From the distinctive Virginia drawl of his cadence to dashing out of the pocket and rocketing throws on the run, Tyrod Taylor is performing his best imitation this week of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.
“I'm trying to mimic some of the things he does on offense, that's the job of the scout team quarterback,” Taylor said. “I do it all, I do a little bit of everything. We do a lot of things similarly, so showing the defense that kind of look isn't tough for me. It feels natural.”
Like Vick, Taylor is from the Tidewater area of Virginia and starred at Virginia Tech. Like Vick, Taylor is known for his mobility.
One of the biggest differences, besides the contrast between their respective bank accounts and NFL accomplishments: Vick is a lefty.
“If he could throw left-handed, it'd be even better, but he's certainly running around, scrambling, doing those kinds of things,” Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees said of Taylor. “A great athlete and can help us in a lot of those ways, the only thing is just you kind of have to flip everything formation-wise for Vick because of the left-handed stuff. But he's giving us a great look.”
A former Atlantic Coast Conference Offensive Player of the Year drafted in the sixth round by the Ravens last year, Taylor broke several of Vick's quarterback records with the Hokies. That included 9,213 yards of total offense, 24 touchdowns in a single season and 2,196 career rushing yards and touchdown runs.
“That's my guy,” Vick said of Taylor in a conference call. “He's a great kid. He's trying to learn as much as he can, and he's getting better as a quarterback as I watch him.”
Vick has mentored Taylor for the past two years, training with him during the offseason.
“He's been a tremendous part of the amount of my progress the last two years,” Taylor said. “There's a lot of things I can learn from him and he's willing to give me that information.”
Vick was intercepted four times in a win over the Cleveland Browns last week, but also passed for 317 yards and two touchdowns.
It's the unpredictability and rare speed Vick possesses that Taylor is trying to emulate to familiarize the defense.
“We had a debate in our meeting room who was faster, Tyrod Taylor or Michael Vick? Of course, Tyrod says they were tied,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “The good news is we've had a chance to prepare for it a little bit because we've seen Tyrod all through the offseason and training camp.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun