Cleveland Browns: When should Baker Mayfield take the starting job?

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Since his NFL preseason debut for the Cleveland Browns, Baker Mayfield has been the talk of the legacy. The question now is when he’ll be the starter.

In today’s NFL, anytime a quarterback steps onto the field, hits on five out of five throws for 99 yards and a touchdown it is usually a news-worthy performance. Although new Cleveland Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor did just that as the starter, and even with his perfect quarterback rating to boot, he has become an afterthought following rookie Baker Mayfield’s outing.

The old saying goes that if you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have a quarterback. While that certainly rings true most of the time, the quarterback-starved franchise and fans simply can’t get enough. Two capable quarterbacks are the biggest blessing the Dawg Pound has seen since, well, I honestly can’t recall how long.

Mayfield stepped in as the second quarterback in the Browns’ preseason opener and simply amazed. He showed the poise and decision-making of a seasoned vet, and every other trait that one could hope for in a starting quarterback. I will offer one other observation — his height seems to no longer be an issue.

The biggest difficulty now lies in the determination of the starting role. While Taylor certainly proved his worth, Mayfield did as well. Before christening Mayfield the starter and booting Taylor to the bench though, we must look a little deeper.

This was a preseason game. While it is good to see Mayfield perform well, he was mostly facing the No. 2 Giants defense at its most basic. The strategic onslaught of defensive misleads were not present. The regular season is when teams will plan extensively and add their finest trickeries to attempt to throw off opposing offenses.

While fans can feel confident in Mayfields ability once he faces No. 1 defenses, there should be an understanding that the complexities of the game have not been mastered by a rookie following his initial outing. All things in time, one step at a time, so on and so forth.

Many might agree that Mayfield has shown himself capable and likely could learn on the fly as a starter. With that said, the Browns should indeed stay the course and bring young Baker along slowly. He will find a level of comfort with experience, but until the regular season begins he will not get a solid glimpse of things to come.

Let him sit back and study the Pittsburgh Steelers defense in Week 1. Let him watch how Taylor handles the different reads, and let him see second-hand what he will face once his time comes.

The regular season, and the Steelers especially, will provide a different world of exotic defensive looks and will provide a wealth of information for Mayfield to absorb. Could he handle the pressure now? I would imagine so. Would he benefit from some advanced-course studying before taking the starting-exam? Most certainly.

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Tyrod Taylor is the starter for now, and for good reason. Drew Stanton will be pointing out details and coaching it up on the sidelines, and as long as they stay the course, good things await.

As long as Mayfield has new things to learn, his place should be on the sidelines. Once the time comes where he no longer sees things that he hasn’t yet seen, is when he should step in. He has proven a student of the game and the stage is certainly not too big. The era of Baker’s Browns are quickly approaching, but it has not arrived just yet.