The Baker Mayfield era in Cleveland has begun. After Mayfield guided the Browns to a victory over the Jets on Thursday night in relief of Tyrod Taylor, it appeared that the writing was on the wall for Taylor, who struggled mightily before being lifted with a concussion. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports that head coach Hue Jackson will formally announce Mayfield, this year’s No. 1 overall pick, as the team’s starting quarterback on Monday after he has had the chance to speak with both Mayfield and Taylor (Jackson gave his team the weekend off).
The original plan was for Mayfield to sit out for much, if not all, of 2018, and serve as Taylor’s backup while learning the professional game. However, as Cabot writes in a separate piece, Jackson and GM John Dorsey really just wanted to make sure the team around Mayfield was strong enough to support him. Indeed, she says if future Hall-of-Fame left tackle Joe Thomas had not retired this offseason, Mayfield may have started right away. But now that the team seems solid enough in all three phases — the Browns could easily be 3-0 right now — Cleveland brass is comfortable putting their prized rookie under center.
Cabot adds that, when it became clear that Taylor was not getting the job done through the first two games of the season, the Browns were likely eyeing next week’s game against the Raiders as a target date for Mayfield’s debut anyway. But Taylor’s concussion — which Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes may have been a ruse to get Mayfield in the game — allowed them to expedite the process.
Cabot says Jackson has not yet made a formal announcement because he wants to be respectful towards the veteran Taylor and to speak with him before going public. As Adam Schefter of ESPN tweets, Taylor is expected to clear the concussion protocol this week, so assuming Cabot’s report is accurate, Taylor will serve as Mayfield’s backup going forward.
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