BEREA, Ohio — He’s still Baker the backup.
Despite rookie Baker Mayfield’s stellar performance in his NFL preseason debut, the Cleveland Browns are not moving the No. 1 overall pick into the starting lineup ahead of Tyrod Taylor.
"National hype," quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese said Sunday, downplaying the outside push to elevate Mayfield after one game. "We have our plan, we’re sticking to it and when it changes we’ll all know."
Mayfield won over some doubters on Thursday night in a 20-10 win over the New York Giants. The Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma threw two touchdown passes to tight end David Njoku and showed pocket poise and awareness while completing 11 of 20 passes for 212 yards.
The reviews on Mayfield were beyond exceptional, leading to cries that he should jump Taylor, who went 5 for 5 for 99 yards and posted a perfect 158.3 rating during his two series.
Zampese was pleased with everything he saw from Mayfield, but he cautioned against putting too much into his first taste of pro football.
"He’s had 22 preseason NFL snaps," Zampese said. "He has a long way to go and we’re encouraged with where he’s at right now."
The feeling is the same about Taylor, who was acquired from Buffalo during the off-season. The 29-year-old has been everything the Browns could have hoped as a leader and mentor to Mayfield.
"He’s our guy, and that’s what he is," Zampese said, "and to keep bringing it up is the only reason why anybody put a cloud in anybody’s head. So let’s get on with him being the guy and let’s get on to playing and winning and doing what we’re supposed to do and what we’re here for."
Zampese, who previously worked as Cincinnati’s quarterbacks coach and offensive co-ordinator, gushed when describing what Taylor has brought to the Browns — and what he means to Mayfield.
"Tyrod sets the bar for consistency," Zampese said. "There’s no doubt about it. There’s no man I can think of more consistent than him — when he gets here, how he is when he’s here, taking care of his body, study habits, leading the team on the field. The bar is set very high. It’s fantastic."
During his interview session, Zampese bristled at the idea that Taylor was just holding a spot until Mayfield is ready.
"I’m not going to talk about keeping the seat warm," Zampese snapped. "I think he’s going to be very successful for us this year, which is the only year that matters. And I like where he’s at, I like where he’s going, I love his leadership, the way he’s aggressively going about being the leader of this team, completing balls and moving us down the field."