The Redskins are preparing to face a dynamic Bills offense lead by dual-threat quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who has more than 2,400 passing yards and is closing in on 400 rushing yards as well.
Whenever Tyrod Taylor is on the field, the Washington Redskins must make sure they're playing until the whistle blows.
If they don't, Taylor – in his first season with the Buffalo Bills – will make them pay.
Along with 2,439 yards with 18 touchdowns and just five interceptions through the air, Taylor, a fifth-year Virginia Tech product, has also carried the ball 71 times for 371 yards and three touchdowns.
"The challenge with him is that the play is never over," Redskins cornerback Will Blackmon said. "You have to stay alive. …I think the biggest thing with him is that he'll take off to get a first down cause he's a heck of a runner and he was at V-Tech as well. The challenge is to make sure when we pass rush, you know, not have any open lanes for him to just run through, keep him contained, and for us in coverage to truly plaster our guys wait until the ball hits the ground."
Taylor signed with the Bills in the offseason after four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens.
He would see the field only sporadically, as the 2011 sixth-round pick would appear in only 14 games with 35 pass attempts and 27 rushing attempts.
But that time spent on the sideline with the Ravens was valuable, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said.
"Oh, man, he's been impressive, really taking advantage of a situation where he had to sit behind a heck-of-a quarterback in [Joe] Flacco at Baltimore," Gruden said. "[He] got limited reps there, and when he did, he showed Buffalo enough to take a chance on him. He's really made it pay off. He's a very good player. He's a much better passer than I think people would have given him credit for but he's very good with his legs — can run the ball extremely well out of the pocket and throw on the run. I've been impressed with him."
One of the fears sometimes with dual-threat quarterbacks is their accuracy, as big gains are counterbalanced by forced errors.
That hasn't been the case for Taylor this season, though, as he's thrown just five interceptions in 11 games this season, three of which came in one game against the New England Patriots.
"He's been really smart with the ball," Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry said. "When things do breakdown around him – when the coverage is great and things break down around him – he can stick his foot in the ground and run. …He's playing really good football for them right now."
Taylor hasn't necessarily had the big games running the ball, but he's been effective when calling his own number.
Six different times this season Taylor's rushed for at least 40 yards in a game, most recently carrying the ball eight times for 53 yards last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
If Taylor crosses paths with veteran defensive back DeAngelo Hall, the three-time Pro Bowler won't be shy in "trying to pick him off and knock his head off, too" even though they have a close relationship dating back to connections both in the Tidewater region of Virginia and Virginia Tech.
"He's like a little brother to me," Hall said. "I've known him since he was, gosh, 13, 14 years old. It was funny, we were talking [on Tuesday]. He's texting me, and he was like, 'Man, it's crazy I'm about to play against you.' I was like, 'Yeah, kind of crazy.' He was like, 'Man, I can remember watching you in high school playing my high school as a middle school kid going to the game, watching you play. And I'm like, 'Yeah man, I can remember rooting for you at Virginia Tech and now I get the chance to go against you.'"