Browns make it clear: Tyrod Taylor is starting QB

The Cleveland Browns enter this offseason with certainty at quarterback.
 No matter what happens in the draft, the plan is for Tyrod Taylor to be the starter.

"There is no competition," coach Hue Jackson said Thursday.

In his previous two preseasons, Jackson couldn't say that. Last year was about Brock Osweiler and DeShone Kizer and Cody Kessler. The previous year it was Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown.

"We are going to draft a quarterback at some point here -- I think we all know that. But again, that guy just needs to know the starter here is going to be Tyrod Taylor," Jackson said.

Taylor's best line of his news conference came when the notion of him being a "bridge quarterback" was mentioned. In that scenario he'd start for one season and be the bridge to a young, drafted player who would start in 2019.

"I do not view myself as a bridge quarterback," Taylor said. "I am a quarterback. As far as a bridge, hopefully I am helping bridge this team to a Super Bowl. That is the plan."

"This guy is the starting quarterback on our football team," Jackson said. "There are no bridge players."

Taylor, who was acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Bills, said there were no conversation with Jackson or general manager John Dorsey about the Browns possibly drafting a quarterback first overall. This was another subject he handled adeptly.

"That has never been something that I have worried about," he said. "I have been in this league, going on my eighth year now, I have kind of conditioned myself to focus on what I can control. ... Whether a quarterback gets drafted or not, that is really out of my hands. I'm going to continue to be the person I am day in and day out."

Taylor has one year left on his contract, which in theory would seem to be a reason the Browns preferred him over the multiyear deals a guy such as Kirk Cousins or AJ McCarron might have demanded. Dorsey said that staying out of the Cousins sweepstakes was a matter of being "prudent" and thinking not just of 2018 but of several years ahead.

If Taylor plays well and the Browns win, they can re-sign him. If it doesn't work, they can turn to the draftee.

"I'm fine with however it works," Taylor said. "An opportunity to play is a great opportunity in itself."

Taylor also had an excellent answer when asked about mentoring a young quarterback. For some reason, this is much discussed in Cleveland. Players always help each other, but it's tough to think a starting quarterback should be focused on much other than preparing for and trying to win the next game.

It's great to be a mentor, but a young quarterback has to also be professional enough to do what he can do to better himself to be ready to win.

"I'm always open to educating guys," Taylor said. "But at the same time, it is a balance between going out there and leading a group as well. Pouring your energy into bettering yourself as well as going out there and helping win games. The learning process happens naturally. But as far as dedicating my time to teaching someone the game, of course they have to learn it on their own as well."