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.
Tyrod Taylor has openly stated that he feels he deserved more support from the Buffalo Bills during the time he was with the team, and the quarterback is clearly carrying that perceived disrespect with him into the 2018 season.
In an appearance on NFL Network Wednesday, Taylor said he is “definitely motivated” by the way the Bills bailed on him and would love an opportunity to prove to them that they made a mistake.
“Definitely motivated. Things didn’t end the way I would’ve liked it to in Buffalo,” Taylor said, per Mark Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “We could possibly see those guys in the playoffs or we could knock those guys out of the playoffs. I would definitely love that. It definitely added motivation and I take it to work with me every day.”
You’d have to be insane to predict a playoff matchup between the Bills and Cleveland Browns, but you have to admire Taylor’s level of confidence. Hue Jackson has said Taylor is going to be the starting quarterback even though the team drafted Baker Mayfield, so Taylor should have plenty of motivation to reward his coach for believing in him.
Taylor said recently that he believes he did plenty to earn a job as Buffalo’s starter in 2018 and beyond, but the Bills chose to go in another direction. The chip Taylor has on his shoulder might lead to a few wins for the Browns this season, but making the playoffs seems like an impossible task.
The Buffalo Bills made the playoffs last season, but that wasn’t enough to keep quarterback Tyrod Taylor with the team.
Now a member of the Cleveland Browns, Taylor didn’t hide how aggrieved he was that the Bills did not see fit to retain his services. It’s quite clear that he feels a bit bitter toward former coach Sean McDermott, jokingly asking a reporter who covered him in Buffalo if the coach knew he was at Cleveland camp.
“Whether I was or whether I wasn’t, I’m not there anymore. That’s his decision moving forward,” Taylor said, via Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. “I still feel that I’d done more than enough to stay where I was. But at the end of the day, they made a decision to move forward. And that’s their decision.”
Taylor clearly feels he played a major role in helping the Bills evolve into actual playoff contenders after the longest drought in American sports was broken last year.
“It was special to be a part of a team last year that was able to break a 17-year (playoff) drought,” Taylor said. “We didn’t finish the season the way we wanted to, but at the end of the day, we were able to change the culture. That was something that I set as a goal for the team. The main goal, to win a Super Bowl, wasn’t accomplished, but we were able to do some very special things in the three years that I was there and I have nothing to regret or to hang my head (about) in my time there. There’s nothing to be disappointed about.
“We were able to be in the playoff hunt each year. My first year, we knocked the Jets out of the playoffs the last game. We were eliminated the week before, so (the Bills were still alive for the postseason until the) second-to-the-last week of the season. But that was something that wasn’t necessarily the case prior to the time that I was there.”
Taylor and McDermott clearly didn’t quite end up on the same page. After all, Taylor was benched despite leading the team to a 5-4 record, only to take the job back after his backup turned in a disastrous performance. You can see why Taylor would be a bit upset, but it was time to move on for everyone.
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.
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Baker Mayfield could have the best training camp of any rookie in NFL history, and it sounds like it still wouldn’t be enough for him to win a starting job in his first season as a pro.
After Mayfield and other Cleveland Browns rookies went through their first minicamp on Friday, Jackson praised the No. 1 pick but continued to temper expectations.
“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, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “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.”
Jackson then once again assured reporters Taylor is going to be under center in Week 1.
“I’m not going to back off of this,” he said. “We can keep writing this narrative, Tyrod Taylor’s the starting quarterback of this football team, and that won’t change.
“I don’t want to look back. That’s why we traded for (Taylor). He’s here to lead this organization to winning. I think Tyrod Taylor will do that. I’m very excited about Baker Mayfield. I’m glad he’s on our football team. I’m excited about Drew Stanton. I’m excited about our quarterback room in general. But it feels good to have a guy I know has played in games in the National Football League in the tough division we play in and won.”
The Browns have had a revolving door at quarterback for many years now, and they want to finally get it right. It makes sense that they don’t want to risk hurting Mayfield’s confidence by throwing him into the fold prematurely. While some other teams may have already admitted they are willing to give their rookie QBs a chance to win the starting job, it sounds like Mayfield is going to have to wear a headset for a while.
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The NFL free agency frenzy has officially come and gone, and while there are still plenty of moves to be made, the noteworthy trades, signings, releases and tenders are all set in stone.
Free agency itself was as wild as ever, but the trade market was also far more active than usual. And as the result of both, a plethora of superstars have new homes heading into the 2018.
Here’s a look at 20 NFL players who will thrive with their new team.
20. Justin Pugh, OL, Arizona Cardinals
Behind Andrew Norwell, Nate Solder and one or two others, Justin Pugh was arguably the most talented offensive lineman available in free agency. The versatile Pugh proved himself to be a selfless team-first player with the Giants, shifting positions based on the team’s needs. He played both tackle and guard positions, and played relatively well at each. With some positional stability in Arizona, Pugh should excel so long as he can remain healthy.
- Alec Ogletree, Alex Smith, Andrew Norwell, Aqib Talib, Danny Shelton, Dion Lewis, Jarvis Landry, Jason McCourty, Jason Pierre-Paul, Josh Sitton, Justin Pugh, Kirk Cousins, Michael Bennett, Muhammad Wilkerson, Nate Solder, Ndamukong Suh, Richard Sherman, Tyrann Mathieu, Tyrod Taylor, Vinny Curry
The new league year is still less than two weeks old, but already the entire NFL landscape has changed quite a bit thanks in large part to free agency and an uncharacteristically active trade market. Couple that with a plethora of new head coaches, new general managers and shifts in front office structure, and there’s been a substantial amount of shakeup around the NFL.
But which teams and players have benefited most from all these changes? Who has gotten better? Who has gotten worse?
Here’s a look at the 10 best moves of the 2018 NFL offseason to date.
10. Eagles acquire Michael Bennett
The Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl title on the shoulders of their dominant defense, which was highlighted by one of the better and more versatile defensive lines in football. So, what did the Eagles do as they begin their path to a repeat? They further bolstered their defensive line with the addition of Michael Bennett, who had been traded by the Seattle Seahawks as part of their organizational purge.
To land Bennett and a seventh-round pick, the Eagles sent back a fifth-round selection in the 2018 draft and wide receiver Marcus Johnson, who signed with Philadelphia as an undrafted rookie out of Texas in 2016 and was rarely used.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, Bennett came with some unexpected baggage. He recently had a warrant issued for his arrest as part of an ongoing assault investigation. Bennett allegedly injured a 66-year-old paraplegic woman during Super Bowl LI, which led to an indictment by a Texas Grand Jury.
The charge carries a potential for 10 years in prison, but so long as Bennett gets his life in order and pays the proper restitution, it should still result in a good acquisition for the Eagles.