Offensive Coordinator Alex Van Pelt (11.10.22)


On takeaways from the self-scout during the bye week:

“We were doing some good things. Some of the things that we took away from it, really our third downs were real productive when we keep it in manageable downs and distances. That is one of our areas of emphasis is to have productivity on first and second down and keep it in third-and-6 or less. On third downs, we were really good when we were in that area. Third-and-7-plus, we have to improve. That is one of the areas. Then turnovers. Really, we just have to find a way – I know they are tough at times – to not turn the ball over. We were in the minus department in the turnover margin. We want to get that going in a positive direction.”


On the Browns running a play against the Bengals with eight OL on the field:

“That is just some of (offensive line) Coach (Bill) Callahan’s thought there. Get into we call it ‘double muscle’. Usually, you usually use a muscle tight end or a tackle at muscle positions. That was a double muscle. It is fun to signal – it looks like you are flexing (laughter). You are just getting creative. You really just always talk about using your guys and putting them in positions, and those are creative thought in that run and that plan. Got the defense we wanted and got the front we wanted with that look.”


On if the Browns would consider using the double muscle formation in positions other than the goal line:

“It could happen. We had a good idea of what they would play versus that type of personnel grouping, and we got it. Yeah, you could pull it out. Have done it in the middle of a game in short yardage and gone into jumbo, which is our goal line package in the middle of the field. Generally, you will get a goal line defense, but some teams will not do that. Some teams won’t allow that and they won’t match your personnel. We had a good feeling we were going to get matched in that situation.”


On if the Browns offense has to have an aggressive mindset of needing to score fast and often when facing an explosive Dolphins offense:

“We always try to go in with that mindset. We do want to start fast. We have done well when we have started fast, but we have to contain that throughout the game. We have to gain speed as we go on and finish strong at the end. That is kind of the point of emphasis for us this week. We do need to score. Obviously, that is a good offense we are facing. We know that. I feel like if we play up to our potential, we will be able to do what we need to do offensively.”


On if the Browns offense also may need to have the mindset of controlling the clock and time of possession against when facing an explosive Dolphins offense:

“We always talk about possessions, possess the ball and score in the red zone. That is converting on third downs. That kind of plays into it. Yeah, we would love 11-12 play drives that end in touchdowns, but we will take a two-play drive. That is the goal obviously is to ‘matriculate the ball down the field’ to quote some coaches. We are not overly concerned about, ‘Hey, we have to possess the ball for this amount of time.’ We need to be productive and score points.”


On if there were common themes from the self-scout to when the Browns offense faced third-and-longs, understanding there are a lot of variables involved:

“There are [a lot of variables]. There are. Some of the things were a penalty on first-and-10 puts you in a first-and-20. Then this last game, we had a coverage sack that put us now in third-and-19, and there is not much you can do in those situations. We have really done a good job in our penalties, knock on wood. That was another area of emphasis going into this season. We have really almost cut our holding penalties in half. We went from 26th at the end of the season in pre-snap penalties to third-best in the league. Guys are really buying into that, and that is helping us. Our operation on first and second down allows us to stay in third-and-short.”


On if it is difficult to not be pulled into the Dolphins’ style of play:

“They have to match us, as well. We plan to score every time we touch the ball and we go out on the field. Really don’t play a lot of attention other than what the score is at that point. Like I said, I rarely watch an offensive series for the other team. We are over there trying to figure out what the next drive holds for us. We feel that with our offense, we want to possess the ball, drive and score touchdowns and not really concerned about the other side.”


On how WR Amari Cooper’s performance is helping QB Jacoby Brissett and how their chemistry is helping production:

“Very much so. I think we now have a really good understanding of what he does extremely well, and we are trying to put him in the best positions for him to be successful. I know Jacoby has a real good feeling of where he is going to be, when he is going to come out of breaks and how he is going to run his routes. It is paying off. He has really done a great job. We were lucky to get him.”


On if Cooper and Brissett are verbal about timing and other aspects of the Browns offense:

“Oh yeah, there are text chains going on throughout the evenings. When guys are watching film, I will hear Jacoby say, ‘Hey, Amari texted me last night and told me to look at this clip.’ A lot of work goes into it. Those guys do a great job.”


On how Brissett has progressed since the first game this season:

“I think he has been outstanding for us. I know he has had some tough turnovers in some spots that he would like to have back, but he is playing at a high level for us. Right now, I thought his game last week was exceptional. He is just consistent. Just putting that together each week and finding a way to hold onto that ball in a bad pocket, which happens occasionally. Really proud of the way he has stepped up. Really proud of the way he has led this team. That is another thing that doesn’t get talked about enough. He is very vocal, he is a strong leader and guys follow him. It has been outstanding.”


On if there are certain elements where Brissett has significantly improved since Week 1:

“I really just can’t put it in one area. His whole game has really stepped up. You go all of the way back to the beginning when we started the footwork and the whole transition into this system, from where he has come from there until now, he has made great strides.”


On the Browns’ decision for Brissett to be the backup to QB Deshaun Watson after the suspension ends, given how well Brissett has played this season:

“It is a good-bad decision. It is tough, but it is good. We are going to have two really good players that we feel comfortable we can win a lot of games with.”


On what he has gained an appreciation of from Cooper after being around him in the building everyday:

“Just his route running ability. You think, you see it on tape, but until you really get to hear him talk through how he runs his routes and the way he is explosive and powerful. DBs are kind of afraid to get too close to him because he is strong, he can run through the break points through contact and he has a great burst. Really just his knack for route running.”


On if TE David Njoku not being available for the Bengals game caused the team to alter its offensive gameplan:

“It did. It did. Not having him definitely made us change a few things to the personnel groupings we had. We were more versatile in who we could have on the field minus Dave. It did for sure. I am not sure when he will be back. Hopefully, sooner than later. Again, there is another guy who has put in a lot of great work this year and has had a lot of success.”


On if he was surprised the TEs received zero targets in the Bengals game:

“Sometimes that is the way that it goes. We always talk about the defense will tell you where the ball goes. We had routes in for (TE) Harrison (Bryant) for sure, and they covered them so we move on in the progression. Tons of confidence in Harrison and (TE) Pharaoh (Brown) so it wasn’t like we were hiding from the tight end position at all. It just turned out that way.”


On the quiet personalities of the Browns WRs, particularly compared to other NFL WRs, and seeing the unit gel together:

“It has been awesome. The positions can always be boisterous and outgoing. These guys are just workers. They are diligent in what they do, and they communicate well together. It has shown that that works.”


On why the Browns have been so effective on third-and-six or less:

“I think just our overall execution. Scheme is what it is. Everybody has the same scheme. We are executing it at a high level in those down and distances. I think Jacoby has a really good timeclock in his brain as far as, ‘When do I get off a receiver to move through my progressions?’ It seems like he is always right when he is moving past one to get to another or even a third. Really just playing really good quarterback, listening to his feet, going through his progressions and finding the open receiver. Our run game helps. I know with our backs, we are third and whatever – 8, 9 or 10 – we feel confident we can hand the ball off and pick up a first down with the run game.”


On if the Browns’ scheme and personnel are more built to executive on third-and-4 than third-and-12:

“Right, exactly.”


On how G Wyatt Teller not being available in recent games has impacted the Browns offensive scheme, including how often the Gs pull:

“It definitely didn’t change our outside game with the guards pulling. Maybe you lean a little heavier on (G) Joel (Bitonio) as the puller, but (G) Hjalte (Froholdt) did a nice job when he had his opportunities.”


On if there is more emphasis on Brissett looking to throw more TD passes or simply to just score TDs:

“We don’t look and say, ‘Well, he only had so many touchdown passes.’ We want to be scoring in the red zone at a high rate, and I think we are up in the top-third of the league in red zone scoring. As long as we are punching it in down there and getting us touchdowns, it doesn’t matter who is getting it.”


On if the Browns expect Teller to be available this week, given Teller stated he plans to play:

“Sounds good to me. He was out there yesterday in practice so I think we will see how the week goes and how he feels after the last couple days. Hopefully, we will get him back. I know he is chomping at the bit, as is David. Just talking to those guys, I know they want to be a part of it, and they want to be back to help their team win.”


On if the connection between the three phases of the game in the Bengals game has transitioned to the practice field this week:

“Yeah, I think that is a big thing. We really need to complement each other this week especially. I think it showed up a little bit in the Cincinnati game. We turned the ball over and put them in some bad spots. They got them to punt or got the ball back for us. That is going to be big down the second half of the season is playing complementary football – desperate football or however you want to say it right now. We are a hungry team right now. We know that we can be good when we all play at our level of expectation. Complementary football down the second half would be great.”


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