A FINAL PLEA TO KEEP TYROD TAYLOR

Within a few days, we’ll know if Tyrod Taylor will remain as starting quarterback of the Buffalo Bills.

I remain a strong supporter of TT and don’t understand why this even is a debate.

Let’s check out TT’s performance line in two seasons as Buffalo’s starting QB:

15-14 record….623 completion percentage (530-of-851)…6,058 yards passing…37 TD passes and 12 interceptions (an excellent TD/INT ratio) …passer ratings of 99.4 in 2015 and 89.7 in 2016…199 carries for 1,148 yards and 10 TDs.

Critics – many fans and some media – focus on TT’s “weaknesses”: inaccuracy on mid-range passes; he’s relatively short. They tend to underestimate his strengths, including protecting the football, throwing a good deep ball and using his legs to sustain drives.

Buffalo’s offense in TT’s two years as starting QB ranked 13th and 16th overall and 12th and tied for 10th in points scored. Considering top wide receiver Sammy Watkins’ injuries, the offense wasn’t the team’s biggest problem.  DEFENSE was.

The Bills finished 19th in total defense in 2015 and 2016 and 15th and 19th in points allowed. The defense underachieved – not TT.

So why has TT emerged as a scapegoat? I don’t know. Many fans seem to have short memories of the parade of lousy QBs since Jim Kelly. Some media critics say the Bills can’t take Buffalo “to the next level,” whatever that means. But they offer no reasonable options.

For Buffalo, I assume the “next level” would be making the playoffs for a change. I contend that Buffalo would’ve made the playoffs in 2015 and/or 2016 if the defense had performed to expectations. I believe TT was – and is – the ideal QB for Buffalo’s top-ranked rushing offense.

TT has not been the major problem for the Bills. And getting rid of him isn’t likely to turn the 2017 Bills into a playoff team.

If the Bills let TT get away, I think Buffalo would miss him much more than he’d miss Buffalo. He’s going to be well paid no matter where he goes, and he’d probably be more appreciated by his new owner and general manager.

MORE UNSOLICITED ADVICE ON “HOW TO FIX THE BILLS:

Mike Lombardi of The Ringer offered “How to Fix the Buffalo Bills in 4 Steps”:

1—Quarterback: The Bills have had 17 different QB starters since 1996. Don’t make Cardale Jones No. 18. Tyrod Taylor could make the read-and-react offense work.

2—Must improve the overall defensive talent. It has declined since 2014.

3—Add an inside slot receiver to help Taylor.

4—Refix the offensive line, particularly right tackle.

BIG NIGHT THURSDAY FOR JERICE CROUCH

The Premier Basketball League Rochester RazorSharks are – by won-lost and championships-per-season percentages – the most successful franchise in Rochester’s pro sports history.  No RazorShark has contributed more to the team than 10-year veteran guard Jerice Crouch.

Thursday night, when the Sharks host the Jamestown Jackals, 7 p.m., at Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. Crouch will tie Keith Friel’s team record by playing in his 186th game.

Crouch, the PBL’s reigning league MVP,  is the team’s career leader in assists (787) and steals (234), and trails three-point specialist Friel in career points (he needs 403 points to top Friel’s 2,830).

Popular Rochester boxing star Willie Monroe Jr. will be available one hour before the game to meet the fans and sign autographs.

Thursday night will be the final home game of the regular season for the Sharks (11-2 record). They’re scheduled to finish with five straight road games.

THE BROTHERS CURRY

One of the best stories of this NBA season has been the emergence of Seth Curry – superstar Stephen Curry’s younger brother – as a solid player.

Seth, formerly an undrafted NBA vagabond with Memphis, Cleveland, Phoenix and Sacramento, signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Mavericks before this season worth $6 million.

Here’s how the brothers compare this season:

Stephen with Golden State (turns 29 on May 14) – 61 games (all starts); 33.5 minutes per game; 24.9 points per game; .464 field-goal percentage; .399 three-point field-goal percentage (3.9-for-9.9 per game); .910 free-throw percentage.

Seth with Dallas (turns 27 on August 23) – 58 games (30 starts); 29.0 minutes per game; 12.9 points per game; .485 field-goal percentage; .432 three-point field-goal percentage (2.0-for-4.6 per game); .840 free-throw percentage.

Happy Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has nicknamed Seth “Swaggy Swag”.

SHORT SHOTS

Swimmer Michael Phelps is the 2016 overall winner of the Hickok Belt. Phelps won five gold medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. The Hickok Belt used to go to the top professional athlete. Is a swimmer a pro athlete? Nowadays, I suppose he is. I’m surprised Tom Brady didn’t win the award.

The Buffalo Bills reportedly (ESPN’s Adam Schefter) are the “favorite” to sign free-agent fullback Kyle Juszczyk. (Baltimore Ravens). He’s a versatile fullback (runner, pass-catcher, blocker) and would be a perfect fit in Rick Dennison’s offense. I’m also impressed that the Bills are the “favorites” in anything.

Promotions for the 2017 Red Wings home season include Steve Garvey autograph appearance June 20…Ron Shelton bobblehead giveaway on Bull Durham Night July 7…Slap Shot Night featuring ther Hanson brothers July 8…Don Beebe autograph appearance July 17…Mike Timlin autograph appearance July 19…WWE Hall of Famer Ivan Putski appearance August 26.

Israel, the longest of longshots in the 16-nation World Baseball Classic, shocked the baseball world by starting Pool A round-robin play with wins over Korea (2-1) and Chinese Taipei (15-7) in Seoul, South Korea. Israel could take the pool with a victory over Netherlands Wednesday night….The United States will play Pool C games Saturday (vs. Colombia and Dominican Republic) and Sunday (vs. Canada).

The San Antonio Spurs have clinched their 20th straight playoff berth and replaced the Golden State Warriors for No. 1 in this week’s ESPN NBA Power Rankings. The rest of the top 10: Cleveland, Houston, Washington, Toronto, Utah, Boston, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis. The Knicks are 27th.

Latest NBA MVP odds (Sportsbook.ag): James Harden (5-to-6)…Russell Westbrook (8-to-5)…Kawhi Leonard 4-to-1…LeBron James 8-to-1…Isaiah Thomas 50-to-1.

National Lacrosse League home teams were 5-1 last weekend to boost their modest cumulative home record to 23-21. The Knighthawks are 2-3 at Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. Rochester is last in the nine-team league in scoring (9.3 goals per game) and in faceoff percentage (.426). The K-hawks are sixth on the power play (37-for-51; .529) and fifth in penalty killing (21-for-45; .467).

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO…

Wednesday, March 8 – Isaiah Whitehead (22)…Sasha Vujacic (33)…Hines Ward (41)…Steve Sarkisian (43)…Jason Elam (47)…Kenny Smith (52)…Buck Williams (57)…Jim Rice (64)…Dick Allen (73)…Jim Bouton (78).

Thursday, March 9 – Clint Dempsey (34)…Matt Barnes (37)…Adonal Foyle (42)…Aaron Boone (44)…Mahmoud Abdul Rauf (48)…Brian Bosworth (52)…Benito Santiago (52)…Phil Housley (53)…Terry Mulholland (54)…Darrell Walker (56)…Bert Campaneris (75).