Long in search of a franchise quarterback, Baker Mayfield’s OTA performance may already have Cleveland Browns fans ready to give up.
Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson has remained steadfast that Tyrod Taylor will be the Week 1 starting quarterback, with No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield obviously the latest future hope for the franchise.
Another phase of OTAs are going on around the league. Rampant optimism abounds, regarding players who are present for what’s technically still voluntary work right now.
Reporters can also report how players look and perform during these OTA sessions, to fuel fans that eat up anything and everything related to their favorite NFL team. But the first report on Mayfield surely has Browns fans on a downer already.
According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, Mayfield threw three interceptions during his first open to the media OTA practice session on Wednesday, with two more passes that were nearly picked off. A caveat that two of those three interceptions going off a receiver’s hands is some consolation, but any sign of another erratic, turnover-prone signal caller is not good for the Browns.
Browns fans might be ready to give up already, but here are three overreactions to Mayfield’s three interceptions during his first OTA practice.
3. This OTA practice was all bad
Nope, not at all. Cabot cited some good throws from Mayfield during Wednesday’s practice, amid his growing pains. Hard Knocks also started filming at Browns practice Wednesday, so all of Mayfield’s mistakes may find their way into that first episode later this summer. He may have also been subconsciously aware of the presence of cameras.
2. Mayfield isn’t even good enough to beat out Tyrod Taylor
Acquiring Taylor from the Buffalo Bills allowed the Browns to take is slowly with whatever quarterback they drafted, and that’s still the plan. Jackson told Cabot as much.
Tyrod’s our starting quarterback. Baker’s our No. 1 pick. He’s our quarterback of the future. I’ve said that since this happened. I don’t think that will change. I want those guys to be exposed for what they do, because I think our fans want to know them and what makes them tick. But at the same time, I don’t think it should put any more pressure on what we need to do as a football team about who’s playing quarterback for us.
If he’s given a legitimate chance to beat out Taylor for the starting job, Mayfield may be under center for the Browns Week 1. One up-and-down OTA session in May will not change that. And that leaves aside Taylor being one of the more underrated and underappreciated quarterbacks in the league, so starting the season behind him on the depth chart will not be a black mark on Mayfield.
1. This already is Johnny Manziel, Part 2!
Mayfield drew convenient, and lazy in many respects, comparisons to Johnny Manziel during the pre-draft process. That was rooted mostly in their similar physical statures and brash personalities. But Mayfield has shown signs he’ll work to improve and wants the pressure of leading the Browns back to relevance. It’s not even Memorial Day, and Mayfield’s early status as No. 3 on the depth chart is part deference to Drew Stanton and a way to make sure Mayfield earns his way up.