OC Alex Van Pelt (1.14.21)

Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt:

On the Browns offense taking the field for the first time last week already having a 7-0 advantage:

“That was good. That was obviously a big play. It was a great start. We did not have to do much to get points on the board. Hats off to the defense.”

On the morale boost of Head Coach Kevin Stefanski returning to the building today:

“It is huge. He is such a presence around the guys. He was greatly missed while he was not here. Having him back is big for us.”

On feedback he received after calling offensive plays during the Browns’ first playoff win since the 1994 season and his experience Sunday night and Monday morning after the game:

“Sunday night was fun. It was a little surreal at that time. It did not really set in for a little while. Driving back from Pittsburgh, just reading texts from all of the friends and family who had reached out, that was good. I just really tried to get back to everybody and let them know I appreciated their wishes. It was a good feeling. Anytime you can help contribute to a win, especially a playoff win after the week we went through, it was a good feeling and a good night.”

On crafting the Browns gameplan this week and balancing controlling the clock against the Chiefs and being aggressive based on what the Chiefs defense presents:

“It is a fine line, but the bottom line is we just need to be us. Our best drives are the ones where we possess the ball, take them on long drives, convert on third and fourth down and end up in the end zone. That is something that we have done pretty consistently throughout the year. Ultimately, it will be important to chew some clock and then score points.”

On the matchup between the Browns and Chiefs offenses and QBs Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes and how Mayfield will view the opportunity to compete against Mahomes:

“I do not really see it that way. I see Baker going up against that defense. That is what I am focused in on right now, just getting him ready. That defense presents a lot of challenges. They have some really good players. Really, just getting him ready to play that defense. The other side of the ball will take care of itself. It is exciting, but at the same time, we are just singularly focused on what we can do offensively to score points and possess the ball.”

On if Mayfield has a desire to prove something in this game with a QB of Mahomes’ caliber on the opposite sideline:

“There is probably that little bit of feeling, but at the same time, Baker just needs to continue to do what Baker has been doing up to this point. I think that will be just fine for us.”

On his statement prior to the Steelers game that he hoped to not do anything that would cause Stefanski to throw anything at the TV when calling plays and if he was successful in that goal:

“I think so. There were a couple of ones that obviously in every game that you would like to have them back. I hope so. I hope he was proud. It was funny just talking to him afterward, some of the formational things that we were in later in the game, he knew what the play would be because it was a specific formation. He kind of got a tip off there just on the formation and what play was coming. It was kind of cool to talk to him after as he watched it. He was tuned in. He was locked in. I hopefully did him proud.”

On if Stefanski tried to give him a hard time after the game, even after the Browns scored 48 points:

“No (laughter). As quick as it happened, it is over. Now, we are getting ready for a team we have not seen a while, a new defense after two weeks of watching Steeler film. It was really quick to flush and to move on to Kansas City.”

On if RB Nick Chubb’s ability in the pass game is underrated at times:

“I do not think he would be underrated in my mind. He had a huge game in the pass game for us. Obviously, it was big day for him. Any way you can get him the ball in space, whether it is handing it to him or throwing it to him in the pass game, it is all a positive for the offense.”

On if he took advantage of the drive home from Pittsburgh to connect with friends and family after the game:

“I did. I had a driver to and from the game so it was good just to sit back and answer some texts and talk to some friends.”

On the lift provided if G Joel Bitonio is able to return this week and how the Browns offense is preparing after continuing to have injuries across the unit:

“It is a tough spot. (G) Michael Dunn first off did an outstanding job in the game. Really, really proud of his play and his effort – really the highlight offensively for us in that game, which was awesome and I think (offensive line) Coach (Bill) Callahan, (assistant offensive line) Coach (Scott) Peters – especially Coach Peters – and all of the work he did with him through training camp, staying out late, coming in an hour early and just working drills and working his hands, it really payed off in that game so that was huge for us. Getting Joel back obviously would be big. Hopefully, that will be the case. We will see here later in the week. Joel is a huge part of our success offensively on that left side, and to plug him back in there would be huge for us.”

On WR Jarvis Landry consistently making plays in key moments, including his third down reception in the second half for a first down last week:

“It was huge. It was one of those ones that on the call sheet you look down and it kind of just jumped off at you because Jarvis is really one of the primary receivers on the play. There is an old saying in coaching, ‘In times of crisis, think of players not of plays.’ It was find a way to get the ball to No. 80.”

On how much this game means to RB Kareem Hunt and if Hunt brings extra emotion into the week, as well as if that could influence decision making or game planning: 

“We will go in with the similar style that we have. Those guys will split time, and we will rotate those. (Run game coordinator/running backs coach) Stump (Mitchell) always does a great job of keeping those guys fresh. I do not think there is any change gameplan-wise as far as getting more touches. Obviously, when he does catch the ball, you are going to see a guy who is playing with some emotion. On the backside of that, you have to be careful not to be too excited or too hopped up. You have to focus in and do your job, which I am sure he will do.”

On if he has ever seen Hunt run harder than during the two TD runs last week: 

“He had such a great run there when he makes contact on the five and drives his legs. Obviously, it was a great run. The thing I like most about it was seeing (T) Jack Conklin and Jarvis trying to finish them off. That is really what we have talked about all year is being there for your teammates, following the football and finishing every play. That was a great illustration of that Sunday night. Those guys, both of those backs, they just run really hard. They are tough to take down one on one. Even in situations where you do get them, they do a great job with their legs driving for those extra yards. It has really been impressive to watch.”

On if targeting TE Austin Hooper more in recent games is by design or due to opposing defenses playing the Browns differently: 

“A little bit of both. Tight ends are generally the quarterback’s best friend – closest to him and big targets. I think you can see it is advantageous to pick those guys out in critical situations. Hoop did a great job and made some big plays for us when we had to have them.”

On Landry’s leadership: 

“Jarvis obviously is very motivational. Anytime he speaks, he demands respect and guys listen immediately. He does have a voice on the offense. He is definitely a leader of the offense. When he talks, I listen. He deserves that. He earns that. When the time comes, you call his number and he makes plays.”


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