Tyrod Taylor is the face of all the change Cleveland has made to its roster over the past nine months.
Taylor's one of the biggest and most important of the 31 new faces on Cleveland's 53-man roster, and he hasn't shied away from the challenge. Named one of five team captains Wednesday, Taylor hasn't shied away from any of the responsibilities that come with the position he plays and the situation he's inherited.
Cleveland's starting quarterback sat down with ClevelandBrowns.com to look ahead to his highly anticipated FirstEnergy Stadium debut.
CB.com: It's been six months in the making. You're finally heading into your first official start with the Browns. What are your emotions like heading into your Cleveland debut?
Taylor: I'm excited. Of course we've put a lot of work into it up to this point. I'm looking forward to getting out there and competing with the guys and starting this season out on a good note.
CB.com: From your vantage point, where has the team improved the most since you got here?
Taylor: I think in all aspects we've made progress. Of course, I wasn't a part of this team last year so I can't necessarily compare, but just from the spring until Friday before opening week, guys have definitely accepted the challenge and taken ownership of the offense, the defense and special teams. Guys are coming together and we ultimately made a decision we want to turn things around. It starts with the way we work throughout the week and ultimately starts with us executing on game days.
CB.com: You haven't been on the field since Week 3 of the preseason. How much of your time has been devoted to the Steelers since that final play against the Eagles?
Taylor: It's been all focused on them. With us knowing we weren't going to play in that last preseason game, I was able to steal some mental reps and practice reps against the Steelers and getting ready for them. I think it's paid off. Guys are communicating well and guys are on the same page. On Sunday, it's up to us going out and executing.
CB.com: You've been working after practice with Josh Gordon ever since he returned. How do you see his role in the offense taking shape?
Taylor: We're counting on him for sure. We know what type of talent he brings to the field week in and week out. He's excited for the opportunity to be back on the field and compete with his teammates. We welcomed him back. We're going to need him as well as the other players to step up and make plays, me included. The time is now, and I'm excited about it.
CB.com: This might be one of the youngest receiving corps you've worked with but you still have veterans in Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon. What do you like about this group?
Taylor: Each and every day they come to practice and they're working, working to be great. I love the focus with those guys. You wouldn't know they were such a young receiving group because of the way they go about business day in and day out. I'm excited to see that transpire onto the field and see them go out and make plays.
CB.com: There's been some shifts along the offensive line throughout training camp and now it's been announced rookie Desmond Harrison will be the starting left tackle. What have you seen from him that you like and what do you think of the overall group?
Taylor: He's very talented. Yes, he's young but his skill level is definitely not one of a young player. He's competed his butt off throughout training camp. He showed the coaches and his teammates he's ready for the opportunity.
CB.com: What did it mean for you to be one of the team's five captains?
Taylor: It was definitely important to me. Walking into a new facility, a new organization, a new city and to be able to be voted among your peers as a captain is definitely something that stands out. It's definitely something I'm proud of. I have to continue to keep leading vocally as well as by example each and every day. I welcome that role and I'm excited to go out and lead these guys.
CB.com: What do you like about those other captains and what they bring to the table from a leadership standpoint?
Taylor: Each one is unique. We have some who are more talkative, more vocal. We have some that lead by example. They all lead in their own way but they get their point across. When they speak, players listen. I definitely think it was voted the right way. Ultimately, the players are the ones who decide it. They made good choices.
CB.com: You're one of 31 new guys on this 53-man roster. What's it like being a part of that kind of change?
Taylor: It's special to be a part of the change. It's an opportunity for us to change the culture, to get things going in the right direction compared to the years before. I think each and every new player, as well as the old players, recognize this opportunity that's in front of us and the talent we have on this team.
CB.com: Looking at the Steelers defense, what stands out when you look at them on film?
Taylor: Very physical group. They've been together for a long time, outside of a couple changes in the back end and at linebacker. It's a group that is very physical and hard-nosed. You know you have to establish the run against those guys and take shots when the opportunity presents itself. It boils down to us going out and executing our game plan and us being detailed and focused.
CB.com: Is there anything unique about a season opener that makes it challenging for a quarterback?
Taylor: I wouldn't say there's anything unique about it. Each season is definitely different. The goal is the same, and that's to win the Super Bowl. You understand it's a day-by-day approach and a week-by-week approach and doing the things right each and every day to get yourself right for game day.
CB.com: What are you expecting from the atmosphere at FirstEnergy Stadium?
Taylor: It's going to be loud for sure. That's the way it's supposed to be at home. As players, we have to go out there and defend our dirt. A home game should be an advantage for us as far as the crowd goes. We have the use that emotion and that energy, handle the emotions and use that energy in a positive way.