National sportswriter: Cleveland Browns are being “politically correct” in naming Taylor the starter

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 07: Quarterback Tyrod Taylor
JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 07: Quarterback Tyrod Taylor /

Before the 2018 NFL draft, most media pundits emphatically declared that the Cleveland Browns must draft a quarterback with the first overall pick. But hearing Hue Jackson’s support for Tyrod Taylor dismissed as being “politically correct” makes you question their motives.

The Cleveland Browns have been searching for a franchise quarterback since Bernie Kosar. That’s a long time. So it’s no surprise that they used the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft to select Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.

However, almost immediately after drafting Mayfield, the Browns announced that Tyrod Taylor, who they acquired in a March 10 trade with the Buffalo Bills, would be the Week 1 starter.

The thinking being that Taylor is the “bridge” quarterback who will give Mayfield time to learn.

So, it’s a little surprising that since the Browns have selected Mayfield, we’re hearing that there’s a quarterback controversy in Cleveland. Andy Benoit of Sports Illustrated wrote:

"This is misguided political correctness spiraling out of control. Jackson feels he has to say this because Taylor will be 29 in August and has paid his NFL dues; he doesn’t want the 23-year-old Baker Mayfield to look entitled. – Andy Benoit, SI"

And local Browns beat reporter, Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland had a similar take in this article.

This is a common media tactic. They ask coaches and players for straight answers and once they get one, they tell us why that answer is wrong. And in some cases, they imply it’s not even honest.

Hue Jackson did not give an evasive answer. He gave an answer that makes perfect sense until proven otherwise.

Taylor meanwhile is being unfairly damned with faint praise. He’s mentioned as a capable starter, someone who led the Buffalo Bills to the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season (that was actually longer than the Cleveland Browns playoff drought).

Yet, in the same articles, it’s pointed out everything Taylor is not. This is odd considering that as early as 2017, Mayfield was drawing comparisons as a “not as explosive” Tyrod Taylor.

"Heading into the 2017 season, I see Mayfield as a fringe QB1/QB2 prospect with a game that reminds me a little of Tyrod Taylor. While he is not quite as explosive as the Bills’ quarterback, he is an athletic playmaker with a set of skills that could make him an effective starter as a pro.  – Bucky Brooks,"

Prior to the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, there was tremendous financial pressure to start a rookie quarterback. With the adoption of a rookie salary cap, there is less pressure to do so.

Mayfield has a very team friendly contract that gives the Browns time to develop him. If the important measurement is improving on a 1-31 record over two seasons, Taylor, at this time, is the logical choice.

To be fair, I believe that when you draft a quarterback with the first overall pick, he should get every opportunity to  play right away. If Mayfield earns the job, then he should start.

However, I also believe that the Browns traded for Taylor after deciding on Mayfield. A report that general manager John Dorsey had decided on Mayfield six weeks before the draft lends support to this theory.

The Browns are no stranger to quarterback controversies. Getting a daily summary of training camp completion percentages is a virtual rite of passage.

Next: Undrafted free agents who can make the roster

However I see nothing odd, and certainly nothing “politically correct”, about naming Taylor the starter. Particularly before the Browns have played a single preseason game.