OC Alex Van Pelt (11.27.20)

Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt:

On the challenge preparing this week and the need to be adaptable this year, given the practice structure and Browns players missing practice: 

“It is that year, and I think everybody understands that. That is the one thing I love about the guys, I told them this morning and yesterday, ‘It just does not matter when we ask you to come to work.’ They come to work with a smile on their face, and they work the butts off. We are ready to pivot at any moment. We are staying flexible. These last few mornings have started out with wait and see what happens. We have made the most of it really the last two days, the Wednesday and Thursday in practice. Even though there was not a defense there for us to go against, we put our guys out there and serviced ourselves so to speak with the scout team looks, but the tempo and the fact that these guys were locked in coming from their couches right to the practice field, I thought we had to have better days of practice as far as crispness.”

On the Browns defense missing DE Myles Garrett and CB Denzel Ward this week and if that factors into what the Browns offense wanting to play complementary football and what it puts on its shoulders this week: 

“Yeah, I think it does every week. Every week, our expectations are to take each drive down the field and finish in the end zone. I do not think it really changes our approach. Yeah, there definitely is a real feeling of urgency, but the fact that what the defense is going through that the offense needs to be there for them and complementary football will be key. Our approach every time, whether we get it on the minus-one or the plus-one, is we are going to end it in the end zone.”

On the biggest adjustment made to get the run game going against the Eagles: 

“I think the biggest thing – (offensive line coach) Bill Callahan mentioned it to me earlier in the week – is we have to pound them with patience, just be patient and know that eventually we are going to get that thing to pop. We did some good things in the run game there in the second half, but as we get going, there are going to be times where it is going to be tough sledding. We obviously know that we can run the ball, especially in those conditions, and boxes get really heavy loaded playing the run. At the same time, you still have to tackle our guys. We still have a free guy there that bounce right off of (RBs) Nick (Chubb) or Kareem (Hunt) and then we break a big one. Hats off to the running game there. I thought we did a good job of sticking with it, taking our swings at the plate and eventually knocking one out of the park.”

On why the Browns coaching staff and players have been successful making in-game adjustments: 

“I think Coach Callahan brings a big part of that table there. He is experienced as hell as an O line coach and can really see the counters as they come, what we need to get to next and how they are playing this in the run game, and I think that is a big part of it.”

On if T Jedrick Wills Jr. will practice today: 

“I have not been out to practice yet so I am not going to discuss any of that.”

On the advantage of having Chubb and Hunt as a tandem to wear down opposing defenses: 

“As you say that, I am thinking through my head it is like having two fighters in your corner. You have Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, and they both come out in different rounds and you are facing the fresh guy that can knock you out with the homerun punch every time. That is how it really feels. Both of those guys are elite backs. To have them with the ability to keep them fresh at times and spell them with each other, it is a good problem to have for us.”

On if Chubb and Hunt remind him of another RB tandem from his playing or coaching career: 

“Yeah, I was lucky enough to be in Buffalo, and I had (former NFL RB) Fred Jackson and (free agent RB) Marshawn Lynch. Those are the ones that are closest to me. Different styles, but very, very good backs both of them.”

On the significance of QB Baker Mayfield’s streak without an interception: 

“Big focus every week offensively is the giveaways. We call them giveaways. We do not want to give the defense anything. The emphasis on that, you always say you get what you emphasize. We talk about it a lot, just making great decisions and being OK with an incompletion. I think I have said it before, there is always a guy that is open – I was taught this a long time ago – and that is the tuba player. If anything bad happens, the tuba player in the second row is always open so we can always throw it away and save the play. You see that now. I think he had three throwaways in that game where he was under duress or things did not work out how we planned, and he protected the down by throwing the ball away as opposed to earlier in the season trying to do too much and trying to make a play when it was not there. Just save the play.”

On if this week’s game provides the Browns an opportunity to get the passing game going this week, given the weather conditions are expected to be much better than recent weeks: 

“I think we will have the ability to throw the football from a weather standpoint, and that has not been true the last three weeks really. It has been really tough with the wind the two games and then the constant rain last week. It has been tough. Hopefully, I know they are calling for some warmer weather and maybe a possibility of showers, but it can’t be as bad as it has been the last three weeks so the opportunity should be there.”

On if he was able to have Thanksgiving dinner yesterday: 

“Oh absolutely, yeah. (Head) Coach (Kevin Stefanski) does a great job. Family is important and especially this year to have that time to reflect and be thankful. As we always do, we were very flexible. We met virtually in the morning, and then all of a sudden, we got the green light to come in. I think I got into the building with about 12 minutes to go before we were on the field for the walkthrough. That is just the way it goes, and we had a heck of a practice. It was different, but I think everybody got to get home, and hopefully, they reached out to their loved ones and told them that they missed them. Maybe next year, we will all be together.”

On Jaguars LB Joe Schobert: 

“Joe is a very consistent vet. Having played against him in Cincinnati for two years, obviously know what he brings to the table. He is a smart guy. He is going to be in the right place. You see that on the tape. He is a solid, very good linebacker for them. That is probably in my opinion the strength of that group is the linebacker corps with him and (Jaguars LB Myles) Jack.”

On what the Browns like about using WR KhaDarel Hodge in formations with three TEs and one WR: 

“His physicality. That is the big thing. He has that ability to go in and dig out guys within the box in the run game, and then he has the speed and the ability in the pass game, as well. He does a lot of the dirty work and the stuff that goes unseen. We ask him to go down and block defense ends at time, but he does that every time we ask him. Just his ability to be productive in the run and the pass game.”

On how Mayfield and Hodge connecting on deep plays in those formation impacts opposing defenses: 

“It keeps them off-balance really. You see him coming into the game and saying it probably could be a run, but now we are throwing the ball to him down the field, as well. He brings that ability to be flexible, whether it is run or pass.”

On Hunt’s hurdle on the TD run last week and if that makes him nervous or if his attitude is ‘have at it’: 

“Have at it. Have at it. You see that end zone, he has a great nose for the end zone. I think he left from about the 4-yard line, got everybody excited and I enjoyed watching it on the highlights afterward. Find the end zone. Those guys get the green light to get it in however they decide.”

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