As the backup to starter Joe Flacco, Ravens rookie Tyrod Taylor gets the majority of his practice work as the scout-team quarterback. In this role, his primary charge is to give the first-team defense an idea of what to expect from the opposing offense on game day.
It is one of the ways that Taylor, the only other quarterback on Baltimore's roster, tries to stay sharp. Flacco, the Ravens' starter for the last four seasons, gets the bulk of the practice snaps with the first-team offense. Taylor estimates he gets about 6-8 reps per week as the backup, though that can vary, he said.
Taylor, a sixth-round pick from Virginia Tech, saw his first action of the regular season in Week 13 at Cleveland, gaining two yards on a direct snap from center. Flacco re-entered the game on the next play.
"I didn't have butterflies, but I was just anxious and excited to get out there," Taylor told PFW this week.
Flacco has never missed a start in four NFL seasons. In fact, no other Ravens quarterback has thrown a pass in a regular-season game since 2009.
Asked leading up to Week 14 about the prospect of Flacco ever leaving the lineup because of injury, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, while praising Taylor, noted the challenge such a situation would pose.
"We'd probably be as prepared as everybody else has been," Harbaugh said, referring to other clubs who have had to make QB changes unexpectedly. "We'd like to think the guy we have is capable of winning games for us — no doubt about it. We're very confident in Tyrod. We think he's really good. But he's a rookie, and he hasn't been in that situation before. His style of play would be different than Joe's.
"So, I think that would be something that we would have to cross that bridge when we get there. But we are preparing for it. He's taking reps in practice. He had his first play this last week. We may see more and more of that as we go forward. That's something we'd like to do. We'll just have to see what happens with that. It's a legitimate concern, though."
For his part, Taylor is working to stay prepared. His typical day, he said, begins with him arriving at the team's facilities by 7 or 7:30 a.m. He meets with Flacco both before and after practice, and he watches film on his own in the evening.
"It's a long season, definitely longer than a college season, so you have to take care of your body, the way you eat, work out," Taylor said. "And, of course, make every rep count, because it's being recorded, too. You want to be able to put good film on."
He caught some of Thursday night's Browns-Steelers game, in which both starting quarterbacks left briefly with injuries before returning.
"You just have to be ready," the Ravens' backup quarterback said.