Prior to the start of the 2018 NFL season, there was legitimate buzz about the Cleveland Browns. Though most were reasonable enough to know that the Browns weren’t likely to make a jump to full-blown playoff contention, it is hard to blame anyone for being a little more excited after an encouraging preseason, particularly after a two-season stretch in which the franchise banked only one victory.
However, things have been up and down for the Browns over the first two weeks, as the team posted a record of 0-1-1 that could’ve easily been 2-0 with some improved execution. The play of quarterback Tyrod Taylor came under fire as well and, given the presence of No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield, rumblings have been in the air that head coach Hue Jackson could make a change in the near future.
Late in the first half against the New York Jets on Thursday evening, the Browns trailed by a score of 14-0 and, to put it bluntly, there wasn’t much to cheer about from Taylor. Then, the veteran signal-caller was led to the locker room as he needed to be evaluated for a potential concussion and, after Cleveland’s defense forced a three-and-out, Mayfield entered for his NFL debut with a chance to secure points before the halftime break.
His first drive began at the 1:42 mark and, soon after, the Browns were on the board with their first scoring play of the evening, putting up a field goal to slash the lead to 14-3.
Prior to Mayfield’s entry, Taylor completed only four of 14 passes for an ugly 19 yards and, on his first drive, the former Oklahoma standout went 3-for-4 for 47 yards. Mayfield did cough off the football after being sacked but the Browns managed to jump on the ball, but it was still an encouraging first drive.
It will be interesting to see what Jackson, Todd Haley and company decide moving forward — especially if Taylor does, indeed, have an injury — but it appears as if the Baker Mayfield is on in full force and his first foray went quite well.