Quiet as kept, Cleveland Browns starting QB Tyrod Taylor saved his job on Thursday night and No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield missed an opportunity to shift the fate of a QB battle that Brown head coach Hue Jackson has already awarded to the veteran Taylor. Jackson’s been reiterating that Taylor is the starter since April, but as Mayfield moved up the depth chart, fans started believing that theres some wiggle room in that decision.
Hue Jackson says Baker Mayfield will start 3rd on the depth chart (so did Kizer last year) and that he’s firmly committed to Tyrod Taylor as the #Browns starter https://t.co/SbjCHbHbQu
Taylor wasnt about to lose his starting job behind an injury. The veteran has been in the game long enough to know that NFL starting quarterback jobs are not guaranteed for anyone, especially a Black quarterback. During a season in which he took Buffalo to the playoffs for the first time in 18 years, Taylor was benched by Bills HC Sean McDermott for unknown rookie Nathan Peterman. The move turned into one of the epic fails of the past decade as Peterman threw five first half picks and Taylor was back in as starter shortly after.
Here is Nathan Peterman throwing his fifth(!) interception of the day. All in the first half. #Bills https://t.co/OLWjQBLZYR
Jackson has suffered some criticism for his decision to play Taylor with the first team, while rookieBaker Mayfield gets the second team reps. Fan support for Mayfield has been building since his debut and some are thirsty for him to be named the starter.
In the first quarter of Thursday nights preseason game against a swarming Eagles defense, Taylor suffered a left arm injury that looked serious as he hurried off the field favoring it. On fourth-and-goal from the Eagles’ 1-yard line on the Browns’ second offensive series of the game, Taylor rolled out of the pocket to avoid the oncoming smoke. As he threw the ball, he fell to the ground, and replays showed his left wrist bent backward.
Watch the wrist…ouch. Browns QB Tyrod Taylor hurts his wrist following a horrible goal line possession. #Browns #HardKnocks #TyrodTaylor https://t.co/hE2iddc4qi
The severity of the injury was unknown, but Taylors return was listed as questionable, which usually means his day is done, especially in the preseason. The announcers made the injury seem more serious than it was and in that moment the football world braced for what was looking like the beginning of the Baker Mayfield era.
Baker Mayfield walking into the Browns huddle after Tyrod Taylor got hurt https://t.co/ibj5LVSwme
Mayfield entered the game, but Taylor remarkably resurfaced in the second quarter. Its rare for a starting quarterback to risk further injury in that situation.
What the hell is Cleveland doing putting Tyrod back in?!
This wasnt an ordinary preseason game, however, and Taylor knew it. Taylor looks at social media and stays abreast of the latest sports takes. With the hotshot rookie QB that everyone is clamoring for is on his ass, Taylor wasnt relinquishing three-quarters of football to Mayfield under any circumstances. If Mayfield went H.A.M. on Philly, it would only add drama to this quarterback controversy.
Tyrod Taylor will start over Baker Mayfield for the Cleveland Browns, but should he? https://t.co/DR68koS02h
Taylor was 4-for-8 for 19 yards before leaving, and he finished the first half 11-for-16 overall for 65 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. It was a typically solid, Taylor performance. After Taylors day was done, Mayfield (8-for-12 for 76 yards) took over again to start the second half but his moment ended with him in concussion protocol for running into a teammate.
“I was fixing to go back in the game, but they decided not to put me back in,” Mayfield said. “So, not my call, not worried about it. I should have taken advantage of the time when I was in.”
Mayfield knows he missed his shot to steal the job from Taylor. Taylor knows from past experiences that a guarantee from his head coach isn’t a guarantee at all.