Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt (10.28.21)

On how QB Baker Mayfield is feeling today:

“I think he is OK. He seems to be good in meetings. He practiced yesterday a good amount and looked good.”


On if Mayfield will practice today:

“I think he will go today for sure, and then we will determine later in the week how he is feeling. Obviously, it is up to the doctors and medical staff to determine whether he is ready to go or not.”


On if Mayfield’s left, non-throwing shoulder has responded better than it did last week:

“I think so. You would have to ask Baker obviously. I think he is feeling OK right now. It is just whether or not it is healed up enough for this week or not.”


On how many practice reps QB Case Keenum will get in practice this week:

“Case gets more than he usually does, I would say. We do not split the reps, but all backups are ready to go with no reps. That is kind of the job of the backup. He will be ready to go regardless of how many reps he takes.”


On if the Browns have to modify the game plan to protect Mayfield and the shoulder if Mayfield does play:

“That is gameplan stuff I probably should not discuss. He has to be mindful and he has to be safe until he is fully healed.”


On if Mayfield has to change the throwing motion due to the harness on the left shoulder:

“I do not think so. It did not stand out. There was nothing in practice that looked different. Obviously, just maybe it is a little stronger to keep it in place.”


On if Mayfield’s velocity looks the same as usual:

“Absolutely. Yep, absolutely.”


On if Mayfield is mentally in good spirits:

“He is mentally as tough as anyone I have been around. He takes everything seriously. I do not know if I have seen him jovial, but that is Baker, and I love his attitude.”


On the lift that WR Jarvis Landry returning gave the team:

“Oh, huge. I love guy. Obviously, a huge spark for us anytime we can get him the ball, especially early in the game. It gets everybody going. For him to battle back and make it on a Thursday night game was big for us, and we felt his energy out there for sure.”


On how Landry’s leadership and production fires the team up:

“Toughness, leadership and obviously his playmaking ability. His hands are incredible. He has strong hands. Just the leadership he provides in practice, on the sideline and the energy he brings on game day is tough to match. Guys get excited for him because he is a guy you like to pull for, for sure.”


On getting Landy the ball early in games and how that impacts the rest of the team:

“Getting Juice the ball juices us all up. Yeah, it is always good to get him going.”


On if the Browns offense needs more production from the WRs:

“This offense is built to be successful regardless of who is in there. If we have to rely more on the run, then we rely more on the run. If that is not working for us, then we have to go to the pass. We have to be productive no matter what we do. Getting those guys all healthy and back hopefully soon will be great. Getting that starting group up front back hopefully this week with the O line will be huge for us. Obviously, the more chances we have to play all together with that starting 11, 12 or 13 guys is big for us.”


On how the Browns have to adjust the game plan when facing Steelers LB T.J. Watt:

“Just like everybody else. He is an elite pass rusher. He can definitely ruin a game. He is (Chargers LB Joey) Bosa. He is (Bears DE Khalil) Mack. He is all of those guys who can do that. Luckily, we have faced those type of players before. We have done well, I think, in our scheme and in our plan so we continue to see that moving forward. He is a really elite player, one of the top guys in the league to rush the passer, and he plays the run really well. Definitely aware where he is at all times.”


On how Watt’s skillset separates him from other NFL players:

“Just the twitchiness. His ability to bend. He is quick. You try to reach him on a run block, and he can slip you really quickly inside. Just all of the things he brings. Obviously, he is one of the top players in the league.”


On if it helps the gameplan that Watt typically lines up over the right side and does not move around as much as some other NFL pass rushers:

“It can. I guess at times you kind of know where he is going to be, but they do move him around in some of their packages so you can’t say he is always going to be on that right side on that right defensive end’s side. They have other players, too, we still have to be mindful of. Obviously, some good pass rushers other than him, as well.”


On the potential of RBs Nick Chubb and D’Ernest Johnson as a one-two punch:

“Hopefully, just like Chubb and (RB) Kareem (Hunt). Hopefully, those guys can play off of each other. The big thing I was proud of D’Ernest, he came in and did exactly what we have seen him do every time he has come in for us and has been productive and successful I the run game. Hopefully, he can take some of that load off Nick this week and if Nick goes. Hopefully, they can both be healthy and full of energy in the fourth quarter.”


On what makes Johnson’s running style different from Chubb and Hunt:

“His leverage, he is really low to the ground. He is tough to find. He gets in behind those linemen with the low pad level, and he always seems to be falling forward – that is the big thing. Very patient. Understands the wide zone game really well. He is very patient before he puts his foot in the ground.”


On if he could tell Mayfield was ‘rearing to go’ in practice yesterday:

“Yeah, he has been rearing to go last week even when he came out and did some things in practice but was not healthy enough. He is always ready to go. Do not worry about that.”


On the best thing Keenum did in last week’s game:

“Did not turn the ball over. Obviously, any time we can leave a game with zero giveaways, we feel like we are going to be in a good position to win that game. He did a great job of managing. He got rid of the ball a few times when he had some pressure. He did a great job of distributing the football. Ten different guys caught a pass from him. He is a guy who that is what we expect from. You see it in practice. He has had success obviously in the NFL at a high level, and it showed Thursday night.”


On how much comfort it gives the Browns that Keenum as a backup has 63 starts and has played in big games:



On if there was an extra emphasis to Keenum about quickly releasing the ball:

“That is understanding the system, understanding the situations and understanding the defenses presented. We did talk about getting the ball out of our hands, playing fast and playing on time in the pass game. He did a great job of that.”


On how much WR Odell Beckham Jr.’s shoulder injury has affected him in the past few games:

“It is another guy that we are just proud of to get there to gameday. That is a serious injury. It is a painful injury. There is not much you can do for it other than medicate it on gameday. The sideline pass before the half when he slammed onto the ground, I thought that was going to be it for him for that game. Tough as nails to come back and play in the second half, give us two more catches and be out there on the field affecting defenses. Really credit to him and his toughness.”


On being a Steelers fan growing up, given he is a Pittsburgh native:

“Until they cut me (laughter).”


On being released by the Steelers during his playing career:

“I was lucky enough to be there. It was just part of the deal. I was a rookie who did not deserve to make that team at that time. I just moved on and kept working.”


On if being cut by the Steelers has stuck with him throughout his career and if the Steelers game is an opportunity for revenge:

“No, not really. You lose that after a while. It is the next opponent. It is a division game. It does not matter who it is, we are excited to play.”


On if his release by the Steelers was a surprise at the time:

“That I was released? No, not at all. I did not deserve to make that team. I was not good enough in practice or any of any of the preseason games.


On the Steelers having former NFL QB Neil Donnell on the roster during his time with the team:

“Yeah. (Former NFL QB Mike) Tomczak. Those guys were there. Yeah, I definitely deserved what I got in that situation. No grudges held.”


On if he remembers who told him he was cut by the Steelers:

“I think it was (Pro Football Hall of Fame Head) Coach (Bill) Coach Cowher at the time. I said thank you for the opportunity.”


On apologizing for bringing up his release from the Steelers:

“That is alright. Now my wife, she holds grudges (laughter).”


On Mayfield expressing how important the consecutive starts streak was to him and if Mayfield and other Browns leaders battling through injury to play impacts the rest of the team doing the same:

“It sets an example in my opinion when you come out for the walkthrough in a sling and then you come out and you practice. He did everything he could to get ready for that game. I think that leaves an impression on everybody else. He is doing everything he can to be there for his teammates, and I think it is definitely infectious.”


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