Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt (11.11.21)


On if the Browns can wait to determine RB Nick Chubb’s availability for Sunday up until kickoff, given the COVID-19 protocols:

“I am not quite sure how all of that works. Right now, all I know is there is still a chance. I do not know how large that chance is or when that chance is, but we will take as long as we need to and as long as we possibly can. We will see what happens there when we get to game time.”


On the comfort knowing that RB D’Ernest Johnson has produced in the past, if Chubb is unavailable:

“It is definitely a good feeling to know that there is a guy who has been productive really every time he has touched the ball for us. Even last week, he had some tough looks there at the end of the game when they were bringing one more than we could block, and he was making guys miss. I feel very confident he will come out and perform for us like he has in the past if he needs to.”


On QB Baker Mayfield’s career record being 15-6 when attempting fewer than 30 passes and 12-20 when attempting more than 30 passes:

“If you are throwing under 30, you are probably running the ball well and you are more balanced as an offense, which is good for all parties involved.”


On if that stat and philosophy is relative to all NFL QBs:

“I think so. I do. Especially the way we are built and the way we operate here with our system in place, it starts with the running game. We get the running game going, and everything plays off of the running game. I would like to keep that number below 30. Usually, when you are over 30, it is because you are coming from behind or you are forced into those situations. We feel really good about our run game and what comes off of that. Obviously, a good marriage of run and pass and being balanced in that area is critical to any quarterback’s success.”


On Mayfield distributing the football to multiple targets in recent weeks:

“Just letting the coverage dictate where the balls goes has a lot to do with that. I think we have been pretty good for the most part of the season. There was a game where he actually spread it to 10 different guys so everybody is involved in the pass game. It is just a matter of what the coverage does that dictates where that ball should go.”


On if distributing the ball to various targets in a game is a point of emphasis for the Browns:

“I think so. We want to definitely put it in all of our guys hands. We have a lot of confidence in our guys. There are certain guys you would highlight in certain situations of the game. We definitely have those, as well. For the most part, we feel comfortable with all three of our tight ends, our whole receiving crew and our backs out of the backfield. Yeah, we feel good about getting the ball to all of those guys.”


On the Browns’ ability to connect on deep passes and establish a strong running game last week is what the team envisioned for the offense when at its best:

“I think so. It is a complement of the run game and then being able to take the big-play shots off of the run game, as well as the keeper game and being able to stay under center and throw the ball, even if you are dropping back because you have the throw to the run. All of those things play together. When we are clicking, we are running it well, and we are keeping defenses off balance and off guard.”


On what the Browns miss when RB Kareem Hunt is unavailable:

“Just that second different style of runner, the crazy-leg guy, the Tasmanian devil who is flying all over the field and the energy that he brings for sure to the sideline. We missed him on third downs, as well because he does a great job with his pass protection back there. We can’t wait to get him back in the mix as we move forward.”


On if the Browns’ offensive gameplan changes if Chubb is unavailable:

“I do not think so. We have great confidence that D’Ernest can carry the load. He showed that he has. I do not think there is any reason why we would change our mindset.”


On if the Patriots may approach the Browns offense differently if Chubb is unavailable:

“That is a tough question. They do a great job regardless of who is out there. They have been in that system for a long time. It looks very similar to 15 years ago when lined up against them – the same body types, and scheme-wise, they do a lot of the same things. They are really good at it, and they are really well coached. I do not know if they feel like they need to change for us. I think they like who they are.”


On if he expects a ‘grind it out’ game when playing the Patriots defense:

“I definitely do. That is a very big front, very large, heavy linebackers and all interchangeable pieces. We have already talked about it is going to be a very physical game. That is the style that they play. We have to be able to match that or exceed it.”


On what WR Rashard Higgins can do to receive more opportunities on gameday:

“His opportunities will come. He has to be productive when he gets in there – that is the biggest thing. They will come. We do have great confidence in Rashard. He will get is opportunities. Now obviously with the receiver room being lessened through (free agent WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.), he will get his chances to come. I know Baker has great confidence in him. He has shown that he can be productive. Over the course of the last seasons, he has had some really big games.”


On the Browns’ creating more explosive plays on offense last week:

“A lot of it had to do with defensive structure and scheme of what they played allowed us to take some of those shots down the field. A lot of it was an emphasis on let’s throw the ball down the field. Talked to Baker before the game, and said, ‘I have great confidence. If you see it, throw it.’ He showed that he can get that done. There were a lot of plays he made down the field that were exceptional throws – the touchdown to (TE) David (Njoku) and the touchdown to (WR) Donovan (Peoples-Jones). I want to say we had five explosive passes on the day so that is where we need to be.”


On the Browns’ investment in the running game with contract extensions this week for Gs Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller, as well as Chubb and Hunt earlier this year:

“Really could not be more pleased in extending those two guys up front. Joel and Wyatt, nobody is more deserving. They are great team players. They play at an extremely, extremely high level, and the leadership that Joel brings to the offense. I am really happy for both of those guys. As a coach, you are ecstatic that you get to keep those guys around because they are obviously a big part of how we go on the offensive side. Kareem, Nick and those guys, bringing in (T) Jack (Conklin) last year and making that commitment to our offense has been awesome. We are glad that those guys are going to stay on board for a while.”


On if Mayfield’s sore foot may have an effect this week and if Mayfield will be able to throw more today and tomorrow in practice:

“I would not expect Bake to miss any time. As it pertains to the game, he is a tough guy. He has already played through a lot worse than this. I think he will be fine. Just have to find a way to get him through practice this week.”


On if Mayfield’s foot was stepped on during last weeks’ game:

“I am not even sure exactly how it went down. He had some discomfort yesterday, and I think that is fine. Moving forward, I think he will be available for the game.”


On if Mayfield’s five explosive pass plays last weeks can provide the team more confidence and momentum moving forward:

“Yeah, absolutely. That is the blueprint. Again, run the ball effectively and efficiently and then take our shots when we get them. Not turning the ball over, the biggest thing of the day was coming out of the day without giving them the ball. When we are playing really well, we are controlling the line of scrimmage with the run game, we are not taking chances with the football and our runners are running it with great ball security. It is a really simple blueprint, but it is effective.”


On WR Jarvis Landry’s past few games and if something is going on with Landry beneath the surface that has led to decreased production:

“No, not that I am aware of. Not at all. Again, a huge part of us offensively. He had a rough spell against the Steelers. Did what he was asked to do against the Bengals. I love Juice. You know how I feel about him. Expect him to help us throughout the course of the year in a leadership role and in a production role.”


On the option play last week with Landry that resulted in a fumble, which the Browns recovered:

“Probably a little late in the decision making there, but great confidence in him. We ran a similar play last year versus Philly, and he made a huge play with it. Feel great about anytime we put the ball in his hands.”


On Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick staining the Browns’ three TE set can look like multiple different personnel groupings and how that impacts an opposing defense:

“It is good for us. Obviously, we love to be multiple with our personnel and how we use those personnel groupings. We can get big in that grouping or we can spread out and play in space with that grouping. Really like our tight end group. A lot of teams will go in with one or two calls versus 13 personnel. I think we have to give defensive coaches and they have to give a little bit more time and thought to what they are going to play against that personnel grouping because we are so multiple. That is a strength of ours. No problem putting three tight ends out there and spreading it out or bringing them all down within the formation and running the ball out of that, as well.”


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