The early opinion is that Baker Mayfield has a long way to go to compete with Tyrod Taylor for the Cleveland Browns’ starting quarterback job.
The Browns held OTAs and minicamp, which gave them a look at their new QBs. According to Cleveland.com’s Dan Labbe, Mayfield did not look ready to push Taylor. Here’s what he said:
“Based on the six practices of OTAs and minicamp that were open to the media, Mayfield, in my opinion, did not look ready to compete with Taylor for the No. 1 quarterback job.”
Labbe’s opinion matches that of the team’s new offensive coordinator.
On Friday, Todd Haley said that Mayfield had a long way to go to catch Taylor.
It seems as if this is the way the Browns planned for things to go. They acquired Taylor in a trade with Buffalo before the draft, and yet they still used the No. 1 overall pick on Mayfield. Maybe they wanted to set up a stable situation at quarterback for the first time in a while in Cleveland that way there wouldn’t be a ton of pressure on Mayfield to be an immediate hero. The rookie should have plenty of time to learn and develop.
Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield are both entering their first season with a new team and new offense, but the veteran is apparently showing how important experience is as training camp draws near.
Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley made his first public comments about the team’s quarterback situation this week, and he had extremely high praise for Taylor.
“He is in a new situation with new coaches around him and a lot of new players, guys that have been here,” Haley said, via Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland. “Not an easy situation to come into, but I thought that Tyrod has done a tremendous, tremendous job of establishing himself as the leader of this offense. His car is there every morning in his spot when I get here in the morning, and it is there when I am leaving. That is what you are looking for in the leader of the offense.”
While Haley also had good things to say about Mayfield and said the rookie has “made very good progress,” he made it seem as though Taylor is in no danger of losing the Week 1 starting job.
“That is yet to be determined. He has a long way to go,” Haley said of whether or not Mayfield can close the gap. “I would say it is clear that Tyrod is the leader of this team. That is a big component of that position, also.”
The Browns don’t want to rush Mayfield like they have with some of their past rookie QBs, and it would take an injury or a disastrous training camp for Taylor to be bumped down the depth chart. Based on some of the comments Taylor made this week about his motivation heading into 2018, it’s clear he wants to earn the starting job and not look back.
The Cleveland Browns may not be particularly enamored with the thought of Johnny Manziel giving Baker Mayfield advice, but he’s doing it whether they like it or not.
Manziel appeared on the Dan Patrick Show on Thursday, and he urged Mayfield to lean on the veterans around him to overcome the challenges that come with being the Cleveland Browns’ franchise quarterback.
“I feel like Baker’s in a better situation having a vet quarterback in there in Tyrod (Taylor),” Manziel said, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “There’s not pressure on him to come in and start Day 1 and I think he’s going into it and he’s going to learn from the vets.
“It hurts when you don’t have a guy like Joe Thomas on the O-Line because once I started to get to know Joe and started to pick his brain, I really started to learn a lot of stuff. That guy is a legend, but (Mayfield) has good people around him, he’s got a good group of receivers, and trust in those guys that they have around him. That would be my advice to him.”
It’s actually pretty sound advice. It helps that Mayfield seems to have a good head on his shoulders, judging by how he’s dealt with things that could easily be distractions for other players.
While so much of the attention at Cleveland Browns camp will be on Baker Mayfield, he isn’t even going to be the starting quarterback.
That job belongs to Tyrod Taylor, who said it’s his duty to block out the chatter about Mayfield, and he believes he can do it.
“Absolutely,” Taylor said, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “It’s part of the job. It’s part of being a leader, being able to take on questions, even on days that you don’t want to take them on. I’m here to help turn this organization around. We have a step for us to take tomorrow (at the start of OTAs) and I’m looking forward to it as well as everyone else.”
If anything, Taylor is fueled by the underdog mentality he has.
“I was drafted in 2011,” Taylor said. “(10) quarterbacks were taken ahead of me. Two of them are playing now (Cam Newton and Andy Dalton). And that’s not any disrespect to the guys who aren’t playing, but what drove me every day was remembering my mom and my parents’ faces and the feeling that I had on draft day, not being happy about that. So I’m going to continue to keep pushing, continue to keep working the way I do.
“[I’m] ready to take my game to the next level. I think that I’ve been able to take steps in the right direction each year that I’ve been able to play the game. So I’m excited about the opportunity that I have here. There’s so much talent on this team and guys that are in the right mindset.”
Taylor has been assured of the starting job, but it still feels tenuous as the expectation settles on Mayfield. The veteran quarterback looks to be handling it as well as can be expected.
No NFL team wants to be featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” but someone has to do it, and this year that someone will be the Cleveland Browns.
It’s not an ideal situation for a team coming off an 0-16 season trying to groom its No. 1 overall pick into their franchise quarterback, but Baker Mayfield is looking on the bright side of the situation.
“For me, looking at it, and us as a team, I’d say it can be good if you handle it right,” Mayfield told Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan on SiriusXM’s Movin’ The Chains. “If you think about it as way to get on camera and try and show off or do certain things and you handle it the wrong way, then that can be very negative, it can be a distraction. But if you use it as a sense of, ‘OK, I’ve got to block out everything else and just focus on playing ball,’ then that can be a great thing for us, just having people within our practices, our training camp, right there.
“It’s not like they’re trying to distract us, but they’re there and you could worry about it, you could think about it. But if you’re able to focus in, that can be a beneficial thing for us, talking about going into away stadiums and going into different environments where you have to focus on doing your job. So I’m looking forward to it. I know my family is probably looking forward to it as well, to be able to get to see kind of practice and what’s going on since they won’t be able to see it there, first-hand, in person.”
The Browns made no secret of not wanting any part of this, but they’ve been left with no choice. Mayfield is handling it about as well as you could hope he would.
How will Baker Mayfield spend his first NFL paycheck? You might think the No. 1 overall pick in the draft would go all-out, but it doesn’t sounds like that is the case.
ESPN wrote up a cool story where they shared what NFL rookies will be doing with their newfound money. What did Mayfield say when asked how he would spend it?
“I haven’t thought about it. Savings? Yeah, savings is a good call,” the Cleveland Browns quarterback said.
He was among a number of rookies who talked about plans to save their money. Josh Rosen, Leighton Vander Esch, Sony Michel and Isaiah Wynn were some of the others who shared plans to save. Several other players talked about buying or doing something nice for their parents. Many also talked about buying new cars or fixing their old ones.
The best answers of all though seemed to come from Bradley Chubb and Justin Reid. If you’re a fan of one of their teams, you’ll appreciate the responses. The good news is that nobody seems to be on the Vince Young plan yet.
Some teams make quite clear who they plan to draft with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, but the Cleveland Browns were not one of them.
General manager John Dorsey was exceptionally secretive about Cleveland’s plans, and he explained why they were so tight-lipped about Baker Mayfield to NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Wednesday.
“Personally, when I knew is when I left the private workout in Norman, Oklahoma, I knew in my gut that that was gonna be the guy,” Dorsey said, via Sean Wagner-McGough of CBS Sports. “But when you make a decision this large, you want to have unanimous consent in the building. So you don’t want to set the stage or alter anything. So you want to hear unbiased opinion on everybody before you make this decision. So that’s why I kept it as pure as we possibly can.”
By Dorsey’s retelling, that’s exactly what happened, and all the big names in the building independently agreed that Mayfield would be the guy.