Talk about being premature.
After Baker Mayfield’s first practice with the Browns Friday, coach Hue Jackson declared Tyrod Taylor is his starting quarterback. Period.
Well of course he is. It’s early May. Nothing is set in stone in early May when it comes to rookies. These kids are barely getting their football feet wet.
“He (Mayfield) has a lot of characteristics we love,” Jackson said. “That’s why he’s here. (But) let’s pump the brakes a little bit because he’s got a ways to go and has a lot to learn.”
Why even suggest at this time that this is the case? Unless, of course, someone in the media broached the subject because the rookie looked good. Thinking like that now is either naïve or ignorant.
“I’m not going to back off of this,” Jackson stressed. And he shouldn’t. “We can keep writing this narrative. Tyrod Taylor is the starting quarterback of this team and that won’t change.”
But the coach had better get used to it as summer approaches and the seriousness of the situation heats up. He might eventually regret declaring now that there won’t be competition at the position once training camp begins and sticking with that notion.
A lot will depend on how quickly Mayfield, purported to be a quick study, absorbs offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s playbook.
It will be interesting to see whether Jackson gives Mayfield a chance in camp and exhibition games to unseat Taylor or rigidly rejects that possibility no matter how well he plays.
As suggested in this space a few columns ago, it would not be surprising if word comes down from on high (General Manager John Dorsey) to level the playing field if the rookie plays like a veteran early on.
It’s a situation that definitely bears watching, Jackson’s declaration notwithstanding..