Browns Notes: Hue Jackson's plan to prepare Baker Mayfield to be franchise QB

Offensive lineman signed as first round of cuts comes

Daryl Ruiter
August 28, 2018 - 3:06 pm
Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson talks with quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) during training camp at the Cleveland Browns Training Complex.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Baker Mayfield will get to start a game for the Cleveland Browns Thursday night – the meaningless preseason finale where very few starters will play, and bubble guys fight for jobs against the Detroit Lions – before grabbing a clipboard and taking a seat for the regular season.

But Mayfield’ preparation as the franchise quarterback in waiting has just begun.

Head coach Hue Jackson revealed Tuesday how he plans to get Mayfield ready to take over for Tyrod Taylor – either at some point this season or in 2019.

“It is my job to just keep creating an environment for him here in practice,” Jackson said. “I will always find ways to make sure that he gets extra practice as we go throughout the season. I think that is what is going to get him to where he needs to be.”

Mayfield will likely be asked to run the scout team, which mimics that week’s opponent’s offense to prepare the Browns’ defense, during practice but Jackson plans to create “a period for him just where he gets to run our offense, not the other team’s offense” in order to keep him sharp and progressing without seeing game action.

As for this week, Mayfield will play the first half and maybe more Thursday night in Detroit depending on the number of plays that actually get run in the first 2 quarters according to Jackson.

“I’m very ready,” Mayfield said.

The Browns were candid with Mayfield leading up to the draft about how they would bring him along, should they use the top pick on him.

“They told me from the get-go, from back when I was still just doing the interviews and the visits that they had a plan,” Mayfield said. “They had a plan in place of what they wanted to do and they’ve been very honest. So I’ve known that from the get-go and I’ve been a team guy always and I knew my role once I got here it’s to help change this thing around and help us win, so right now it’s getting my reps and getting better but also doing cards against the defense.”

Mayfield got a taste of what it means to be the backup last week against Philadelphia when Tyrod Taylor left the game with a bruised hand and dislocated left pinky after the second offensive series.

“You do not want those things to happen, but at the same time, it was good for me to see that,” Jackson said. “To watch him and say, ‘You are up. It is time to go.’ He did not blink. He was like, ‘OK, let’s go.’ I know that he was disappointed in himself – that is just him – with what he did in the game. I thought that he did some really good things. I feel good about that as we head into the season.”

For Mayfield, although the situation wasn’t ideal – as in Taylor getting hurt, the experience was invaluable.

“It’s good to know that I can be thrown in there at any time and I have to be ready, but that’s not the situation you want to be in,” Mayfield said. “That just goes to show that I have to be ready. It’s been that way since middle school, so it was just another showcase that I was able to take advantage of.”

Watford on the way – The Browns signed offensive lineman Earl Watford Tuesday.

Watford was released on Sunday by the Chicago Bears.

Watford, who spent the previous 5 years with Arizona, has played in 43 games and made 21 starts over his final 3 years with the Cardinals – mostly at right guard.

First round of cuts – With the signing of Watford was also accompanied by the first cuts.

It appears that Zane Gonzalez will remain the Browns' kicker with the release of Solon native Ross Martin Tuesday.

Receiver Evan Berry, offensive linemen Kevin Bowen and Geoff Gray and defensive lineman Marcell Frazier were waived.

In addition, tight end Julian Allen was released from injured reserve.

Hats off to Hard Knocks – Jackson expressed his appreciation for the crew of NFL Films and HBO’s Hard Knocks Tuesday.

“Sometimes, there is always more to it than people know and understand,” Jackson said. “I think that they have put our organization in a good light. I think that people see that these guys do work hard every day, that there is a process that we go through and that everything is like at home with your family – everything is not always perfect. You have to work through those things, but you work through it together and keep pushing forward. I think that is what everybody has seen.

“I thank them for the time that they have been here. I do not hear our players complaining. If they do, they do not tell me. I think everybody has handled it the right way.”

Jackson joked that he found a way to get around the show capturing everything.

“I know how to take it off. I have taught some of the other coaches,” Jackson said. “I think that they get mad at me for that. That is just a part of it. There are certain things that I do not want out there that we do handle.”

The fourth of 5 episodes airs Tuesday night at 10 p.m. and will feature the rookie talent show, Josh Gordon’s return and the Eagles game.

Injury report – WR Josh Gordon (hammy), TE Seth DeValve (quad), OL Kevin Bowen (knee), Damarious Randall (knee), FB Danny Vitale (calf), LB Genard Avery (hip) did not practice Tuesday.