New York Giants quarterback Tyrod Taylor and head coach Brian...

New York Giants quarterback Tyrod Taylor and head coach Brian Daboll. Credit: AP/Charles Krupa

ORCHARD PARK — For Giants quarterback Tyrod Taylor, Sunday night represented an opportunity and a reunion.

Taylor counts Buffalo as one of his former NFL stops, and you have to believe playing there  meant something to him.

And you had better believe it was meaningful to Giants coach Brian Daboll, who was raised in the Buffalo area and counts Bills quarterback Josh Allen as a former pupil and a close friend.

In his 13th season out of Virginia Tech, Taylor got the start on Sunday night in place of Daniel Jones, who was sidelined by a neck injury.

During his three years with the Bills, Taylor went 22-20 as a starter. In his final season there, he was instrumental in helping the Bills end a 17-season playoff drought.

The following offseason, Buffalo traded Taylor to Cleveland. The Bills then moved up from 12th to seventh to select Allen in the 2018 draft.

Taylor began his NFL career in 2011 and also played for the Ravens, Browns, Chargers and Texans before joining the Giants. He said his approach this week was no different from any other.

“My mindset each and every day is to come in and challenge myself to be better, to lead, and when my opportunity is presented in front of me, to go out and make the best of it,” he said.

Taylor’s mindset may have remained the same, but his workload was significantly enhanced. When Jones is healthy, Taylor takes few, if any, first-team snaps during the week. This week, of course, was different.

“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.”

Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka said he has “a lot of confidence in Tyrod."

“He controls the huddle," Kafka said. “I think he does a great job of getting the ball out. He can make plays outside the pocket as well. He’s done that his whole career.”

Taylor said the week ran smoothly, with communication “fluid throughout the week” and meetings going on as scheduled.

“Quarterbacks, offensive linemen, we meet a number of times outside [during the week], and all the quarterbacks and all the offensive linemen are in on those calls,” Taylor said. “It’s not anything different from what we do on a weekly basis.”

Tommy DeVito, a rookie and New Jersey native who ended his college career at Illinois, was activated from the practice squad to back up Taylor. He had never taken a regular-season snap.

The prime-time atmosphere in Orchard Park likely was different from anything the Giants have seen this season.

“For sure,” Taylor said. “It’s going to be an electric atmosphere. Obviously, their fan base is one of the wilder ones. 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.”  

For Daboll, going back to Buffalo clearly was meaningful.

Raised by his grandparents in West Seneca, a suburb of Buffalo, he earned five Super Bowl rings as an assistant coach for New England. But his four years as the Bills' offensive coordinator — and coaching Allen — seem to be at least as impactful.

“When you’re able to coach good players and be around good players as a coach, they help you,” Daboll said during a Zoom call with Buffalo-area reporters this past week.

Daboll and Allen still communicate regularly. Their relationship, and success together, paved the way for Daboll to be hired by the Giants.

Obviously, Daboll wished his return to Buffalo came under better circumstances. The Giants had a host of injuries to significant players and were seeking just their second win in six games.

“You make no excuses,” Daboll said. “You get ready to play a really good team on the road in a great environment.”

Daboll knew all about that environment, the quarterback and what the Giants were up against.

Allen said he remains grateful for his time with Daboll.

"In terms of the path of my career and getting better, he was probably the most influential one," Allen said. "He’s a guy that I talked to each and every day" when Daboll was the Bills’ offensive coordinator.

Daboll said  he has “learned a lot from Allen, as a quarterback, as a leader, how he handles things. He’s a hell of a player. He’s a great friend. And I owe him a lot, too.”

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