BEREA — The Browns hope the 30th time is the charm.
Rookie Baker Mayfield will become the 30th quarterback to start for the Browns (1-1-1) since 1999 when they visit the Oakland Raiders (0-3) on Sunday.
Browns coach Hue Jackson named Mayfield the starter after Monday's practice, a move everyone knew would be made after the No. 1 overall pick in April's draft came off the bench and led the team to a 21-17 comeback win over the New York Jets on "Thursday Night Football."
Mayfield embraces the idea of being viewed as the savior of the Browns.
"It comes with the territory," he said. "That’s what I signed up for. I’m living my dream, and I wouldn’t have it any other way."
Twenty-nine other expansion-era QBs haven't been able to rescue the Browns, but the reigning Heisman Trophy winner isn't fazed by the franchise's history of failure at the game's most important position.
"It’s 2018," Mayfield said. "Don’t really care."
The Browns aren't just starting Mayfield for one game and then re-evaluating their QB situation. This is his team now.
"We know it's a long season, all kind of things can happen, but Baker Mayfield's the starting quarterback of the team," Jackson said.
"The added pressure of being out there first is there, but I think he can handle it. He's demonstrated that. He showed me at every opportunity that he was working at it to be ready for when his time was called that he would make the best of it, and he's done that. He's earned it by the way he's played."
Mayfield will be the seventh QB to start during Jackson's tenure, but the coach said this change feels different than the others he's made at the position.
"This was a guy that we picked together, that [General Manager] John [Dorsey] and myself and the personnel department, the coaching staff, that we went all in on unanimously and said, 'This is the guy for the future,'" Jackson said.
Browns players are excited, too. Wide receiver Rashard Higgins has allowed himself to imagine a massive Mayfield sign hanging in downtown Cleveland where a LeBron James banner became a city landmark before its removal in July.
"I keep saying this is the Baker Era," Higgins said. "If it pans out how it’s supposed to be, Baker might be the next big thing. He might be on the LeBron wall."
Mayfield supplanted Tyrod Taylor, who's in the NFL's concussion protocol and didn't practice Monday. Jackson said Taylor will be the No. 2 QB if healthy, and, if not, it'll be veteran free-agent pickup Drew Stanton. Taylor, in three starts this season, went 41-of-84 passing (48.8 percent) for 462 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions for a rating of 63.7, took 13 sacks and rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries (7.8 average).
He left the game Thursday after being sacked by linebacker Avery Williamson with 2:55 remaining in the second quarter and was diagnosed with his third documented concussion in 13 months. He went 4-of-14 passing (28.6 percent) for just 19 yards with a rating of 39.6, rushed four times for 22 yards and took three sacks against the Jets (1-2).
Asked about Taylor's future with the Browns, Jackson said the veteran is "not going anywhere." Jackson explained Taylor, a trade acquisition from the Buffalo Bills in the final season of his contract, is valuable as a resource to Mayfield and provides depth.
Mayfield entered the action Thursday with 1:42 left in the second quarter and the Browns trailing 14-0. He immediately brought the offense and FirstEnergy Stadium back to life. The Browns prevailed for the first time since Dec. 24, 2016, ending a 19-game winless streak.
"I didn’t come here just to win one game, and I didn’t come here just to start the next," Mayfield said. "We’re building a franchise here, and we’re turning it around."
In Mayfield's NFL regular-season debut, he helped the offense score four times in his six drives. He finished 17-of-23 passing (73.9 percent) for 201 yards with a rating of 100.1 and took one sack. He threw one pass away and three others were dropped, giving him an adjusted completion percentage of 90.1, per ProFootballFocus.com.
Jackson said Mayfield "nailed it" with his performance and "checked off every box." What's especially impressive is he hadn't even practiced with the starters.
"I’m happy with how I played without any reps, and so right now I have very, very high expectations for myself having a full week of practice and being able to get the reps with those guys," Mayfield said. "We should be in tune by Sunday and be ready to go."
Mayfield will have a chance to guide the Browns to their first winning streak since 2014 in his starting debut with them.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his Browns coverage at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ByNateUlrich and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.