OC Alex Van Pelt (9.24.20)

Offensive Coordinator Alex Van Pelt:

On QB Baker Mayfield’s ability to throw on the run: 

“That is definitely a strength of his game is his ability to throw outside the pocket on the run. That is one of the things that we kind of identified coming in last year and watching the tape of the previous two years. That is a strong point in his game. Just trying to find ways to get him and allow him to be able to do things that he does really well, and that is one of them. He did a great job with that.”


On the challenge Washington’s DL presents:

“That front is very stout, a very talented group. Obviously, they play the wide nine techniques and the wide ends so it will be tough to get outside of the pocket. That is OK. Those types of situations help a ton in the run game when they are that wide and they are playing for keepers. That opens up a lot of things with the run. However they decided to play, obviously, we will be able to adjust as the game goes.”

On watching the film of the Browns’ final scoring drive from last week’s game:

“That was a lot of fun, obviously. You get in those situations in four-minute offense and you are able to go down and punch it in late in the game like that when you have a lead, that is what it is all about. Really hats off to that blocking unit up front, and that includes the wide receivers and tight ends, and our fullbacks got involved. (Offensive line) Coach (Bill) Callahan put together a hell of a running plan for us last week and to be able to do that to close the game out or at least put yourself in position to be up at the end the game. That is a tribute to those men up front and the runners, as well.”

On if the Browns offense is hoping to build off the run game to help set up the passing game:

“I think that is something we do well. We came into training camp saying we want to establish the wide zone and the run game and to be able to do that, and then everything really opens up off of that. Yes, I think that was kind of what we expected it to look like, and having that offensive line play as well as they did up front and then having two special guys in the backfield that could break explosive gains from anywhere on the field, it is awesome from our offense to have that ability.”

On what the Browns accomplish with pre-snap motion:

“That is getting into a little gameplan specifics. Let’s let you guys figure that one out down the road. The more that you can change the looks and do the things that you are accustomed to doing, that is good for offense.”

On his conversations with WR Odell Beckham Jr. about his number of targets and Beckham accepting the fact there may be fewer in some games:

“It is a team game. That is one thing that coaches preach from Day 1. It is a team, and we are going to win as a team. I know (pass game coordinator/wide receivers) coach (Chad) O’Shea preaches that in the wide receiver room. It starts first with the team, and whatever is best for the team is what we are going to do. I think he understands that. Whenever you have the ability to run the ball as effectively as we did on Thursday night, he may not get as many opportunities, but there are going to be games now when things are not going quite that way and we are going have to lean on him to catch the ball and run routes and get open. It is finding that fine balance of what you are doing and then on how the defenders defend you. Last week, we felt we could run the ball well, and we did. It is really about not targets but efficiency of those targets. He was targeted not as many times as in Baltimore, but he was much more successful and efficient on those targets. I think he knows that.”

On how Beckham was able to get as open on his TD reception and other routes:

“The touchdown catch was an extremely disciplined route. He did exactly what he was asked to do. He was at the right depth. It was a play that we had set up a little bit of earlier in the game. We ran a route off of the same type of action, and we came back to it late in the game. He made it look exactly the same. His precision of route running was excellent.”

On if he expects to see more five man fronts from opposing defenses if RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt continue to have strong rushing performances:

“I think you will definitely see some heavier boxes as we start running the ball well. Teams are going to have to put an extra defender down there, and then that is the old give-and-takes and now all of sudden you are outside and you are one on one, you are not doubling people with the high safeties over the top and then it opens up the passing game for you. It is a fine balance of having runs that you can still run versus a loaded box, which we will definitely have. We are excited to take advantage of the matchups outside, which we will have this week.”

On if the coaches meet on Friday night or Saturday to discuss the script of opening plays for matchups:

“It is just the work of the week really. You kind of see what looks really good with practice and what you executed well in practice, and it comes to the mindset of how you want to play the game and how you want to start the game. Is there anything that you guys want to set up for later in the game off of those first calls early in the game? (Head) Coach Kevin (Stefanski) does the majority of that, but it is a collaborative effort throughout the week of what has looked good. We feel these are a set of great plays that we feel really good about those in general.”

On Mayfield’s performance last week and needs to be done to take the next step:

“It is just consistency and stacking successes. The first week, we dug ourselves into a little hole there and we could not make our way out of it. This week, we were exactly where we wanted to be. I thought he was extremely focused and locked in during the week. He had a great understanding of the plan, and we challenged him to find completions all over the field. We actually put some numbers on him, and he hit those numbers. Just continuing to have that laser focus, understanding the plan and understanding that the defense dictates where the ball goes often. The decision making that the quarterback has is going to make him successful. With the exception of the one interception I know he would love to have back, I thought he played a great game.”

On the emphasis on Mayfield ending his interception streak:

“It is huge. We never want to throw interceptions, ever, ever. When they do come up, like the tipped pass in Baltimore, those are ones that you can stomach, but as he grows in this system and learns that if we call a shot play and it is not there, it is OK to check the ball down. You do not have to throw it. We are still learning each other, and we are still learning the system. I think you will continue to see that growth. That streak will end soon.”

On what TE Austin Hooper is doing to help the Browns offense that may not show up on the stat sheet:

“Gees, Hoop is just a team guy. He goes out and he does everything the right way. His run-game blocking is something that probably does not flash on TV, but you see it often on the field. He is a big part of the success as are all the tight ends in our run game right now. That he is doing extremely well. He has a great understanding of route combinations and schemes, and it is not just about him. He knows how to get other people open, as well. That is some of the stuff that you may not see that does show up in these last two games.”

On T Jedrick Wills Jr.’s transition to LT through two games and the challenge for Wills going up against Washington’s DL, including Washington DE Chase Young:

“He has really stepped up. I am really proud of his progress he has made through training camp. He had some rough days there with those guys rushing him on that left side. Just his ability to fight back and the toughness that he shows. Really, you forget he is a rookie when you watch him out there during the game. Other than the Sunday or Thursday night, you forget the fact that he is a rookie. He is playing really well right now. This challenge will be a good one for him, but we expect him to step up to it.”

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