Ravens Need a New Backup Plan


“Well, you know, Tyrod’s only got one year left on his contract,” Harbaugh said.

“We’ve been very happy with Tyrod, and we feel like he has a great future, but we have been a little disappointed how he’s played in games certainly. We feel like he’s a lot better than he’s showed. I know he feels that way too.”

The handwriting is on the wall.

If John Harbaugh, one of the best protectorates of the Ravens’ Holy Grail, keeper of the fortress known as One Winning Drive, master of saying things without saying a thing puts it out there like he has with Tyrod Taylor, then the Fat Lady is at least tuning up.

“[Tyrod has] only got one year left with us, so we need to add a quarterback into the mix, whether it be offseason or in the draft.”

From day 1 the attraction to Tyrod Taylor and the team’s willingness to stick with him has been at best a curious choice on the part of John Harbaugh and his staff. Former head coach Brian Billick was always a proponent of having a backup QB who had similar physical skills in common with the starter.

The thinking there was if the skill sets were similar, the backup could easily plug and play into the game plan and into the offense. Of course there would be some adjustment but it’s better to implement some tweaks instead of revamping the entire offense while digging deeper into the playbook.

Could Taylor and starter Joe Flacco be any more different in stature and skill sets?

Doesn’t shifting from Flacco to Taylor require more adjustment on the part of Taylor’s offensive teammates given the obvious differences between the two?

Some might argue that it doesn’t matter who the backup is. They might reason that if a team loses its starting signal caller, the season is over anyway. (see Earl Morrall)

Don’t believe for a second that is what the rest of the team or the coaching staff believes. Jobs are ALWAYS at stake in the NFL so if you think a team or staff is willing to tank a season if in the case of the Ravens that God forbid, Joe Flacco is knocked out, think again!

So it comes as no surprise that the Ravens are now contemplating a new backup QB.

What is surprising is that it took them this long to consider the change.

Perhaps the arrival of Gary Kubiak has brought the overdue move to the forefront of the organization’s thought. Whatever the reason, it’s about time.

This isn’t meant to be a knock on Tyrod Taylor. The relatively diminutive former Hokie is an outstanding athlete. He’s just not an outstanding quarterback – at least not at the NFL level.

Taylor might be a better backup option in places like Washington or San Francisco or Seattle where there are more similarities between his style and that of the starting QB’s in each of those respective cities.

In Baltimore, not so much.

Take a look at the history of the league and situations where backups have adequately filled in and kept a team’s playoff aspirations alive. Frank Reich to Jim Kelly; Jim Hostetler to Phil Simms; Josh McCown to Jay Cutler; Matt Cassel to Tom Brady; Tom Brady to Drew Bledsoe.

Each had similar attributes that allowed offensive coordinators to keep their philosophical approach in tact. They didn’t have to ask the remaining 10 players to make adjustments to accommodate the backup QB. The integrity of the game plan, the continuity of the offense, a building process dating back to OTA’s, was kept in tact.

In retrospect Tyrod Taylor should thank Joe Flacco for being so durable and extending Taylor’s career. Now that he’s been in the league for 3 full seasons his street cred improves and the chances of him landing with a team better suited for his unique talents has improved and it could help him to shine if called upon.

Perhaps that’s what John Harbaugh was referring to when he said, “We feel like Tyrod’s best football is by far definitely in front of him.”

Hey, I wonder what Kyle Orton is up to these days?

Should the Ravens bring in a new backup quarterback?
Yes (82%)
No (18%)
This poll has completed. Thank you for voting.
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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

9 Raves on “Ravens Need a New Backup Plan

  1. John on said:

    I was wondering if the Ravens might use their 3rd round comp pick on a QB. I think if McCarron is still there at #99 the Ravens might jump on him.

    • Sarcasticfury on said:

      McCarron’s looking like a 2nd rounder, maybe early 3rd. He’s the 5th or 6th best QB in this draft. And the Ravens have bigger needs than QB at 99.

  2. John Vondracek on said:

    I am no football expert, but I believe the main purpose for a BU QB would be to come in in an emergency and take the place of the starter. Tyrod is awesome, and I love his skillsets he brings, but they are the total opposite of Flacco. I just don’t see how the BU QB (no matter how good) can be retained when their skillsets are so different that they would require a severe change of scheme and play from the rest of the team to succeed. If you have 2 crappy QBs, then fine, alternate them with wildcats and nonsense. But if you have a defined Starter and a defined Backup, then I really think that backup has to “match” the style and skillsets of the starter. just MY opinion though. Thanks for the great article (as always) Tony!

  3. John P on said:

    This is a quarterback-rich draft. Take one in round 3 or 4, then sign a cheap veteran for a year. IMO, this is a great year to use a roster spot for an additional QB.

  4. Jacob on said:

    Tony, I think you are mistaken regarding Billick’s backup QB philosophy. I could have sworn that Billick said that since backup QBs did not get many reps, they should be mobile. In other words, they should be able to create plays on their own. I agree with this philosophy and believe that someone like Tyrod Taylor is not a bad backup. Obviously, he is a far deficient passer as compared to Flacco (and almost any QB in the NFL), but his ability to run for yards allows him to get yards with his feet and opens up running lanes for RBs. I’ll take a mobile QB any day over a traditional pocket passer.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      I actually spoke to BB about that when covering the team during his tenure and that’s what he said back then. Perhaps he’s changed his mind since he’s been on the air. I concur with the former…

  5. JWS on said:

    TL, good thoughts today. The first question must be how good is Haraaugh and his staff at QB evualations? Yes we know we can never have a good draft choice or veteran to compete with Flacco just like Boller because the Ravens wants no part of QB questions especially on Flacco at his 121 million dollar deal. Although if there were a good backup and no big money deal he would have surely been replaced last year as a starter! Many owners including Teaxans and Bengals are questionaing the cost of over paid quarterabcks compare to an average lower priced veterean for a shorter term on their teams. Tyrod Taylor has never played well in any game and should have been gone last year. As I have been reporting to fan son my website and email reports to all Raven fans, a better backup should be here and I suggested Shawn Hill a month ago and he signed today for the Rams. No doubt my sources say the Ravens will sign a verteran at some point even at training camp cut time and Taylor and his 645K salary will be gone. No doubt a backup is only important if Flacco goes down but if he does and you are 8-2 and assured of the playoffs somebody must step up to take you into the playoffs after failing last year. This team with Ozzie’s great off season moves is ready now!! Sign a veteran!!

  6. JerryB on said:

    A “no brainier”, Tony! For all of Taylor’s athleticism, the offense is geared to a “pocket passer” & should Joe go down, they would have to change the offense dramatically to accommodate Taylor’s style of play. Better to have a backup who can step in without having to change the offense.

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