23), and wins by a starting quarterback (34).
"Tyrod can throw the ball, man," Hosley said. "As much as people like to talk about how versatile he is with running the ball and being able to scramble and escape the pocket and make guys miss, he can throw that ball. He can put the ball on the money. He's got a nice, soft touch. He's a complete quarterback. You can't just look at him as a one-[dimensional] guy."
How the Giants will defend Taylor and Buffalo's high-scoring offense was just one of the many storylines buzzing around the QDTC.
Here are three takeaways from the day:
CRUZ (CALF) LEAVES PRACTICE
GIANTS PREP FOR REX'S NO. 1 RUSH OFFENSE, DEFENSE
True to Rex Ryan form, the Bills enter Week 4 with the No. 1 rushing offense (152.7 yards per game) as well the top rushing defense (74.0).
Conversely, the Giants are second against the run (74.7) but tied for just 21st on the ground offensively (93.3). Sunday is going to come down to the big men up front.
"Every week you have to highlight who their best guys are on defense," offensive lineman Justin Pugh said about scouting opponents. "Every single guy on that defensive starting front would be the best player on another line, you know what I mean? You have Pro Bowlers all the way across the board, so we've got to go out there and it's going to be a great competition for us."
For the Giants, tight ends Daniel Fells (ankle) and Jerome Cunningham (knee) did not participate in practice. Cruz (calf), running back Orleans Darkwa (knee), left tackle Ereck Flowers (ankle), defensive tackle Markus Kuhn (knee), and defensive ends Robert Ayers Jr. (hamstring) and Owa Odighizuwa (foot) were all limited.
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who missed Thursday's game with a concussion that he suffered in Week 2, was a full participant.
On the Buffalo side, four starters -- running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring), guard John Miller (groin), and wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin -- did not practice.