This weekend belonged to Baker Mayfield, who made his debut as the Browns' new franchise quarterback at rookie minicamp, but the 2018 season still belongs to Tyrod Taylor. On Friday, after Mayfield impressed at his first NFL practice, Browns coach Hue Jackson reemphasized that Taylor will remain the Browns' starter -- no matter what.
"I'm not going to back off of this," Jackson said, per Cleveland.com. "We can keep writing this narrative, Tyrod Taylor's the starting quarterback of this football team, and that won't change."
Then, Jackson did his best to quell some of the hype that's already building around Mayfield.
"He has a lot of characteristics that we love. That's why he's here. (But) let's make sure we pump our brakes a little bit, because he's got a ways to go and a lot to learn," Jackson said. "I'm very excited about him. It was a good first day, but he's got a ways to go. The guy you're comparing him to (Tyrod Taylor) has played a lot of games, and won games in the National Football League."
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This has been the Browns' plan all along a year after they got burned by throwing DeShone Kizer into the fire. When , giving up a third-round pick in the process, they did so with the idea that the No. 1 overall pick would have the luxury of sitting behind and learning from a proven NFL quarterback. That's exactly what Taylor is. Over the past three seasons in Buffalo, Taylor started 43 games and played in 44, posting an impressive 51-16 touchdown-interception ratio. Last season, he helped the Bills end their lengthy playoff drought.
Now, Taylor find himself the starting quarterback of(2002).
"Tyrod has demonstrated every day what it's like to be a starting quarterback in the National Football League," Jackson said. "I want some of that to rub off on (Mayfield) so he can see firsthand what it means to play quarterback in the National Football League. Baker doesn't know. ... The thing I like about the young man, he's going to do the work. I truly believe that."
In recent years, it's becoming the norm for highly drafted quarterbacks to start their careers on the bench. Jared Goff began his rookie year backing up Case Keenum and Sean Mannion. Carson Wentz was scheduled to redshirt his rookie year until the Eagles traded Sam Bradford just before the season. Mitchell Trubisky waited behind Mike Glennon. Deshaun Watson backed up Tom Savage to start the season. Patrick Mahomes started one game (Week 17) in his rookie season.
So, everybody should believe Jackson when he says Taylor will be the opening-day starter. But nobody should rule out Mayfield's ability to earn a chance to see the field at some point 2018. If Taylor struggles and the Browns get off to yet another horrible start, the calls for Mayfield will become overbearing.
Besides, Mayfield's already impressing the Browns, even if he hasn't been perfect.
"Baker, he's working at it," Jackson said. "He made some really good throws. Obviously, he displayed he can throw the football. There's some things we've got to clean up. Can't have the ball on the ground as much. Him and the center, that's something as I said before that he's just got to get used to. We'll work through that, and he's going to work at it like you can see him right now staying after working at that."