Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt (12.15.21)

On if the team has to make significant adjustments or eliminate personnel groupings with the uncertainty of who will be available due to the players currently on the reserve/COVID-19 list:

“It is kind of like the injury scenarios where a guy is questionable going into the game. You definitely have to plan for it. You have to have backup plans for personnel groupings and play types, as well. Yes, we definitely have thought through that.”


On confidence in QB Case Keenum, if QB Baker Mayfield is unavailable this week, along with potentially several other Browns offensive players:

“I have the utmost confidence in Case. He is really a true pro. We are very lucky to have him. He is a guy who can come in and win one game or a bunch of games for you. He has shown that in the past. Regardless of who he is out there with, we know that the moment will not be too big for him. He has been there before. He will be calm and collected and be a great leader for us if he does play on Saturday.”


On the challenge in preparing a gameplan with so many moving parts heading into the game:

“That is the world we live in right now. We were exposed to it last year, and we functioned well in it so feel confident that we can do that again. All we can really focus on is today and getting the group of guys who are going to be available to us today and getting them taught up. The other guys will have to be virtual, but if they are available, that is great. Right now, it is about today and getting this group ready for our ‘Thursday practice’ of third downs, pressures and whatnot.”


On the possibility that the Browns will be unable to have a full practice tomorrow:

“It is what it is, and we will roll with the punches. I am confident that we will have this group – whoever is available – they will be ready, and they will give it their best effort on Saturday. If we get to practice, great. If we do not, great. We are going to go out and play and play our butts off like we always do.”


On how much last year’s experience prior to the AFC Divisional Round against the Steelers will help the team with this week’s preparation and potential gameday assignments:

“It definitely helped, obviously, going through it once before. It makes it a little easier the second time. Hopefully, Kevin can get back for Saturday. If not, I have been there before, I do not feel like it is too big for me, as well, and I can go in and help this team win. We gameplan together. This is a collective group offensively, regardless of who will be there. Hopefully, Kevin can make it.”


On how Mayfield seems after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and everything Mayfield has experienced this season:

“Disappointed. Again, it is what it is. There is nothing we can do about it at this point. We just have to roll with the punches. I told him if you are not back this week, I expect you to coach me up on Green Bay’s defense next week. We just keep moving forward one day at a time. That is the mindset here.”


On Keenum’s mobility:

“You saw him against Denver run for a big first down down in the red zone so he still has the ability to use his legs for sure. Case, there is not going to be anything that they show him that surprises him. His experience level and his ability to see defense and see what is coming, that will help him a lot, as well. He plays on time with the ball. He will get that ball out of his hands. He can still move enough and plenty fine to obviously pick up a first down when we needed it against Denver.”


On QB Nick Mullens:

“Nick is another guy who has played football in the NFL and has had success. The work he has put in with (offensive assistant) T.C. McCartney on the side, they go through the same script as Baker would on a practice day. I know he works hard in the film room and on the side at practice – stays out after practice and gets opportunities with the other guys. If something were to happen and we needed Nick to show up, I have confidence in him, as well. I know he has put the work in, and he has had success in the league, as well.”


On if there is anything specific he would like to improve from last year’s AFC Divisional Round game against the Steelers if acting as the offensive play caller for this Saturday’s game:

“Not really. Having the confidence to go in, and if I have to call it, call it as closely as I would if Kevin was there. Like I said last year, I do not want him to say, ‘What the hell is he doing?’ That is my goal. That blueprint has worked for us. We just need to stay consistent. I love our plan this week. I love the focus. Regardless of whether we are in the building or not, the guys are locked in. I feel good going into Saturday.”


On the mood of Browns players in the building:

“It is the second time going through it so it is nothing new for us. We lived it last year. I think that experience from those guys who were all involved, it is constantly moving. It is a moving target of who is available. There is still probably more to come moving down the road, unfortunately. That is where we are right now today. We will see, but there is no panic. This group will be ready to play regardless of who is calling it or who is out there.”


On the communication between the coaching staff with Stefanski not in the building:

“Kevin is in every meeting obviously. He is as virtual as everybody else. He comments throughout the course of the installations and the meetings. He is a part of it just like he is in the room.”


On if Stefanski will be on the phone during walkthrough or practices, if the team is able to practice tomorrow:

“I am not really sure how that works. Could not tell you to be honest with you.”


On the Browns OL this week with several members of the unit currently on the reserve/COVID-19 list:

“With the two guys who will be plugged into those spots, they have played playoff football for us and started in games that we have won in the playoffs. I am confident in their ability. Very smart guys. Tough guys. (Offensive line) Coach (Bill) Callahan will have those guys ready, I am certain about that.”


On if Gs Blake Hance and Michael Dunn will start this week:

“Could be, yeah.”


On how game planning changes following the recent additions to the reserve/COVID-19 list:

“You have to be smart. Obviously, you have to know who your guys are and what they do well and play to their strengths. It is no different than game planning for any other group of players who you have available. We have been in this situation many times, not just through COVID but injuries. Injuries happen throughout the course of the year. Have lost whole sides of the offensive line for extended periods of time. That is part of life in the NFL. It just happened to be COVID that got us this time.”


On determining what to do at TE this week, depending on who is available:

“There are still some healthy bodies out there that will be active on gameday so if we need a big body in there, we have a few available.”


On if the Browns need to significantly change the offense this week with the uncertainty of who may be available at TE:

“I thought we changed the offense significantly last week without those guys. We are flexible, and we are adaptable. We are going to put the best groupings out there that we can.”


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