Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt (10.7.21)

On how QB Baker Mayfield’s shoulder could be impacting accuracy or other elements:

“I do not see that on the practice field. I do not. I see the accuracy as it usually is on the practice field. Obviously, it bothers him. It is sore, I am sure. His sleep is probably something that is tough, sleeping on his left side, but that is part of the deal. That is part of playing in the NFL. A lot of guys this time of the year and throughout the course of the year get nicked up and play through it.”


On how difficult it can be to throw when your non-throwing shoulder is not 100 percent:

“It can be tough – it definitely can. Like I said, I have not seen it affect him out here in practice. I think the game – he said it first in the press conference – it was not up to his standards, and that happens in the NFL. You do not roll out of bed and have a great day every day. I have seen some great quarterbacks have a rough day. That is part of the deal in this business. I expect him to bounce back this week. Excited to see him work today and tomorrow in practice, but I have not seen the effects of it in practice so it should not carry over to the games.”


On if he ever sustained a torn labrum as a player:

“I have. I have had two torn labrums – both shoulders. Had one repaired, and I have one on my left that really affects my golf game a little bit – I try to blame it on that (laughter). It is a pinch. It is a little discomforting at times, but it is part of the deal.”


On if an injury to a non-throwing shoulder’s labrum could potentially impact a QB:

“It does not matter if your right knee hurts or your left knee hurts, it is all part of the mechanics. Again, I have not seen it affect his throws in practice, and I would not say that game was a result of an injury to him.”


On if Mayfield and WR Odell Beckham Jr. gaining more game reps to continue to build chemistry, given the pair were close on some missed opportunities last week:

“They were very close. Really, if you complete two of those throws, Odell is well over 100 yards, and everybody is not saying a word. That is tough. Deep balls are tough to complete. Your completion percentage is lower on those, but we were just off a hair. The one ball he had down the right side, he had to step up and maneuver some pressure, which was a tough throw, that one was close. The one at the end of the game, I take as much responsibility for that as anybody. As the coordinator, I repped that play multiple times versus a zone coverage, and we have driven the ball into that spot, knowing that the safety and the corner would react, and this was a man look that we have not and I had not prepared those guys for. I take as much responsibility as anybody.”


On if he had his labrum repaired during his playing days:

“I did. I had my right one repaired, and then my left one, I did not because I was done playing.”


On if recovering from a labrum is a long process:

“It is just discomfort. It is part [of it]. If you play quarterback in this league long enough, you are going to have some labrum problems at some time.”


On if there is anything he can do as a coordinator to help Mayfield establish a rhythm after a less productive performance:

“There are definitely ways you can do that. It is comfortable plays, concepts that you have, easy plays and easy throws for him. That is something that we always try to do as a staff is to find the easy completions.”


On if he does not want Mayfield to run as much, given the shoulder:

“That is his game. That is part of his game, and we would never take that away. He just has to be smart when he does decide to run.”


On Mayfield seeming more indecisive at Minnesota:

“The scheme is good. That is a very good defense. They play well together. They have been doing that together for a long time in that system under (Vikings Head) Coach (Mike) Zimmer. Part of it is the defense we faced that day. It was an off day for Baker. I am proud of him for taking accountability and saying that in the press conference. He was disappointed, we expect him to play better and he expects himself to play better.”


On if there is a concern that Mayfield would take a hit on his shoulder or it would bend back:

“I do not really think there is a worry at this point. It is what it is. Like I said, a lot of people have played through it.”


On if he ever wore a harness as a QB:

“No, I have not. The right one was a season-ending injury. I had surgery. The left one, like I said, it is still there and you just live with it.”


On if the harness is an adjustment for Mayfield:

“Everything is an adjustment really. Any time you are wearing something different, it takes an adjustment, but he wears it in practice. Again, I see him throwing it accurately in practice so I do not attribute any of that to the injury as much as just having an off day.”


On if the Browns run game can continue to evolve:

“Absolutely. That is what we are based on is the running game. It starts there. It starts with our guys up front and the work they put in. The schemes that (offensive line) Coach (Bill) Callahan brings to the table are great each week, and he does a really nice job in-game of switching scheme and saying, ‘Alright, we need to get to this next.’ There is a lot of great stuff that we do in the run game having those runners (RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt) are exceptional, and our line does a really good job in the run blocking.”


On G Joel Bitonio elevating his game even further this season:

“He has. He is a leader of that line. There is no doubt. We gave him a game ball last week for his performance – well deserved. Probably could give him one every week. He plays really well and consistent. That is the biggest thing with Joel, a really smart player and very consistent.”


On challenges with T Jedrick Wills Jr. starting games but having to exit early while battling an ankle injury:

“Obviously, you would like to have the line and your starting group play every game, but the reality of it is it is not going to happen so it is next man up mentality. (T) James (Hudson III) came in and we have guys who can play in that position. I am not sure what will happen with Jed this week, but we will be ready regardless.”


On Wills could benefit from a week off to rest the ankle:

“That is out of my wheelhouse. That is up to the guys that know that.”


On if the Chargers defense is similar to Broncos Head Coach Vic Fangio’s defense:

“It is a version. A very good defense. Very, very good. If you watch the tape, this is going to be a great challenge for our offense. They are playing really well. They are playing with a lot of confidence right now after their win on Monday night. They do a good job with their scheme for sure, and they have some disruptive pass rushers. It is going to be a challenge.”


On if the Chargers defense is similar to the Bears defense:

“There are similarities there for sure. The scheme is similar – not always identical but similar.”


On Chargers OLB Joey Bosa:

“He is just long, his length and his hand usage is really good. He is powerful, explosive and slippery. He can change the game. He has shown he has done that multiple times throughout the course of the season already. Definitely aware of where No. 97 is on the field.”


On his level of confidence in the Browns OL’s protection so far:

“I think it has been pretty good. We had one off day against Chicago, I feel. Last week, really there was one sack that attributed to an offensive lineman. Other than that, I think Bake had two on his own where the ball has to come out or zero-gain sacks, which I hate – those still count as sacks. I think we had one of those in there as well on a scramble. I think they are protecting well.”


On if the fourth-and-four sack was credited to the OL:



On Bitonio starting his 100th game this Sunday:

“It is great. It is tough to play 10 games in this league, having done it. It is a tribute to him. He is there every week. His consistency again and his leadership, it is a privilege to have him in our room.”


On the different coaches, coordinators and injury Bitonio has been through during his career:

“Resilient. He is resilient. Yes, we appreciate that.”


On the play when RB Demetric Felton was open for a first down:

“Have to ask Bake. Have to ask him, but is a situation where we had a keeper, and he thought he could slip inside and run it for the first down. No. 99 (Vikings DE Danielle Hunter) made a good play on him.”


On if Beckham getting open on opportunities last Sunday provides confidence Beckham is back to being himself:

“Absolutely. To see him back out there – like you said, he was open on many occasions during the game – that is very positive for us.


Closing statement:

“Also, I want to wish my daughter a happy birthday – 22 today. Happy Birthday, Pey Pey.”


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