Baker Mayfield is set to make his first NFL start in Thursday's preseason finale against the Lions. There's also a chance the game is the final time Browns' rookie quarterback sees significant action this fall.
But Mayfield, who is expected to sit and learn behind veteran Tyrod Taylor this season, won't treat this opportunity any differently than the ones before it.
"If I went into it with that mindset, that this is the last time, I might try to do something different than just my job," he said Tuesday after practice. "I need to settle in and just do my job."
Mayfield, the first overall pick in the NFL Draft, said it's part of a plan the Browns laid out before him long ago. Cleveland views him as its quarterback of the future and made it clear it won't rush him action.
"They told me from the get go – from back when I was still just doing the interviews and the (draft) visits, that they had a plan. They had a plan in place of what they wanted to do," he said.
"They've been very honest. I knew that from the get-go. I'm a team guy, always. I knew that my role once I got here was to help change this thing around and help us win. Right now, that's getting my reps and getting better."
Mayfield, the former Oklahoma star and Heisman Trophy winner, to be sure, has been impressive since the day he stepped foot in the team's Berea facility. He's displayed the arm talent and poise that made him one of college football's most prolific passers and endeared himself to teammates with a workmanlike approach both on and off the field.
In three preseason games, Mayfield has looked like a No. 1 overall pick with precision passes and an uncanny ability to make plays when things break down around him. While the youngster was critical of his performance in last week's win over the Eagles — he was 8-of-12 for 76 yards and an interception — it was enough to give Jackson and the coaching staff peace of mind if anything were to happen to Taylor.
"It was good for me to see that. To watch him and say, 'You're up. It's time to go.' He did not blink. He was like, 'OK, let's go,'" Jackson said. "I know that he was disappointed in himself – that's just him – with what he did in the game. I thought that he did some really good things. I feel good about that as we head into the season."
Jackson wants to see Mayfield continue growing within an offense that's slowed down considerably since spring ball. He's also aware that this season could be somewhat of an adjustment for Mayfield, who started 40 games for the Sooners the past three years.
"It will be different for him. It's my job to just keep creating an environment for him here in practice. I'll always find ways to make sure that he gets extra practice as we go throughout the season. I think that is what is going to get him to where he needs to be," Jackson said. "My job is to keep creating an environment for him to keep growing. We'll do that through practice time."
Before that, though, Mayfield hopes he can close the preseason in a big way.
"It's a good opportunity to set the tone," he said. "That means command of the offense, but also just being a leader out there for everybody."