Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt (11.4.21)

On if the Browns are designing this week’s offense without WR Odell Beckham Jr. in the gameplan:

“We are going to go in and plan for the guys who are going to be there at this point. That is our focus. Going into play a really good Cincinnati defense. They added a lot of new faces through free agency. They are playing really well together right now. We are seeing some different scheme that we have not seen in the past. A big challenge for us to go down there and try to get a win on the road.”


On what makes Bengals Ss Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell so effective:

“Jessie is just a good football player. Bell is a guy who is a tough guy who plays in the box, plays really well plays the run well. He can cover well. Jessie is a smart guy who plays in the back end and sees things. They do a great job in their communication. You can tell that they are well coached. They make a lot of formational adjustments and align on the fly. The communication between those two guys is pretty good when you watch the tape.”


On Bengals CB Mike Hilton seeming to blitz more with the Steelers and if the Browns have to be aware of that ability when making a gameplan:

“Absolutely. Still playing at a high level. He is a good blitzer. Obviously, he is not doing it as much as he did in Pittsburgh, but what he does well is he really times it up well. He is in tune with the cadence, and he hits it on the run. He can hit it on the outside or he can come inside the defensive end, as well. Bell is a really good pressure guy, as well – No. 24 off of the edge. We are definitely ready for those guys and the challenge ahead of us.”


On the Bengals missing multiple tackles in last week’s game against the NY Jets and if the Browns can take advantage of it:

“We like our guys with the ball in their hands for sure. We expect our guys one on one with space and time to break tackles and make guys miss. It is a focus of what we do. Hopefully, we can continue to do that moving forward.”


On how well QB Baker Mayfield is handling the situation with Beckham:

“He is great. He is focused. Just left a meeting with him, covering our walkthrough today. We had our third down meeting today, and it went really well. I have not seen any difference with him as far as his preparation goes.”


On if the video posted to social media by Beckham’s father that took shots at Mayfield offends him at all, given he is the offensive coordinator:

“I do not want to address any of those. I will direct all of those questions to (Head) Coach (Kevin Stefanski). Really just focused in on the task at hand, which is large for us, and the guys who are here right now, I am more willing to talk about. That is where I am with that.”


On if it is the expectation that Beckham will not play on Sunday:

“As of now, again, we are just getting ready for today’s practice. We will see where that goes from here. Again, just getting the guys ready who are here in the building today to go play on Sunday.”


On the Browns passing game playing extremely well during the second half of the 2020 season and if there are indications as to why it has not been as successful to begin the 2021 season:

“I would not say anything is going wrong. Really, I think we completed 75 percent of our passes last week, which is pretty good in NFL standards. We had some mishandling of the ball and a couple of drops that would have added to that and increased that. I think where we need to be is more explosive with our ability to push the ball down the field. As far as completion percentage and what we are doing taking care of the football in the pass game, we are doing OK. We need to do better of getting bigger chunks.”


On how to produce more chunk place in the passing game:

“Different ways. You have to throw it down the field is one way. Doing it through our play-action game is another way. Whatever it is, we have to find ways to be more explosive through the air.”


On if Mayfield can be accurate on a consistent basis with deeper passes, given the left, non-throwing shoulder injury:

“I think he will be. I have no doubts. My confidence in Baker is big. He will work through that as he goes. The harness, he will continue to get used to that the more reps he gets with that. I do not see it as a concern. We just have to find ways to make the plays down the field.”


On Mayfield’s footwork:

“That is a big part of his game. I think he has grown strides with his footwork over the last year. It is definitely a strong point for him right now. He is listening to his feet, and he is getting through his progressions. His feet are really good right now.”


On the signs of leadership Mayfield has shown when addressing the situation with Beckham:

“It is tough on him, I am sure, but at the same time, he is the leader of this offense. As he goes, we go. He just has to again maintain the laser focus of getting him ready for this week and preparing with the guys who are in the building right now for Sunday.”


On the Browns alter their evaluation of Mayfield’s film with the understanding Mayfield is dealing with the shoulder injury with the balance of needing Mayfield to play well:

“It is a balance – it is for sure – but when it comes to grades, I grade hard on him. If he misses a ball, it is a minus-throw. Even if it is a drop and it is high, it is a minus-throw. Regardless of the circumstances, production has to still be there – obviously, understanding the circumstances.”


On if the Browns playing the second half of the 2020 season without Beckham helps the team prepare for similar adjustments, if Beckham is unavailable:

“Again, it is just the guys who are going to be there on Sunday. I have great confidence in that group of guys. We have done it before, and we will hopefully prove we can do it again.”


On if he believes Browns teammates support and have Mayfield’s back despite the situation that has unfolded:

“Absolutely. There is no question in my mind those guys will play well for Baker.”


On how Stefanski has navigated the situation and helped ensure it does not negatively impact the season:

“Kevin is the same guy every day, super consistent. Our gameplan meetings, we do meet a lot together, and I have not seen anything different from him from the aspect of gameplan for sure.”


On if there have been extra assurances with Mayfield about the team’s confidence in him:

“I do not think so. Again, just laser focused on the task at hand this Sunday.”


On WR Jarvis Landry having an uncharacteristic performance on Sunday and how Landry will respond this week:

“He will be fine. I have no problems with a couple of dropped balls. That is an anomaly for Jarvis. He is going to catch more than he is going to drop. Unfortunately, they came at a time when we needed it, but that is part of the game. I said in front of the group of guys, if we were at war, I would definitely take him in my foxhole all day long. He is a warrior. He is a stud. He will rebound just fine.”


On Landry’s focus this week, given his relationship with Beckham:

“He is a pro. He is going to turn it on. It is gameday and the lights come on, he is going to show up and make plays for us. He has to. That is what we are counting on him to do.”


On Landry being one of his own toughest critics and how that impacts Landry’s preparation this week:

“Again, Jarvis is a pro. He is going to do everything he can to play better this week – there is no doubt in my mind. I do not know what he could do different, but again, those drops were rare for him. That is something that I would never worry myself about. I know he will make the plays again when the time comes for him.”


On what the Bengals are doing differently on defense this year:

“Some different fronts. Different people is one thing. Some of the pressure packages, they are definitely bringing more pressure and more exotic zero, empty pressures where it is man to man and they are bringing one more than you can block. Those are things we will have to deal with. There are a lot of different looks, which is new for them and we have not seen from them last year.”


On how much former Browns and Bengals DT Larry Ogunjobi’s performance is showing up on film:

“Very, very obviously a good player. He does a lot of good things for them in their scheme and how they are using him. We know Larry. Hopefully, the familiarity will help in some regard for our O line.”


On how WR Donovan Peoples-Jones has looked in practice after returning from the groin injury:

“Good. We will see. He came out and did some work yesterday. Hopefully, we will get him more involved later as the week goes on. Obviously, hoping to have him ready for Sunday. A couple of weeks ago, I said, ‘Hey, we need you for the Bengals game because you do good things against the Bengals.’ Hopefully, we will have him ready for Sunday.”


On Peoples-Jones’ development during the season:

“He is still coming along. He is going to get better every week. We have seen him make all of the tough plays, the hard catches and the contested catches. We need to continue to see that growth.”


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