OC Alex Van Pelt (10.22.20)

Offensive Coordinator Alex Van Pelt:

On WR Jarvis Landry playing more than 100 consecutive games and currently playing with a broken rib:

“Really, there is no one tougher on the team. You think about the things that he does, the injury he had and the way he still plays after the injury, hats off to him. He is made out of burlap and he is tough as nails. Definitely fortunate to have him on the team and appreciate that toughness he brings to the whole team.”

On the trickle-down effect on the team when someone like Landry plays through an injury:

“It is a big trickle down. Everybody in the locker room understands that. It is Week 7 in the NFL. There are not a lot of guys that feel great, but to have an injury like that and to play through it, it sets a fire under everybody else’s butt in that locker room. If Juice is out there giving his best with an injured rib, then why are we not doing the same? It really does light a fire into the guys in the locker room.”

On how getting down early in a game limits an offense and the gameplan:

“It definitely does when you get down a few scores in the game. The defense changes a little bit and they pin our eyes back to rush the passer. The thought of bringing the safety down in the box and giving you on one-on-one matchup kind of goes away so it changes your gameplan a little bit. We definitely have to do a better job of starting fast and not digging those holes for us early in the game.”

On main lessons for QB Baker Mayfield from the two interceptions:

“You have to keep getting better each week. It is always about the ball first and protecting the football, whether you are a ball carrier or a passer. Making great decisions is a big part of it. He got a little fooled on the coverage there on the first pick, and the second one was just a poor decision of trying to do too much. It is fundamental. It is that happy medium of knowing when the play is over and ultimately knowing that turnovers cost us. We can’t turn the ball over at that position or any position on the offense.”

On the Browns OL’s performance against the Steelers:

“Obviously, that is an extremely good front. They are a talented group. We did not play our best football. I think as you look at a team like that, that is a really good defense. You have to play one of your best games offensively across the board to be in the game with them, and we definitely did not do that. I have a lot of confidence in the guys up front. There is no question those guys are going to play at a high level for a long time this year. That was definitely not our best outing as a group, and we are looking forward to rebounding. That is the beautiful thing about this league. It is 16 sprints really, kind of the Tour De France. We did not win this leg of the race, but we have the next one coming Sunday and that is the one we are worried about right now.”

On if he has seen a renewed focused from the Browns OL this week after a tough game last week:

“Yeah, I think so. Sometimes when you get kicked in the butt, it kind of brings some awareness back to you, a little self-awareness of where we are at and refocuses everybody, ties them all down and locks them all in. It is the NFL so you can go out there any week and go against any team, and if you are not playing at a high level or at your best level, there is a chance that you are not going to win that game. It reiterates to us the focus and the narrowing of the focus this week to get ready to play in Cincinnati.”

On Landry and WR Odell Beckham Jr. having surgeries this past offseason, playing through injuries this season and the importance of getting the Browns pass game going: 

“I think we will improve there as the season goes along. Our mentality here is the sky is not falling. It was one football game. We did not play well across the board. We have played some really good football and done some good things in the pass game and in the run game up to this point. Those guys give everything they have. I do not think there is anybody on the team that really does not. Obviously, Odell and Jarvis coming back from the injuries and battling through injuries and playing through injuries. (QB) Baker (Mayfield) played through an injury last week. Guys want to be out there. They want to be out there for their teammates and win. We will be just fine. We feel good that the sun came up after the game so that is all positive. We are looking forward to getting down to Cincinnati.”

On Beckham saying he never wants to come out of a game and if that will change how the team makes decisions moving forward: 

“I would definitely want those type of players on our team as opposed to the guys that would be happy to be pulled out of a game in kind of a game that got away from us. Baker was not real happy. He did not talk to me for a little while after the game either. He wanted to stay in, as well. Those are the guys you want on your team – the fighters, the guys that want to finish the race. Like I did say, this is a 16-game one-at-a-time sprint, and it is a little bit of a marathon in that regard. We had some guys that were injured that needed to get out of that game and get healthy for the long run. I do appreciate the fact that they want to play, and I love that about those guys.”

On Head Coach Kevin Stefanski’s approach after last week’s loss: 

“Very impressive. Coach is very consistent. He has a very solid message of what we need to get done. He was very clear about what we needed to accomplish on that Monday after the game, and part of that was flushing it once we were done evaluating and learning from it. Even talking about it this long is giving me the willies. Like I said, it is over, it is behind us, we have learned from it and now it is onto the next one.”

On Mayfield not wanting to talk to him after being pulled early from the game: 

“It is just a part of the deal. It is a long season. That was a game we were not going to come back from there at the end. Guys were banged up so give them a little bit extra time off to heal up. He had taken some big hits in the game after already coming in with a little bit of dinged up rib. Just to be able to protect these guys from themselves. I am sure they would all like to play to the end, but sometimes you have to be smart and think about the future, as well.”

On evaluating Mayfield now and his potential, particularly given external criticism this past week: 

“I think the arrow is up for sure. He is going to continue to get better. We are still very new in this system of what we are getting done. As far as the outside criticism, I hope he does not listen to that. I am sure there is a lot of pressure. One thing that I have told him, one of the biggest steps I made as a coach was not listening to anything and just trusting the internal criticism that you get from your coaches. Those are the ones that matter. Everybody from the outside really does not have a great idea of what is going on inside. Be tough on yourself, but turn off that outside noise.”

On if it is hard to ask Mayfield to ignore the outside criticism, given Mayfield has said he has used that as fuel in the past: 

“That is a tough one. I would hope that would not be what drives him. I think just playing good for your teammates and playing better for your teammates would be what would drive a guy, and I am sure he falls into that category.”

On how eager RB Kareem Hunt is to have a breakout game: 

“Oh yeah, I am definitely excited for that to happen for Kareem. He is a guy that works his butt off. Also, playing a little nicked up right now. Like you said, nobody is really feeling great right now, but fighting through. Hopefully, he can have the success he wants and deserves.”

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