Despite rookie Baker Mayfield‚Äôs 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.
‚ÄúNational hype,‚ÄĚ quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese said, downplaying the outside push to elevate Mayfield after one game. ‚ÄúWe have our plan, we‚Äôre sticking to it and when it changes we‚Äôll all know.‚ÄĚ
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 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.
Following Sunday‚Äôs practice, Browns coach Hue Jackson began shaking his head the moment a reporter began framing a question about the QB situation.
‚ÄúNothing‚Äôs changed. Tyrod Taylor is our starter,‚ÄĚ Jackson said. ‚ÄúBaker Mayfield is a young, talented player. We have a bright, bright future here with that young man.‚ÄĚ
Zampese was pleased with everything he saw from Mayfield, but he cautioned against making too much of his first taste of pro football.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs had 22 preseason NFL snaps,‚ÄĚ Zampese said. ‚ÄúHe has a long way to go and we‚Äôre encouraged with where he‚Äôs at right now.‚ÄĚ
The feeling is the same about Taylor, who was acquired from Buffalo during the offseason. The 29-year-old has been everything the Browns could have hoped as a leader and mentor to Mayfield.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs our guy Womens Khalil Mack Jersey , and that‚Äôs what he is,‚ÄĚ Zampese said, ‚Äúand to keep bringing it up is the only reason why anybody put a cloud in anybody‚Äôs head. So let‚Äôs get on with him being the guy and let‚Äôs get on to playing and winning and doing what we‚Äôre supposed to do and what we‚Äôre here for.‚ÄĚ
Zampese, who previously worked as Cincinnati‚Äôs quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, gushed when describing what Taylor has brought to the Browns ‚Ä" and what he means to Mayfield.
‚ÄúTyrod sets the bar for consistency,‚ÄĚ Zampese said. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs no doubt about it. There‚Äôs no man I can think of more consistent than him ‚Ä" when he gets here, how he is when he‚Äôs here, taking care of his body, study habits, leading the team on the field. The bar is set very high. It‚Äôs fantastic.‚ÄĚ
During his interview session, Zampese bristled at the idea that Taylor was just holding the spot until Mayfield is ready.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm not going to talk about keeping the seat warm,‚ÄĚ Zampese snapped. ‚ÄúI think he‚Äôs going to be very successful for us this year, which is the only year that matters. And I like where he‚Äôs at, I like where he‚Äôs going http://www.indianapoliscolt...mon-jersey , I love his leadership, the way he‚Äôs aggressively going about being the leader of this team, completing balls and moving us down the field.‚ÄĚ
Zampese said it took him ‚Äúabout a minute‚ÄĚ to like Taylor when they met. He said the quarterback‚Äôs preparedness and attention to detail have been extraordinary. As far as Zampese is concerned, the seven-year veteran is just scratching the surface of his potential.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs the tip of the iceberg for Tyrod,‚ÄĚ Zampese said. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs an untapped player in the league. He‚Äôs done some really nice things so far in the league and I think it‚Äôs only going to get better.‚ÄĚ
NOTES: Jackson said he punished rookie WR Antonio Callaway by making him play as much as possible Thursday. Callaway was cited last week for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license. He played 54 snaps. ‚ÄúEither you sit him or make him play,‚ÄĚ Jackson said. ‚ÄúI thought it was better to make him play, make him play as long as he could. There were a couple times he kept waving to come out. We said, ‚ÄėNo, stay in there.'‚ÄĚ Callaway is dealing with a rib issue and didn‚Äôt finish Sunday‚Äôs practice. ‚Ä¶ Jackson said he and his assistants are aligned on when to rest injury-prone players. On the first episode of ‚ÄúHard Knocks,‚ÄĚ Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley seemed to be at odds over keeping players out.
Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward exchanged the kind of toothy giggles normally only found between kids on a playground when they were introduced as the new faces of the Celtics. ‚ÄĚIt‚Äôs about to be crazy, G,‚ÄĚ Irving said in the ear of Hayward to a soundtrack of clicking camera lenses as they sat on a dais back in September two days after Boston‚Äôs blockbuster trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Seven months later, Irving has proven to be prophetic ‚Ä" albeit not how he had in mind.
It has been crazy unlucky for the Celtics. Stunning too. Al Horford said even shocking.
And though things haven‚Äôt gone as scripted in Boston, the Celtics will open the playoffs at the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference believing they can win it all without their injured offseason acquisitions.
‚ÄĚFinals. I‚Äôm very confident J'Marcus Webb Jersey ,‚ÄĚ guard Terry Rozier when asked how far Boston can go. ‚ÄĚEverybody has to be on the same page. And we just gotta play. And play hard.‚ÄĚ
That‚Äôs been Boston‚Äôs calling card throughout the season. They have no choice but to play hard because from Hayward‚Äôs gruesome, season-ending left ankle injury on opening night, to the recent pair of left knee surgeries that has sidelined Irving, luck has been in short supply beyond the Celtics‚Äô Leprechaun mascot named Lucky.
Horford acknowledged being shocked when he heard that Irving was done for the season. But he said the time has passed for sulking about misfortunes.
‚ÄĚWe can‚Äôt dwell on the past,‚ÄĚ Horford said. Obviously it makes it more difficult. Kyrie, he‚Äôs the leader of this team. We won with him and now we have to find ways to do it without him.‚ÄĚ
In addition to Irving and Hayward, Boston will also be without productive rookie Daniel Theis (left knee surgery) for the season and Marcus Smart (right thumb surgery) until at minimum the second round. That‚Äôs not to mention a plethora of nagging injuries that have dogged the rest of the roster.
Yet, in an Eastern Conference that features a less-than-dominating LeBron James-led Cavaliers team, Boston veterans Horford and Marcus Morris and its corps of talented young players led by Jaylen Brown, Rozier and rookie Jayson Tatum give it as legitimate a chance as anyone to make it to the NBA Finals.
The Celtics will finish with their second straight 50-win season and their highest number of victories under coach Brad Stevens.
Last season as the East‚Äôs top seed, Boston made it to the conference finals in spite of being smacked with adversity on the eve of the postseason following the death of Isaiah Thomas‚Äô sister. Thomas returned to the team, but was then lost midway through the conference finals to a hip injury he‚Äôd been quietly playing through.
‚ÄĚWith Isaiah, we had him all year. Even though he was banged up, he was with us Stefon Diggs Jersey Big ,‚ÄĚ Horford said. ‚ÄĚNow with our group this year it‚Äôs different. We‚Äôve been having so many injuries throughout the year that I feel like our guys ‚Ä" we‚Äôre much more prepared handling everything that we‚Äôre going through.‚ÄĚ
The good news is this Celtics team has already done an admirable job of figuring things out without Hayward and Irving.
They‚Äôve played all but five minutes this season without Hayward. In 20 games without Irving they are 13-7.
Irving played his last game on March 11. That‚Äôs given Boston time to see what its remaining rotation will look like. One thing it will certainly mean is a lot more minutes for reserves like Shane Larkin and Greg Monroe, as well as rookies Semi Ojeleye and Guerschon Yabusele.
Stevens acknowledged that there was hope after Irving‚Äôs first surgery on his knee last month that removed a tension wire that he would be able to return early in the playoffs. Having him ruled out has ‚ÄĚjust solidified that this is where our focus needs to be‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄĚIt‚Äôs a great opportunity for the other guys and it‚Äôs our job to coach them,‚ÄĚ Stevens said. ‚ÄĚI believe in the guys in our locker room. They believe in themselves.‚ÄĚ
Without Irving, the most glaring deficiency for Boston is its lack of a go-to scorer. Brown is just a few games removed from scoring a career-high 32 points, and Rozier only recently had a 25-game double-digit scoring streak stopped. He‚Äôs also proven to be a dependable defender.
Still, there is a sense in the East that Boston may be susceptible to a first-round upset. Miami and Milwaukee, currently have the same record (43-37) as the No. 6 and 7 seeds respectively. The Heat won 2 of 3 meetings this season with Boston, while the Celtics split their four games with the Bucks. Washington, at No. 8 leads the season series with Boston 2-1 with the series finale set on Tuesday night.
Vulnerable or not, Horford has a message for whoever their first-round opponent is.
‚ÄĚWe‚Äôre the (No.) 2 seed. We have home-court advantage,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄĚAnd this point, the only thing I can say to that is I can‚Äôt wait for the playoffs to start.‚ÄĚ