Wednesday marked the final day of on-field workouts for the Cleveland Browns’ mandatory minicamp. Before the players began practice, the team’s trio of quarterbacks—Tyrod Taylor, Baker Mayfield and Drew Stanton—spoke to the media. And based on their comments, it appears there has been no change in the hierarchy before the team convenes for training camp in late July.
Taylor says he now feels like the leader of Cleveland’s offense. While “It takes time to learn guys on both sides of the ball. It takes time to learn the building,” said Taylor, “but as far as me commanding and taking control of the huddle, taking control of groups when we are working out and speaking up when stuff needs to be said, I definitely feel comfortable in doing that.”
That process started earlier in the offseason, when Taylor worked out with some of his teammates in Miami. Taylor said, “[F]irst and foremost, it was for me to meet guys. I had not really known anyone else other than Jarvis [Landry] at the time. Built relationships and friendships over that time. It has carried over to our bond on the field now. We trust one another, and that is going to continue to keep growing.”
Taylor is also working with Mayfield to get the rookie more NFL-ready. Of Mayfield, Taylor said, “He is asking questions. He is trying to learn the playbook, as well as everyone else is. He is competing. He is a rookie. He is trying to gain as much knowledge as possible. Like I said, all of the guys on the team, including Baker, have been great as far as the learning aspect and trying to learn as much as possible from the older guys, as well as the coaches.” Taylor is also enjoying his time working with Stanton, whom he has known since high school.
Mayfield went into greater detail about his learning process. He called this minicamp—his first foray into working with the Browns’ veteran players—as “a lot of learning and a good opportunity.” He said that, “The game is starting to slow down a little bit. Starting to recognize a little bit more. Being more tuned in with my protections,” but also added, “I want to have it all figured out all right now, but that is just not how it works. It is about realizing that we are going to have to take baby steps right now to get to where I want to go. You do not build a great castle all at once. You have to build it block by block.”
He is also adapting to his role as a backup, noting that “it is human nature and you want to play.” But he added that, “I was not brought here to just start. I was brought here to help turn this thing around. Whatever my role is, that is what I need to do, whether that is playing scout team, being the best backup possible or playing.” He noted that “There has definitely been a learning curve. There have been some bumps in the road, which was expected. Right now, I am just trying to find consistency.”
Stanton’s presence will certainly help in that matter. Stanton pointed out that, “I have been around three No. 1 overall picks [as a backup quarterback], and obviously, Baker will be the fourth.” He said that Mayfield “has a great mindset. Just coming in here and wanting to work and get better and just doing all of those things. He is asking questions that are relevant. He is engaged. He is doing it the right way.” Stanton has no illusions about his place on the roster, either, saying that an important role for him is “being an advocate for the starter.”
With Taylor showing the confidence and leadership befitting a No. 1 quarterback and Mayfield embracing learning the game as a rookie, it appears that Hue Jackson’s plan for Taylor being the Browns’ Week 1 starter is still on track.