Hue Jackson and the Cleveland Browns coaching staff made the right choice in the offseason by saying that Tyrod Taylor would be the starting quarterback.
Many thought that there would be a quarterback competition since the Browns took Heisman winner Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick in the draft. Some thought that Mayfield should be the guy that started the season out of the gate, not Taylor.
The Browns made the right choice.
The former Buffalo Bills quarterback played about average in the first two games of the season. He threw for 197 yards and one touchdown in sloppy conditions in Week 1. In the Superdome the next week, another average performance. 246 yards and one touchdown, and 144 yards came in the last two drives (including a 47 yard touchdown pass).
On Thursday night, Taylor struggled. Big time. In just less than a full half, he only completed four passes for 19 yards. He did not lead any scoring drives for Cleveland.
The chants for Baker started coming down from Browns fans before the half.
With just under a minute and a half left in the first half, Mayfield came in and showed why he was the No. 1 pick.
He drove the Browns to New York’s 27 yard-line for their first points of the game when new kicker Greg Joseph hit a 45 yard field goal.
He completed three passes on that drive. Mayfield threw it with great accuracy and put the ball where it needed to be.
Something that Tyrod was not able to do.
Baker Mayfield brought some intensity and excitement to the Browns huddle when he entered the game.
The Browns rallied around him. The offense looked better, it looked sharp. The defense started making big plays, too.
This is why Cleveland drafted Mayfield instead of Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen. Mayfield plays with a chip on his shoulder and with tons of intensity. It is something the Browns need, especially at the quarterback position.
There is no way the Browns can go back to Taylor. There are 10 days until the next game and Tyrod may be healthy by that time.
Taylor did enough in the first two games. He was one of the main reasons the Browns were in both of those games. He did his job. The Browns, the fans, the NFL all saw what he can do.
Since Baker saw the field, there is no way Cleveland can go back. It is Baker’s time now. He brings an extra dimension to the Browns offense because of his accuracy and the way he can throw the ball downfield. Something that Taylor cannot do too well.
Mayfield led the Browns back from a 14-0 deficit. He threw for 201 yards. Completed 17 passes. Caught a pass for a two-point conversion to tie the game.
He won the Browns their first game since December of 2016. He needs to start on September 30 when Cleveland travels to Oakland. He showed enough of what he can do on Thursday evening to earn that starting QB spot, even if Tyrod Taylor is healthy.
There will be bumps and roadblocks for Baker, as there are with any rookie starting quarterback in the NFL. The Browns need to ride this out.
It is Baker Mayfield’s time in Cleveland, and Hue Jackson needs to realize that. He makes the Browns a better team and won them a game, with more wins on the horizon.