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, 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 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.
Following Sunday’s practice, Browns coach Hue Jackson began shaking his head the moment a reporter began framing a question about the QB situation.
“Nothing’s changed. Tyrod Taylor is our starter,” Jackson said. “Baker Mayfield is a young, talented player. We have a bright, bright future here with that young man.”
Zampese was pleased with everything he saw from Mayfield, but he cautioned against making too much of 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 offseason. 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 coordinator, 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 the 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.”
Zampese said it took him “about a minute” to like Taylor when they met. He said the quarterback’s preparedness and attention to detail have been extraordinary. As far as Zampese is concerned, the seven-year veteran is just scratching the surface of his potential.
“It’s the tip of the iceberg for Tyrod,” Zampese said. “He’s an untapped player in the league. He’s done some really nice things so far in the league and I think it’s only going to get better.”
The Jaguars suspended All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive end Dante Fowler for violating team rules and conduct unbecoming a Jaguars football player.
Neither one will make the trip to Minnesota on Tuesday for two days of joint practices and a preseason game. The teams play Saturday.
Fowler was involved in several fights Sunday, including one after practice with fellow defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. Ramsey shouted profanities at media members who caught the altercation on video.
The team released a one-sentence statement Sunday evening announcing the suspensions. Coach Doug Marrone is expected to address the decision Tuesday.
... 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon will miss at least one week with a strained right calf. McKinnon injured himself in practice on Sunday and the team says he will be re-evaluated in a week.
... Chiefs right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif left practice to be evaluated for a concussion, while defensive tackle Xavier Williams (stinger) and running back Damien Williams (shoulder) also left early.
... The Bills have shuffled defensive tackles by signing Tyrunn Walker and reaching an injury settlement to release John Hughes.
... The Titans have agreed to terms with linebacker Tony Washington, outside linebacker Davond Dade and defensive lineman Francis Kallon, and waived linebacker and tight end Nick DeLuca and defensive back Josh Kalu.