Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt (12.9.21)

On if he has lobbied QB Baker Mayfield to submit a Heisman Trophy vote for QB Kenny Pickett of Pitt, where he also played QB in college:

“I would be all in favor for that. I thought he did a heck of a job this year. He had a great career and obviously a great year. Obviously, really happy for him and Pitt.”


On if he has seen the Browns offense ‘reinvigorated’ in practice after the bye week:

“Yeah, you can definitely feel the energy. I think the guys needed that week to regroup and refresh. We really challenged them to recommit the last five games at least of the season. You can definitely see it in practice. The guys are flying around. They are very attentive. They are excited to get back to work.”


On if the team started to run of out of gas heading into the bye week, given TE Austin Hooper’s comments earlier this week, and the bye week coming at a good time to help the team recharge and refresh:

“It does. Obviously, that is a long time to go without a bye week. It is tough, but teams have gone through it obviously. Somebody had the bye this week, too. It is part of the deal. We got the bye late so guys were tired, and that is natural. The week off, like I said, I think it will help.”


On the challenge the Ravens defense presents with their ability to load the box and send different pressure packages:

“That is a definite issue that they present, and they do a great job with it. I said the last time before we played them that I think they are one of the best in the league at attacking your protections. They are going to present it, whether they bring it or not, but you still have to be ready for it. It is all film study, a lot of walkthrough time and just kind of studying their tendences and having answers if they do bring it, and obviously, having answers if they drop out. We spend a lot of time on that area, and we feel confident about it.”


On if RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt were impacted prior the Ravens game after missing time earlier in the season:

“That is tough to say. I would hope now they are ready to go. I am sure it is different. I have never pulled my calf and I have not had COVID yet. I assume they are as healthy, ready and fresh as they have been since the start of the season.”


On TE David Njoku being on the reserve/COVID-19 list, TE Harrison Bryant being out this week and the plan for the TEs against the Ravens:

“That is a common problem throughout the league. A lot of teams face it through injury and through COVID. It is challenging for the staff really to get a plan together and to get your best guys on the field. David was doing a really nice job and has done a nice job for us this season. Anytime you take a piece of that production out, you have to find a way to replace that production. Hopefully, we get him back ASAP, and we find somebody to take up that production while he is gone.”


On other teams stacking the box against the Browns offense and the balance of sticking with the run and taking advantage of what the defense is showing:

“There is a fine line. We still have two great runners and really three. I feel really good about that group of guys. I have seen many times where there is a free runner or a free guy in the hole and Nick or Kareem will make him miss or run him over. That is part of the deal when you load the box. The other part is we have to use our play-action game and our run-action game to get them back out of the box there and get back into shell. It is a combination of sticking with the run and trusting our guys are going to break tackles and make guys miss, even he is unblocked. We believe in those guys.”


On the teams low ranking in passing TD this season and if the Browns WRs are getting enough separation:

“Separation is tough. We have played some good corners lately. (Ravens CB Marlon) Humphrey is exceptional. A lot of that has to do with route techniques. We do practice it. We have to do a better job of scheming, as well, as coaches to present different looks and use those guys to get them open versus man. The touchdowns, we are running the ball when we get down in the red zone. We have not been down there nearly as of late. I think that is our struggles in the field and converting on third down. We have highlighted a lot of areas through our self-scout that we need to improve, things we do well and continue to do well, and really have to get more chances down there in the red zone. As far as the touchdown passes, those will come.”


On his confidence in the Browns plan at RT this week with T Jack Conklin out:

“We will have a great plan. I know whoever will be in there will be ready to go. Jack, obviously, disappointed for him. I know how much he wanted to get back and help this team win down the stretch so that is disappointing for him. He will be back and healed over the next year. Whoever steps in over there and if (G) Blake (Hance) continues to play, he is going to do a great job. We expect the best effort of each guy who goes in. Next man up mentality. We are fortunate we still have four of our five starters.”


On if T James Hudson III has improved since early in the season when starting at RT:

“I have watched James for a long time since he first got here. I know he has gotten a lot of instruction from (offensive line) Coach (Bill) Callahan and (assistant offensive line) Coach (Scott) Peters. If he plays Sunday at all, I know he will be ready. He will be coached up and ready to go for sure. He has improved. Cannot help to improve when you get that kind of coaching one on one for as long as he has had it now.”


On if WR Jarvis Landry’s morale has been affected since former Browns and LA Rams WR Odell Beckham, Jr. was released:

“No. I see the same Juice now as I saw. Obviously, the week that it went down, it was a little bit different for him I am sure, but he is still the same pro that we saw obviously in the last two years.”


On if Landry’s knee injury have impacted performance:

“You would have to ask him. I am not going to talk about injuries. I know when he is ready to go on Sunday, he is ready to go, and we are glad to have him.”


On QB Baker Mayfield needing the rest of the bye week and how Mayfield has looked physically in practice this week:

“Yeah, definitely. The fact that he came and practiced on Monday and Wednesday this week is an indication he is feeling a lot better.”


On how the Browns can get WR Rashard Higgins on the field and more production:

“He has been productive for us in his time. I think he and Baker have a good rapport. If at all possible, we would love to have him up and dressed. Obviously, that is dictated by other things.”


On how to create more explosive plays with several inured players on offense:

“You have to find different ways to do it. It may not be through the vertical game. It could be run after catch. There are a lot of different ways to be explosive, not just going deep on each play. We definitely need to find more ways. We had some explosive plays the last time we played these guys, and we need more.”


On TE Miller Forristall:

“I have been impressed with him. He has done a really nice job. Obviously, we have not seen a lot of live action from him. He was not here for training camp. That is just the thing we will see if he gets in there. Again, next man up mentality for us.”


On the possibility of playing Chubb and Hunt on the field at the same time:

“You can. Obviously, we can do anything. In the system, it has the ability to do that. I think we feel really comfortable using those guys as the one-two punch and keeping both of those guys fresh throughout the game so we have strong runners in the fourth quarter.”


On if there is a negative of having both Chubb and Hunt on the field at the same time, given the Browns have not done it during the past two seasons:

“I do not really think there are many negatives. Again, I think it is the way we played here in the last year and a half, and we feel good about having both of those guys splitting reps and being fresh through the course of the game and to end the season for that matter.”


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