Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt (8.26.21)

On how the Browns offense is clicking:

“Good. We have had some good days for sure. There is still a lot of work to be done before we start but feel good about where we are at. I think everybody coming back is a benefit for us understanding the system and having the same guys back and the communications is the game. That has been really positive.”


On how different this training camp has been as it relates to tempo, duration and not necessarily having the full starting 11 offensive players available at the same time:

“It is nothing compared to the old-school camps that I have been involved with (laughter). It has been good. Having the guys back out there, there will be some guys that will work on the side – like (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.), he is working his butt off. He may not be out there in the team drills, but we are getting extra work on the side with him to get him ready for the season.”


On if he has ever had all 11 offensive starters back before in his career:

“Not that I can recall. This is a first. If I did, it was a while ago. It is a good feeling to have everybody back.”


On if no playtime in preseason has an effect on players’ regular season performances:

“Everybody has their own philosophy on it. Some guys play a lot. Some guys do not play. Obviously, you do not win a championship in the preseason if you go undefeated. Keeping your guys healthy for the season is important. I have been on both sides of that as a coach where we did not play guys and they performed well in the opener and the first part of the season, and we played guys that have played well. I do not think there is a science to it. I think it is a personal preference from coach.”


On the continuity on the Browns coaching staff:

“It is great because last year we all came in and we were all learning the system together and piecing it together whereas this year we come in and our foundation has been set and now we are just trying to grow in our system. It has been really nice to have everybody back.”


On how QB Baker Mayfield’s offseason conditioning has translated to the field:

“He has done a great job. He has done an outstanding job of getting his body ready. He did last year, as well. It shows up in his quickness and his conditioning to go through all the drill work and not be winded. He is in a really good place. His footwork right now has improved over last year. You think about last year of having to learn the footwork as opposed to this year being able to refine it. He has made leaps and bounds in that way. Especially under center with what we ask him to do in the drop-back game from under center, he has made big strides.”


On if Mayfield’s fitness and conditioning help with elusiveness in the pocket:

“Absolutely. He did a lot of great things with his legs for us last year – picked up a lot of first downs where we had to move out of the pocket and pick it up with his legs. That is part of being in great condition is having that ability to pick up the first down and then come back to the huddle and be able to operate the system without being exhausted.”


On how Mayfield can improve in his second year in the Browns offensive system:

“Just a fuller understanding of what we are trying to accomplish on offense, and then just taking what he did the end of the season last year and then rolling that over into this season. That is our mentality. It starts with turnovers – we do not turn the ball over. He made great strides at the end of the year with that. Just carrying that over and keeping that mindset – protect the football and protect the team.”


On if there was anything specifically emphasized for Mayfield to work on this offseason:

“Not particularly. Footwork continued to improve on, which he did throughout the summer through his workouts. Probably just a better protection understanding, which we felt pretty good towards the end of the year, but we can always improve in those areas.”


On if it is surprising how efficient QB Kyle Lauletta has looked:

“Kyle does a great job. He works his butt off in practice. When he gets his opportunity, he has made the most of it for sure. He looked really good down in Jacksonville and had great control of the offense, and he is continuing to make plays for us.”


On how excited he is to see Beckham fully back in the offense, given the team’s performance during the second half of the year when Beckham was unavailable due to injury:

“Anytime you can add an elite athlete and a great played like Odell back, it is only going to make you better. I said that in the spring. We are doing a lot of work on the side. I know we are not getting the timing in the team settings, but there is a lot of timing work going on in between periods and the special teams work and he is over on the side. We have done some things with game scripts where we have actually scripted the series of plays for him to get him conditioning, and then the individual routes on air with Baker has been really good work for us. We will continue that.”


On if Mayfield’s comfort in the scheme is going to help his connection and timing with Beckham:

“I definitely think so. I think they are in a really good place right now as far as their mind space. All of the work they did in the offseason and spending time together, just continuing to build that bond. Hopefully, that will show this year on the field.”


On if it takes longer for certain QBs and WRs to develop chemistry:

“Sure, I think the biggest thing is just consistency – consistency in route depth and consistency in route running techniques. Once the quarterback has that vision of what that looks like, then he can play faster and anticipate getting the ball out quicker because he knows exactly what is going to happen. We always preach consistency – be at the right depth and use the right techniques, and the quarterback now you can easily pick up the body language and it starts building that rapport with your receivers.”


On if one-on-one reps help build that chemistry between QB and WR:

“That is huge. That is huge. Absolutely.”


On WR Donovan Peoples-Jones’ training camp:

“He came back this year with a lot of confidence. I think last year early on, it was not there, and he was still trying to learn the system and learn what his role was. After the success, he had through last season and see him come back and have a great camp, he is a guy who has great position flexibility. You can plug him in at all three spots of the wide receivers, and he knows exactly what to do. He has had a really good camp and really proud of him.”


On how important is for a player like Peoples-Jones make a significant jump from Year 1 to Year 2:

“It is huge, and usually, you see that from Year 1 to Year 2. Year 1, eyes are big, and they are rookies trying to figure out what the NFL games is like and then they have some success and then they build on that. That is what has shown with Donovan.”


On the competition in the WR room and how difficult it will be to determine who makes the 53-man roster:

“It is going to be tough. You have guys that have done well. Like you said, we do have good depth out there at the receiver position. We have guys who have played in games and we have trusted to make plays for us, and they have come through. It is a battle that continues, but it is a good problem to have as a coach. You would rather have guys that you are struggling under whether they make it or not as opposed to trying to find guys to fill your roster. That group always works hard, and they are doing a great job.”


On why it is ‘huge’ that Mayfield and Beckham are practicing with one-on-one routes on air and if it is a big jump to make the transition to full-team reps:

“It is, but again I go back to the body language, the technique of the route running, the depth and just being in the right place at the right time and having the timing with the quarterback’s feet. That you can get on air. Obviously, it ramps up when you are in a team setting, but you put all of those reps in at practice, that muscle memory takes over, and hopefully, you come out on the same page.”


On if he expects Beckham to be ready for Week 1:

“I hope so. We all are hoping for that. Not sure where that is going right now, but he looks really good. He is running well. He is coming in out of his breaks. He is cutting well. Hopefully, we can get him up there for the opener.”


On what has impressed him the most about Beckham:

“Always his work ethic. His ability to go out and do anything you ask him to do. We stressed him on it last week with some of those series drives, and he responds. The guy will just do anything you ask for him. He wants to be great, and he works at it. That is all of those guys who are great players. They all have that work ethic, and he does.”


On if he expected Beckham would be able to run and cut as well as he did in the spring:

“I was excited. Very excited to see him when he got back because he was in the shape that he was in.”


On how different the Browns offense can look compared to last year due to the consistency of the coaches and players:

“We felt like we did some good things offensively so we will continue to be better in those areas. At the same time, we are always creating and always coming up with new scheme and new plays to counter off of our core play. That is always evolving.”


On if the Browns’ offensive identity is still to run the ball and run play-action passes off of it:

“That is who we are. Yes, absolutely. Now the wrinkles might be a little different off of that, but that is our foundation.”


On how the Browns offense can counter opponents making adjustments to what the team did well last season:

“It is all counter punch and punch. If they are playing the keepers, then we should be running the football. If they are playing the run, then we should be keeping it and running action. It is choose your poison defensively. We are ready. We have the punching ability, and we have the counter punch ability.”


On if he has talked to Beckham about having him in the AFC Divisional against Kansas City as a motivational factor, given Beckham has said he wished he could have been there to help:

“No. As a coach, you go out and you play with who is there. It is tough. You can’t look, hope and wish, but I know he would have helped us had he been there.”


On how Beckham can raise the ceiling of the Browns offense:

“I just think the biggest thing is for all of us, him included, is just do not press. Let it come to you, and it will. Just go out and do your job every single snap, be where you are supposed to be and the ball will find you.”


On how much better T Jedrick Wills Jr. can be in Year 2:

“Great. That is a good question. I have seen great improvement by him. Another guy who was a rookie with big eyes, getting great coaching from (offensive line) Coach (Bill) Callahan and (assistant offensive line) Coach (Scott) Peters and then basically finding a way to get through the season, being available for a lot of it and playing left tackle for us and then Year 2 coming back, understanding what is expected of him and understanding the areas that he needs to improve and he has looked really good.”


On if the biggest jump for Wills in Year 2 is in the run game:

“Yeah, I think so. I think some of the point of attack run has been an emphasis working with him. Coach Peters again and Coach Callahan do a great job with that group. They target what needs to be worked on, and they are definitely working their butts off at it.”