Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt (12.31.21)

On QB Baker Mayfield’s mindset following last week’s Packers game and four interceptions and if there is some sense of relief given that there were potentially penalties on the two intended for WR Donovan Peoples-Jones:

“It is tough any time you throw four. You throw three or you throw one in a game, you feel terrible as a quarterback. The fact that there was potential PI on those, I guess you could asterisk it a little bit, but at the same time at the end of the day, we can’t turn the ball over, and he knows that as well as anybody. It is tough when you do. The thing you have to do is just shooters shoot. You have to keep shooting. His confidence will not waiver at all. You have to trust his decision making and not let that shake you up at all as a quarterback.”


On the balance between talking about the interceptions and not talking about it with the idea of not impacting Mayfield’s mindset:

“There is that fine line. You obviously address it after the game when you are making corrections and then you move on. That is how you have to think as a quarterback, too. How do I get better from it? Then I have to put it at the back of my mind and know how I am going to play better moving forward because of it.”


On if the Browns are able to do any additional drills specifically to help Mayfield getting acclimated to the harness on the left, non-throwing shoulder without overcompensating for it:

“It definitely shows. It has definitely handcuffed him a little bit with his ability to get that left side out of the way. There are a couple of things that are unique to his throwing style that he does and he is successful doing it. Those are technique things. Yeah, we can work on those. Hopefully, next year without the harness, you will see Baker back to normal with his normal throwing mechanics. It is definitely something that has hindered him. He has fought through. We have a lot of respect for the fact that he has battled through that, and we know he is injured. That is where I will leave that. Yeah, there are some things you can do to help him there. We have tried those, as well.”


On if the Browns have been mindful of not wanting to do too much as it relates to Mayfield’s mechanics with the shoulder harness, understanding Mayfield likely will not need it next season, including as it relates to footwork:

“His feet have been really good. That is not really the issue right now. I think it is just him finding a way to be functional with that brace on.”


On Mayfield mentioning footwork on the red zone interception pass last week and the development of Mayfield’s footwork overall during the past two seasons:

“It has gotten really good. I would not say it was his best game from a footwork standpoint last week. A lot of that is the fact that he had not practiced for two weeks, and I think you kind of fall back into some old habits unless you are doing it daily. That was addressed, and moving forward, I know that is an area of emphasis for us is to get the feet back to being a good base, good, sound and stepping up in those pockets. He just happened to step wrong and kind of came off balance on the one red zone interception. For the most part, he has done a great job since we got here of adapting to this footwork, and it showed great rewards. Unfortunately on that one, it was not his best drop and set.”


On what he appreciates most about Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger’s career:

“I think the biggest thing is just his consistency. Rarely is he going to miss a game. He plays hurt. He plays for his teammates. He has been a great leader for that organization and a great player for a lot of years. I have a lot of respect for Ben. Being from Pittsburgh and being a Pittsburgh guy, so to speak, I do get home and I see a lot of news over the summer when I am home and back Pittsburgh. I have always kind of followed him from afar. I have a lot of respect for his game.”


On if there is some sense of relief as a coach that he likely will not have to prepare to face Roethlisberger in the future:

“Definitely, definitely (laughter). He is a Hall of Fame player, and if that is the case next year – if it is the case; it is hard to tell – it will be good for the Browns.”


On if Mayfield’s left, non-throwing shoulder injury and harness have affected Mayfield longer and more than anticipated:

“I do not think it is something that you would say, ‘Hey, can you put me in a harness and let me go out and play?’ If we had the choice and if he had the choice, obviously, he would not have it on. It is like anything else, if I hurt my right hand, eventually I start to learn how to eat with my left using the fork. I would rather eat with my right hand. It has, I am sure, affected him. You try to downplay it as much as possible. He does still make really good throws with it on, but obviously to not have it on would be beneficial.”


On if Mayfield’s shoulder harness has affected Mayfield more than the shoulder injury itself:

“I think the harness is because of the injuries.”


On if there is a concern Mayfield will have to rebuild mechanics when the shoulder harness is no longer needed:

“No, I do not think so. I think that will come very naturally. It will come back very quickly.”


On Pro Football Hall of Fame WR and ESPN analyst Randy Moss saying Peoples-Jones should have had a different technique and run harder to get to the ball that was intercepted in the fourth quarter:

“I have a lot of respect for Randy Moss. Obviously, he was a great player in this league, a Hall of Famer. I think the fact that the guy was interfered with and pulled at the last second did not allow Donovan to come out of the cut with the intensity that Randy is speaking of. It was that last little tug that got him.”


On why the Browns have struggled running against the Steelers defense despite the Steelers currently ranking 32nd in run defense this season:

“They are good up front, there is no question. (Steelers DT) Cam Heyward is one of the best in the league to watch – exceptional. No. 56 (Steelers LB Alex Highsmith) is a great player. They have some great players up front, and they do some good things. Our run game has been hit and miss for whatever reason against this crew. That is something that we have addressed, especially during our bye week, is having to run the ball better against this opponent.”


On WR Rashard Higgins’ performance last week, if Higgins can be relied on more for the remainder of the season and why Higgins has not had as much production earlier in the season:

“I think we can definitely rely on Higgy. He is a guy who just shows up and makes the plays when they come to him for the most part. I know he and Bake have a really good feel for each other, especially when it comes onto the field. I can see him stepping up here for us in the run here as we get down through these last few games of playing well. I do not know if it was anything he did during the course of the year that has not allowed him to be as productive, but I do know when his number is called, he makes plays for us.”


On what the Browns have specifically done to help Mayfield with mechanics while wearing the shoulder harness:

“I am not going to get into mechanics and technique. I apologize, but there is a lot of stuff that we try to work on, and it is just quarterback talk. You can just see in his mechanics down that left side gets stuck in there at times, and it is a struggle for him at times.”


On if the Browns have had to make adjustments related to Mayfield’s shoulder harness that they would not have done otherwise:



On how WR Jarvis Landry is doing now and if it was challenging for Landry to recover from the knee injury:

“I definitely think it was. I think we are seeing Juice playing at a higher level now than he was earlier in the year because he is healthier at this point, and the knee definitely was something that bothered him early on.”


On if Landry slipped on the route during one of Mayfield’s interceptions against the Packers:

“Yeah, he slipped. That is a field there… One thing I will tell you, I was really proud of those guys for a field when you go in and play there, it is extremely slippery, and if you do not wear the right shoes, you are in trouble. Our guys made the effort to put on the most uncomfortable shoe that you can wear, which are the seven-studs with long cleats. I think we counted four guys that slipped. That was one of them. He was trying to put on the brakes to come back to the ball on the interception, but I do not think that is what caused it.”


# # #