As the Browns prepare inevitably (their fans hope) to name quarterback Baker Mayfield the starter moving forward, there’s a separate dynamic that needs to be considered: Tyrod Taylor has now has entered the concussion protocol three times in the past 13 months.
To the extent that he actually suffered a concussion on Thursday night, that’s alarming, given that there was no clear or obvious blow to the head. Yes, it appears Taylor head struck the ground as he was taken down, but the initial reaction was that maybe he had a leg injury, not a head injury.
On Sunday morning, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Taylor is expected to clear the concussion protocol this week. If the concussion protocol is a legitimate process for carefully evaluating brain health, how can anyone other than a neurologist who has already evaluated Taylor whether he’s on track to be cleared?
There’s a chance that’s precisely what has happened. Indeed, there’s a chance that Thursday night’s placement of Taylor in the concussion protocol wasn’t the result of an actual concussion but the product of an overabundance of caution, possibly fueled by an overabundance of desire to see what Mayfield can do.
The involvement of independent neurologists arguably makes it harder to issue a results-driven diagnosis, but if the doctor paid by the team urges restraint at time when the independent neurologist is willing to let the player play, the independent neurologist most likely won’t insist that the player be sent back to the field.
Taylor previously suffered concussions in August 2017 against the Ravens in the preseason and in January 2018 against the Jaguars in the postseason. The fact that someone already believes he’ll be cleared in the coming days suggest that he didn’t suffer a concussion this time.
And it potentially sets the table for the Browns to do what Peter King suggested on Friday’s PFT Live that they should do: Stick with the original plan that Taylor will play in 2018, and that Mayfield will sit.