Philosopher George Santayana is credited with saying “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
This couldn’t be more apt for the Cleveland Browns right now. Once the team drafted Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft, fans and media alike have been wondering when the rookie from Oklahoma will become the starting quarterback.
We continue to hope the Browns’ coaching staff and front office will resist the temptation to put Mayfield in there, at least until perhaps the last four games of the season.
We understand that other quarterbacks have moved right into the starting lineup for their teams over the past few years, guys like Carson Wentz, Jameis Winston, and Marcus Mariota, but there was unique circumstances here.
First, none of the teams those QBs played on did not win a game the year prior, nor did any of them win just one game over the past two seasons.
GM John Dorsey brought in Taylor because he’s a professional, putting up a 22-20 record as a starter over three seasons in Buffalo. He should start the season, and if he is putting up some wins, why wouldn’t Hue Jackson stay with him?
It’s not like all quarterbacks drafted high start as rookies, either. Sure, the quartet we mentioned did, but from last year’s class, Patrick Mahomes didn’t start until the last week of the season.
From the 2016 class, Jared Goff didn’t start until a little over the halfway point in the season.
And last season’s rookies that did start weren’t really replacing quarterbacks as good as Taylor. Mitch Trubisky took over after Mike Glennon started the first four games and put up more than 20 points just once.
Deshaun Watson took over in the first half of the first game for Tom Savage after he was awful in a 29-7 loss to Jacksonville in the season lidlifter. Savage was 6 for 13 for 62 yards and was sacked six times when he was benched.
Look, we understand that Taylor isn’t Tom Brady or a player who would ever be ranked in the top ten of QB’s around the league. However, he’s got a much better track record than Glennon or Savage.
With a very young team, the Browns need a veteran presence at quarterback to start the season off.
And even if Mayfield plays lights out during the exhibition, fans and media alike will have to remember he will probably be playing against a bunch of players who will likely not be on NFL rosters come week one.
This is not to doubt the ability of Mayfield, who we liked coming out of college, and we have no reason to not trust Dorsey’s selection as the future franchise quarterback of the Cleveland Browns.
Another argument used to rush the first overall pick into action is his age. Heck, he’s 23, you’ve got to get him in there. Mayfield is 23, not 33. Even if he doesn’t play at all in 2018, good QBs are playing into their late 30’s these days. It’s conceivable he could still play for 15 years.
The Browns have had a history of starting signal callers too early. DeShone Kizer was clearly not ready. Neither was Cody Kessler, Johnny Manziel, or Brandon Weeden.
Why not try something different and have the rookie watch and learn a bit before putting him on the field. We also understand that Mayfield is a competitive guy and wants to play as soon as possible.
That doesn’t mean the Browns should go ahead and put him in there before he is ready. The best plan is for him to sit and watch for awhile. There is no reason to rush the process.