Hue Jackson already has a bad history of having to go back on what he said when it comes to his quarterbacks on the Cleveland Browns.
Last year, he promised that rookie DeShone Kizer wouldn’t have to worry about being pulled. He promised that the young man was going to have an extremely long leash. Then, after Kizer predictably struggled, Jackson yanked him out of the starting lineup, not once, but multiple times during the course of the season.
That, by itself, was an egregious error. Jackson should have known not to make promises he couldn’t keep.
Fast forward a year, and he’s making that same mistake again. Since the Browns used the No. 1 overall pick to select Baker Mayfield out of Oklahoma, Jackson has staunchly stuck to his guns saying that Tyrod Taylor will be the starter for Cleveland in 2018.
Period. End of story.
And he’s doubling down on that notion now. He says he’s not worried that the team’s upcoming time in the spotlight as the subject of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” will create a quarterback controversy.
“There’s no competition anyway,” Jackson said once again, per Andrew Siciliano of NFL Network. “Tyrod is our starting quarterback. Baker is our number one pick and quarterback of the future.”
But here’s the rub. What if Mayfield is far and away the team’s best option? What if he comes out this summer in camp and proves the Browns would be foolish to roll with Taylor, who is a solid, but not fantastic, NFL quarterback?
Jackson has awkwardly painted himself into a corner (again) by making this grand proclamation, which he didn’t need to make. Most teams that don’t feature a bona fide franchise passer already entrenched as the leader of the offense make it clear that competition will lead to the answer.
That’s what Jackson should have done. He should have said that Taylor enters camp as the starter but that the best quarterback will win the job. He hasn’t done that, however, and now the Browns will once again be in quite the pickle if things don’t go according to plan.