ORCHARD PARK (CBSMiami/AP) — It’s been a strange and trying season for Buffalo Bills’ quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
With his bruised left knee feeling considerably better, Taylor stood comfortably at the podium Thursday requiring no reminder of the doubts and adversity he’s overcome in preparing to once again reclaim the Bills’ starting job.
Whether the Bills latest quarterback shuffle was poetic or fitting, Taylor couldn’t say in assessing a tumultuous season that was coming full circle.
Taylor would acknowledge enjoying a certain degree of satisfaction in knowing Buffalo’s bid to continue its late-season playoff push rested on him some 10 months after he was nearly cut before agreeing to restructure his contract, and a month after being briefly benched in favor of untested rookie Nathan Peterman.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Taylor said, following practice Wednesday.
“That stuff I’ve been through in my life and in my career has only made me who I am today,” he added. “I take it in stride, learn from it and continue to keep moving forward.”
Taylor’s immediate focus is on Sunday, when Buffalo (7-6) closes its home schedule against the Miami Dolphins (6-7).
All indications point to him starting at a time the Bills have little margin for error in a convoluted AFC playoff picture with three weeks left in the season.
Taylor showed no signs of being limited by the bruised tendon in practicing fully for the first time since being sidelined during a 23-3 loss to New England on Dec. 3.
Also, Peterman has yet to be cleared from the NFL’s concussion protocol after being hurt in the third quarter of a 13-7 overtime win over Indianapolis on Sunday.
Coach Sean McDermott declined to reveal his starter before practice, but reiterated Taylor would regain the job once healthy.
Taylor sidestepped a question regarding McDermott’s vote of confidence by saying: “I don’t necessarily think about that.”
“We have to go out there and execute better than we’ve done,” he added. “The time is now for us to take that step.”
The Bills have had issues at quarterback no matter who’s been under center with a passing attack that’s failed to complement a LeSean McCoy-led running game that remains the offense’s strength.
With a 6-5 record, Taylor has been efficient in protecting the ball, but his production has been inconsistent.
He’s topped 200 yards passing just four times, and thrown more than one touchdown pass in three games.
Taylor’s threat as a scrambler has also been minimized in first-year offensive coordinator Rick Dennison’s system that relies more on a quarterback making quick passes from the pocket.
Taylor’s benching came after two consecutive losses in which he combined to complete 38 of 58 passes for 341 yards with two touchdowns and two turnovers, including a lost fumble.
McDermott’s decision to start Peterman, however, backfired when the fifth-round draft pick was yanked after throwing five interceptions in the first half of a 54-24 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 19.
Peterman’s performance before he was hurt against the Colts was difficult to gauge because of the limitations of a snow-covered field caused by a lake-effect storm that caused near whiteout conditions.
McDermott acknowledged the lack of a consistent passing attack has limited the offense.
However, he refused to revisit the reasons why he benched Taylor last month except to say: “It’s what I felt our team needed at that time.”
Guard Richie Incognito is impressed by the poise Taylor’s shown in the face of adversity.
“Tyrod’s been shunned and Tyrod’s been through a whole bunch, and the one thing about Tyrod is he stayed consistent,” Incognito said. “He’s stayed true to himself. He’s never wavered.”
Taylor’s future beyond this season was uncertain before being benched. He has only one year left on his contract after having it reduced from a five- to a two-year deal in March.
Taylor said he can’t focus on what’s beyond his control, while thankful to have another opportunity to start.
“There’s always something to prove to myself and others,” he said.
“Ultimately, as a team, we have a goal to do something special for this city, and that’s first off to get back in the playoffs,” Taylor said. “It starts with one game. And it’s this game right here.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)