Tyrod Taylor earned the starting quarterback job for the Chargers, but then lost it to rookie Justin Herbert after some unfortunate events.
Taylor played decent enough in Week 1 to start Los Angeles off to a 1-0 record. He finished with 208 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. It was his first start since 2018 when he began the season as the Browns’ quarterback before getting hurt and losing his job to Baker Mayfield.
Before that, he was the starting quarterback in Buffalo, and he led the Bills to a playoff berth, snapping an 18-year playoff drought. In the three years after leading a team to the playoffs, Taylor only started in three games. He was out to prove he was still a valuable starter in 2020, and then things went awry.
When Week 2’s game against the Chiefs started, Taylor was nowhere to be seen and Herbert was suddenly the starting quarterback. ESPN soon reported that this was the result of a team doctor who accidentally punctured Taylor’s lung while trying to administer a pain-killing injection to his cracked ribs.
We’ll break down the incident in more detail below.
Chargers doctor punctures Tyrod Taylor’s lung
Taylor’s injury actually starts in Week 1’s game against the Bengals. The quarterback suffered two cracked ribs during the first drive of that game, per ESPN, but continued to play through the injury. He didn’t have an MRI until later that week, and he was on the team’s injury report.
Despite the rib injury, Taylor was cleared to play in Week 2. He was just going to receive a pain-killing injection to help him get through the game. However, the injection didn’t go to plan.
The injection that Taylor received is not entirely uncommon, but it carries a risk because a doctor injects without seeing where the needle is going. Still, it is rare that a player suffers a punctured lung from the injection, especially right before kickoff, sources told ESPN.
Mehmet Oz, better known as TV personality Dr. Oz, explained to TMZ what the purpose of the injection was.
“Doctors were trying to do what is sometimes done, which is to numb the nerves beneath the rib,” he explains. “Now the ribs are lying right next to the lungs. There’s a teflon-thin layer between the lungs and these ribs. The ribs are supposed to protect us from lung injuries. So the doctor took a needle, and I’m a heart surgeon so I do this a lot. You take that little needle and you have to sort of sneak in there right beneath the rib to get to where the nerve is to numb it up. It’s not a lot of room for error.
“And unfortunately they punctured that teflon-thin lining around the lungs and gave him what’s called a numeral thorax. That means there’s an air-sack now outside the lung that puts pressure on the lung.”
Dr. Oz added it’ll probably take 1-2 weeks for that air to go away.
Tyrod Taylor gets benched after injury
After the Chargers’ Week 2 game, which was a loss to the Chiefs in overtime, coach Anthony Lynn said Taylor would return as starter once he was healthy.
However, the injury forced Taylor to miss the Chargers’ next two games, and in that time, first-round draft pick Herbert showed a lot of promise. He’s averaging 310 yards in his three starts, has scored six total touchdowns and has the 10th-highest quarterback rating in the league.
Herbert’s success made it difficult to bring Taylor back in to the mix, so coach Lynn is riding the hot hand. He announced Herbert would be the team’s starting quarterback moving forward, even when Taylor is healthy enough to play. He was ruled out of Week 5’s game against the Saints despite getting some limited practice reps in throughout the week.
Lynn said Taylor was a professional, but wasn’t too happy with the decision.
“He did not take it well because he wants to lead this team,” Lynn told reporters. “But he is a pro. He’s one of the better pros I’ve been around. He will support Justin like he’s been doing. He’s still the captain of this football team.”
What’s next for Tyrod Taylor?
Taylor becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, so it seems highly probable that he leaves. The Chargers have their future quarterback in Herbert, so there’s no need for Taylor to stay. It’s also unlikely he wants to remain on this team considering everything that happened this year.
The veteran quarterback will be 32 years old by the time the 2021 season starts. He may find himself in a similar situation as 2019 where he joins a team as a veteran presence without being a starter. Starting jobs are hard to come by these days, especially for 32-year-old players who have four starts in the past three seasons.
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