COSTA MESA, Calif. — In his first comments since the Los Angeles Chargers announced a mutual parting of ways with longtime quarterback Philip Rivers, head coach Anthony Lynn said Tyrod Taylor, last year’s backup, could have an opportunity to earn the starting job in 2020.
Lynn recently signed a one-year contract extension that puts him with the Chargers through the 2021 season, according to a source.
“Tyrod Taylor is a heck of a quarterback,” Lynn told AM 570 LA Sports. “We couldn’t have a better backup right now, and now he has an opportunity to maybe step up into a starting role. I’ve had Tyrod before [in Buffalo], and I know what this young man brings to the table, in the passing game and the running game.
“One of the things he does very well is take care of the football. I believe every year he’s started in this league he’s been the No. 1 quarterback in taking care of the football. I believe more games are lost than won. So if we can just take care of the football and take it away, we’ll be OK.”
Rivers turned the ball over 23 times during last season’s 5-11 campaign. Taking care of the football is a top priority for Lynn. The Chargers finished 2-9 in games decided by one score in 2019.
Taylor signed a two-year, $11 million deal last offseason and will make $5 million in total compensation in 2020. The Chargers also have another mobile quarterback, Easton Stick, a fifth-round selection from last year’s draft.
In his last full season as a starter, Taylor turned it over just six times in 2017, leading the Buffalo Bills to the postseason for the first time in 18 years.
Taylor also helped the Bills lead the league with 2,630 rushing yards in 2016 when Lynn was his offensive coordinator.
“There are some guys that can win from the pocket, but when you look around the league, most of these guys are mobile quarterbacks that can move,” Lynn told 570 AM, when asked what style of quarterback he prefers. “All you have to do is watch high school football on Friday nights. High school football told me 10 years ago the direction the NFL was headed.
“So that’s just the world that we’re in right now — you can do more things and be more cutting edge [with a mobile quarterback]. But that guy that can stand back there, pick up all those protections, throw the ball from the pocket and use the quick passing game [instead of] his legs, you can still win with a classic pocket passer.”
Lynn also talked about the process of moving on from Rivers after 16 seasons as the face of the franchise.
“We looked at a lot of things with Phil and where he’s at in his career,” Lynn said. “And Phil had a say-so in it as well. We agreed to split. And we couldn’t have done it any classier or better. My conversation with Phil was one of the best I’ve had with him, I can tell you that.
“I’m a big fan of his. And if he decides to continue to play, I’m going to root for that young man and Tiffany; they are two special people. But it was just time. It happens. Brett Favre left Green Bay. Joe Montana left the 49ers. Peyton Manning left Indy. It happens.”