Nine days ago, Hue Jackson let it slip in a press conference that he had selected Baker Mayfield to backup Tyrod Taylor. The Browns coach, though, caught himself after realizing he hadn’t told the quarterbacks of the verdict and tried to couch it.
“I pretty much have my mind made up on where that is,” Jackson backtracked to reporters. “I haven’t set it officially so you guys can write it. I like to tell my team first before I make those decisions on what we’re doing. We will kind of go from there.”
On Tuesday, Hard Knocks let everyone behind the scenes when Jackson told the quarterbacks of his decision.
Near the end of the final episode, Jackson called Mayfield and Drew Stanton into this office to let them know the No. 1 overall choice would begin the season active on game days as the No. 2 quarterback.
“I think it’s important that I address both of you guys together first. I’ve made a decision to make Baker the backup quarterback,” Jackson told Mayfield and Stanton. “I just wanted to make sure . . . I wanted you guys to hear it from me instead of all the stuff that flies out there and all that bulls—. I think it’s important that you hear that from me. OK?
“[It’s] a lot of responsibility for you [Mayfield]. Doesn’t change for you [Stanton]. Still got to be ready to play, ready to go. But that’s the direction I want to travel. OK? So I wanted you guys to know that.”
Jackson dismissed Stanton before further addressing Mayfield, who went 35-of-61 for 501 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in the preseason.
“I’m proud of what you’ve done,” Jackson told Mayfield. “You’ve come in here the right way. You’ve handled everything the right way, and I think that’s important for this football team. You’re a very talented young man. Keep grinding.
“I’m going to keep creating situations for you to even do more. You keep doing your part every day. This is going to be your life for a long time, so I hope you understand the opportunity that’s in front of you right now. But you’ve earned it. I’m not just giving it to you. You’ve earned it.”
Mayfield thanked Jackson, and the coach added, “I’m proud of you.”