Tyrod Taylor has been on teams where he was supposed to be the starter and wound up the backup and on teams where he was supposed to be the backup and wound up as the starter. He’s played with veterans at the top of their games such as Philip Rivers and Joe Flacco and been a guiding influence for rookies such as Baker Mayfield and Justin Herbert who were just starting their careers
And now he’s a Giant. Along with Daniel Jones who is the presumed starter going into the 2022 season but whose production and physical durability will dictate just how long he remains as such.
So what exactly is Taylor’s role here?
"There is no crystal ball," he said on Thursday of the lessons he has learned in his 11 previous NFL seasons with five previous organizations, careful not to define himself as either direct competition for Jones or his unassertive understudy. "You never know what the future holds."
That’s certainly true for the Giants’ quarterback position as a whole as Jones prepares to embark on a make-or-break season that will either show a new regime (one that did not draft him) he can be the franchise’s quarterback moving forward or force them to search out someone else for that role.
Taylor, who signed a two-year deal on Thursday for $11 million, therefore will live with the same ambiguity. He may play out his entire contract with the Giants without ever taking a snap. Then again he could be the team’s starter due to injury or incompetence by Jones very early in the upcoming season.
"I view it as coming in, learning the offense, pushing the guys in the room, and just going out and putting my best foot forward each day," Taylor said of his task. "My process since I was drafted in 2011 has been to prepare as a starter. Obviously at the quarterback position you never know when your number will be called and you want to go in and play at a high level. So that’s my focus."
Taylor said he did not sign with the Giants thinking it was a chance to start.
"It was a great fit to come in and learn from a bunch of offensive minded guys," he said of working with coach Brian Daboll, offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney. "Choosing to come here made the most sense for me at this stage of my career. Obviously, Daniel has played a number of snaps here and has played well. I’ve watched him. To come in and think this is an opportunity to start, that’s not necessarily a weighing factor. It’s more what makes the most sense and obviously coming in and staying ready for the opportunity if it does exist."
Ultimately it will be Jones who defines Taylor’s tenure with the Giants, Jones’s play and availability that will decide Taylor’s role. Taylor knows that and understands it. It is not new to him. Nor does it bother him.
"The outside noise, I never let it affect me," Taylor said. "Each day you walk into the building you can control your attitude, your effort, and how you go about your business. That helps you to be able to work in any type of situation. If you are confident in yourself and confident in your ability to perform and a great teammate you are able to maneuver through what most people would think is a tough situation or tough circumstances."
Taylor has spent his career doing just that. Now he’ll do it for the Giants.