The New York Giants have a number of questions as they go on the road to play the Buffalo Bills on Sunday Night Football. But none of those questions are more consequential than who will be their starting quarterback.
Starting quarterback Daniel Jones suffered a neck injury late in the Giants’ Week 5 game against the Miami Dolphins. Jones’ status for Sunday Night is currently in the air, and while he didn’t practice on Wednesday there’s been some optimism that playing Sunday is realistic.
But for now, Taylor is preparing to be the starter against the team he took to the playoffs in 2017.
“I don’t think it’s any different for me,” Taylor said when asked if his preparation has changed this week. “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.“
He noted that his weekly preparation each week involves mental reps, then throwing with the 1’s after practice.
It’s been a long time since Taylor has started a game, going all the way back to Week 13 of 2021. At the time, he was playing for the Houston Texans, but now he’s looking forward to the opportunity to compete in an NFL game as the starter for the Giants.
“As a competitor, any time you get a chance to go out and play, you always look forward to it. It just so happens to be Buffalo this week,” Taylor said. “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 is the only other quarterback on the active roster besides Jones. Jones being inactive would force the Giants to either sign a veteran quarterback or elevate UDFA rookie Tommy DeVito from the practice squad. Either way, an injury to Taylor could put the Giants in dire straights if Jones’ injury turns out to be more long-term than they’re letting on.
“I think you play free,” Taylor said when asked if his mentality changes because of depth concerns. “Obviously, it’s a contact sport that we play and a collision sport that we play. Playing scared is never a good thing. Obviously, as a quarterback, you want to limit the hits that you take on your body, but at the same time, you’ve got to do what’s best for the team in certain situations as far as fighting for extra yardage or making plays. Never playing timid, going out there and competing at a high level and dealing with what comes with that.”
Regardless of who’s under (or behind) center, the Giants need more from their offense. They’ve only scored 21 offensive points outside of their 31-point second half in Week 2, and have struggled to consistently push the ball downhill.
Taylor was asked if the Giants’ issues in pass protection has limited their ability to create explosive plays. He admitted that it is a factor, though they should be able to work around those issues.
“Obviously, protection and being able to push the ball down the field, but yes, explosive plays can be created in different ways,” Taylor said.
“We’ve had our opportunities throughout this year to be able to create explosive (plays), we just haven’t done a great job of executing. You can name a number of different things. Obviously, as a team we know what we can do better. We’ve been working on trying to do better in those areas.
“I think it all boils down to execution at the end of the day. That’s up front, that’s the skill positions as well, too. Just about executing regardless of who’s at quarterback. It’s about executing at a high level and doing it consistently.”
The Giants are going to have to execute against the Bills. Not only are they going into a hostile environment, but they’re going to be playing one of the best defenses in the NFL.
“It’s going to be an electric atmosphere,” Taylor said. “Obviously, their fan base is one of the wilder ones, I guess they’ve been labeled as it. They create a great environment for football. Communication has got to be at its best when you’re going into an environment like this, but as a player, I think you live for these types of environments and these types of moments.”