Taylor Shakes Off Hits, Shows Poise

His rookie debut included two interceptions, but Tyrod Taylor flashed talent too.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Friday, August 12th, 2011 at 11:55 am | Categories: 2011 Season Gameday, Preseason 1 at Eagles, Ryan Mink

Tyrod Taylor’s first NFL snap resulted in a sack. His second pass was intercepted.

In the fourth quarter, he took a hit so hard from behind that his helmet came flying off.

It was that kind of night for the Ravens’ rookie backup quarterback.

Taylor took five sacks, even more big hits, and threw a couple of picks in a 13-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday night.

But he also showed toughness that could be a better predictor of where he’s going than his first NFL box score.

The sixth-round draft pick, who played all but three drives, finished with a 55.5 quarterback rating. He was 19-of-28 for 179 yards, no touchdowns and the two interceptions.

His head coach and offensive coordinator were still impressed.

“I thought Tyrod did some great things; he’s going to learn more from this game than any game his whole career today,” John Harbaugh said. “He was electric at times, that’s exciting.”

“He’s a young man who learns quickly, and you almost see improvement on every play,” Cam Cameron said. “It’s not too big for him. He has poise.”

Taylor was particularly impressive when he got outside the pocket, something he had to do often as he faced nearly constant pressure.

The Virginia Tech four-year starter ran six times for a team-high 59 yards, including a 16-yard scamper in which he totally reversed course across the football field. He also had a seven-yard run for a first down on the Ravens’ final drive that put Baltimore in position to tie or win the game.

“That’s football,” said Taylor, whose idol is Thursday’s opposing signal-caller, Michael Vick. “As a quarterback, you have to be able to move the pocket and sometimes escape.”

Rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith took the blame for Taylor’s first interception. Smith was running a deep post when he encountered some traffic that slowed him down. Taylor threw the ball anticipating Smith would get through it, but he didn’t and it was therefore picked off by safety Jaiquawn Jarrett.

“Just wish I could take back one play,” Smith tweeted. “Tyrod’s [interception] was a great throw. I can’t slip.”

The second interception was on Taylor. He ran a bootleg to his right and saw that rookie wideout Tandon Doss had a step on his defender in the end zone. However, Taylor’s pass was a tad behind the fellow rookie and was picked off by safety Jarrad Page at the 2-yard line.

“I’ll learn from this game,” Taylor said. “It’s to take care of the ball in the red zone. … When you see a touchdown, you want to get it. But at the same time you have to be smart because you have points out there.”

Taylor was briefly removed from the game after getting nailed in the back. After doing some test on the sidelines, he returned and brought the Ravens to the brink of winning.

He said the game gradually slowed down for him. As he got into a groove, reads became easier.

“Toughness was never a question…he showed that in college, he did show it tonight,” Harbaugh said. “I thought poise was big, he commands the offense very well.”

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