Browns ‘stick­ing’ with plan to start Taylor over May­field

The Globe and Mail (Ottawa/Quebec Edition) - - FOOTBALL - TOM WITHERS 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, play­ing down 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 read­ing too much into the rookie’s 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 for 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 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.”

ADAM HUNGER/AP

Baker May­field ges­tures to a re­ceiver be­fore the snap on Thurs­day. De­spite turn­ing in an im­pres­sive per­for­mance in his pre­sea­son de­but on against the Gi­ants, Browns quar­ter­backs coach Ken Zam­pese says he has no in­ten­tion of start­ing the rookie over Ty­rod Taylor.

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