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Bills QB Taylor taking first-team reps

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Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan is prone to bluster, but his praise for veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor appears to be entirely genuine.

Taylor, who was the No. 2 quarterback in Baltimore behind Joe Flacco, took some of the first-team reps with the Bills’ offense as Organized Team Activities (OTA) ramped up Wednesday.

Former first-round pick EJ Manuel is in a prove-it year with the franchise and, after the Bills signed Kyle Orton out of retirement last season to keep Manuel on clipboard duty, there is no assurance he will start in 2015.

Taylor was a Wildcat threat and gadget play weapon with the Ravens. Ryan said he attempted to acquire Taylor during Ryan’s five seasons with the New York Jets.

Taylor reportedly had a similar offer from the Denver Broncos but chose the Bills because he felt the opportunity to start was legitimate.

“I thought this opportunity was the best for an open competition,” Taylor told the Sporting News last month. “That’s what I’d always felt throughout the offseason, and I had confidence in what I could do when I got that chance.”

Matt Cassel, acquired from the Minnesota Vikings, is thought to be the favorite to win the starting job. Cassel’s 2014 season ended with a severe ankle injury at New Orleans and the Vikings turned the offense over to Teddy Bridgewater, a first-rounder in 2014 who performed well in spurts.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in 2014 he was disappointed that Taylor had not developed into a more consistent threat as a passer. What he does do well is operate the zone-read offense.

Taylor has wide receiver speed and the elusiveness in the open field to add a challenge for defenses locked in on stopping running back LeSean McCoy.


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