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ALAMEDA — Hue Jackson is playing it coy, but you can bet Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield will be making his first NFL start in Oakland on Sept. 30.
According to the sports online site Bovada.com, Mayfield is a 1-to-100 favorite to face the Raiders in Week 4, with the odds on 2018 starter Tyrod Taylor 50-to-1.
Jackson declined to state the obvious after the Browns, with Mayfield coming to the rescue, beat the New York Jets 21-17 Thursday night for their first win in 635 days.
The former Raiders head coach has been adamant that Taylor would be his starter this season while Mayfield, the No. 1 overall draft pick and Heisman Trophy winner, would watch and learn. But considering Mayfield just doubled Jackson’s win total as coach of the Browns (he’s 2-32-1), you can pretty much disregard the postgame comments from the head coach.
“Baker did some great things,” Jackson told reporters after the game. “We have some days. Let’s not get into those debates tonight. I have to watch the tape and we’ll go from there.”
Mayfield was 17 of 23 for 201 yards after Taylor (4 of 14, 14 yards) missed open throws and directed a sputtering Cleveland offense deep into the second quarter before leaving with a concussion. Mayfield even caught a two-point conversion pass.
It’s conceivable Jackson is simply waiting give Taylor the news before going public. But it’s not as if Jackson, the Raiders offensive coordinator in 2010 and head coach in 2011, didn’t hold back pertinent information in Oakland.
When running back Darren McFadden had a Lisfranc injury in the Raiders’ seventh game which ultimately ended his season, it began a week to week charade where Jackson would say the running back could play again before the season was over.
McFadden was leading the NFL in rushing at the time of his injury with 614 yards and was averaging 5.4 yards per carry. He ended the season with 614 yards and averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
Then there was Jackson’s final act as coach of the Raiders on Jan. 1, 2012 after a 38-26 loss to the San Diego Chargers. The Raiders would have made the playoffs as a wild card team with a win.
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After the loss, Jackson, with no real authority, promised to “take a stronger hand in this whole team, this whole organization.” That didn’t set well with Mark Davis, who assumed control of the Raiders when Al Davis passed away on Oct. 8.
The coach was also critical of the performance of his team and strongly hinted defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan would be fired. When asked why he hadn’t vented his frustration previously, Jackson said he couldn’t during the season but “now I’m telling the truth.”
Davis hired general manager Reggie McKenzie, who then fired Jackson and eventually brought in Dennis Allen to be the head coach.
With Mayfield getting the start and Jackson on the sideline, it provides an interesting backdrop when the Raiders return to the Coliseum with a record of either 1-2 or 0-3.
The Raiders visit the Miami Dolphins (2-0) Sunday.
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