Offensive Coordinator Alex Van Pelt (9.15.22)


On the significance of WR Donovan Peoples-Jones’ contested catches last week:

“Huge. He is a big guy, excellent hands. Really does a great job of making contested catches. Really strong to the ball. Those are some of the biggest plays of the game, and he won a game ball because of those plays he made in critical situations. Well deserved.”


On knowing what yard line the team needs to reach for a game-winning FG attempt:

“We like to make it a lot easier on him moving forward. We always talk about the 30-yard line just to be safe offensively. Really impressed by the young kicker (K Cade York) coming out and going 4-4 and banging the big one at the end. Do not want to put him in those positions often, but glad to know that he can make those.”


On how the Browns offense can correct missed opportunities from last week’s game:

“It is just repetition. Practice. Comfortability with each other. Obviously, the first game is a big game. The jitters are there for everybody. Regardless if you are a rookie or a 10-year pro, your juices are flowing. We missed a couple go-balls outside overthrowing them, and that is just the body has a lot of adrenaline and juice going. As we settle in and get more comfortable, I think we will hit those throws.”


On if it is a positive that the Browns had opportunities for deep passes last week, despite note being able to connect in Week 1:

“It is positive for sure. We created some separation in those situations, and we will connect with those moving forward hopefully.”


On WR Anthony Schwartz getting involved in the offense with end arounds and reverses:

“I think any time you can hand him the ball, it is a bonus for us with his speed to come around the corner on the reverses. It is a way to get touches for him, and I think it does get him settled into the game a little bit, ball in his hand and having him break tackles. I think it would be a calming factor for him just not having to make the big catch on the first play. We can hand it to you on the reverse and let you go to work there with your legs. Made a big play for us on the scramble drill in the game, which is really positive, and picked up a first down. Continue to improve with him.”


On changes that allowed RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to be on the field at the same time last week:

“Really just trying to put your best guys out on the field. Obviously, Kareem and Nick are two of our best players on offense. Philosophically, we did not put them out there a lot the last two years. Moving forward this time, if it helps our package and if that package of the two backs is beneficial for us offensively, we will go ahead and put those guys out there. Both individual runners are tremendous runners. If it is a mismatch for the defense, then it is something that we can use.”


On WR Amari Cooper saying the CB used significant outside leverage to cause an inside release on the deep incompletion and that the practice reps typically had Cooer releasing inside:

“We will make those plays. The corner actually fell down on the play. I do not know if (QB) Jacoby (Brissett) saw him fall down. He would have driven that ball a little flatter and more sudden to Amari quicker to him. Those are plays, we will just grow through those and expect to make them moving forward.”


On who Hunt reminds him of in terms of number of broken tackles:

“He has a little bit of (Pro Football Hall of Fame RB) Thurman Thomas in him. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, being able to stand up in protection and hold his own on protection and then run violently. I think that would be someone that he reminds me of.”


On if Hunt has improved with patience as a runner and if that is an ongoing point of emphasis:

“It is for sure. Obviously, we are a wide-zone team to start, and wide zone requires patience and really pressing the heels of your offensive linemen. That is something I know that (run game coordinator/running backs coach) Stump (Mitchell) has extensively talked about in that room. Do not want to take his aggressiveness out of his running style obviously – that is what makes him special – but he continues to get better every year.”


On pulling OL being  part of the Browns offensive scheme:

“It is a big part of our game, our pin-and-pull schemes where we are getting our guys out on the perimeter trying to cut the defense. It is a good complement to our wide-zone game. It is tough to prepare for both defensively.”


On how the Browns can create more opportunities for Cooper, given Cooper will face more attention from defenses as the No. 1 WR:

“Sure, obviously want to get him the ball. Like you said, he is our No. 1 guy. Did not get him as many balls as we would like, but he created three penalties by his play style in that game that were big plays. Got us down to the 1-yard line on a great double move. He is contributing. It may not be in the production of catches, but he played a big role in us winning that game on Sunday.”


On Browns Legend T Joe Thomas sharing appreciation that the team accepts him in the building and ability to help younger Browns players:

“Anytime you can rub shoulders or bounce ideas off a hall of famer, it is huge for any position group. Obviously, more than welcome to come in anytime, share his experiences and help the young guys. Like I said, anytime you can have a hall of famer in your room, you are obviously going to want that to happen.”


On if it is a point of emphasis to get TE David Njoku more targets and if the Panthers defense did something to limit Njoku’s production:

“I would not say that they did anything to take him out. They did not double-team him or anything like that. David’s production was huge in the game, not just on the catches but his ability to run block and what he does with his physicality is special. He is a big, big part of our success in the run game, as well. We will get him more involved. We had him on a down-the-field throw using his speed. The linebacker added on late and it was our only sack of the game, but he was running wide open and that would have been a huge play to David if we had got that pressure picked up.”


On NY Jets CB Sauce Gardner:

“Skilled. Obviously, he is long, has a lot of length, very athletic and very good in press man-to-man coverage. He is a guy who you have to respect out there. If you put somebody out on him and he is in press man, he does a really good job in that area of his game. Not going to shy away from anybody out there, but you just need to understand his skillset.”


On Chubb and Hunt playing together:

“Those guys are awesome. They are supermen to me. They are both just superheroes. It is really fun to watch them. They both loving playing with each other and for each other. They are very happy when the other is successful. It is a really cool thing to watch from the sideline and in practice.”


On if there is an art to balancing TEs skillsets in the run and pass game throughout the year :

“I think so. I think David takes pride in winning. However he can contribute, I think he will be happy. Obviously, he would like more touches. Any receiver or skill guys is going to want the ball in their hands. To me, he is a complete Y. He can run block. He can pass catch. He can run good routes. He brings a lot of value to this offense.”


On if he ever watched Thomas closely on the sideline when playing against each other in the past:

“To be completely honest with you, no. I never watch the offensive line. Usually you are scrambling. I couldn’t tell you what happened on Sunday’s game defensively. We were on the sideline trying to come up with the next series of plays and talking about issues that came up during the drive. I could not tell you who sacked what. We are really just locked in on our side of the ball.”


On takeaways from studying film of Thomas when prepping for opponents during Thomas’ playing days:

“Sure, that is different. He is just a master technician. Obviously, he did it at the highest level for a long time. The fundamentals that he has, you see that on tape when you watch the tape. Within the course of the game, very rarely do you get a chance to look out there and see the opponent’s offense.”


On the NY Jets run defense having success against the Ravens last week:

“Very, very good front. Very solid front. Very deep front. They rotate through. They will have eight guys play in those four spots in multiple reps throughout the course of the game so they keep them fresh. They are big. They are strong. They are a powerful group. It will be a great challenge for us. I talked about to our offense early in the week, this is going to be a really big challenge for us up front. They match up well and they have a good rotation so we are going to have to play our best game against that front.”


On if the NY Jets made a lot of personnel adjustments since last year:

“I think you are seeing some more guys come in and some different people come in. I think he is kind of getting the type of guy he wants in there to play up in the front. I know in that system the front is a big part of what happens on that defense. They are starting to stack up a lot of good players up there right now.”


On if anyone is as creative as the Brown’s running game right now, including with using both Chubb and Hunt on the field together and using G Michael Dunn as an extra OL:

“Those guys are all good run coaches. Obviously, I think (offensive line) Coach (Bill) Callahan is top of the business when it comes to offense line planning and game planning for opponents. He has run every scheme known to man in his career and knows when to call those plays and what defenses those style of plays fit. He is really good at the course of the game of recommending the next type of run that comes up. Real good communication between (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) and him on gameday. We are fortunate to have a great O line coach.”


On run game coordinator/running backs coach Stump Mitchell saying during training camp that any RB should average 5.0 yards per carry in the Browns offensive system and with this OL:

“I would like to think that we are pretty good up front when it comes to our schemes and what we are asking our guys to do. Trying to put them in the best position. Obviously, Mike Dunn coming in and playing tight end gives us a good chance there on the edge to hold down bigger defensive ends. We will use anybody that is available – Schwartzy and both guys in the backfield, at the same time. We will be creative, but we will always put our players in the best position to be successful.”


On LT Jedrick Wills Jr.’s performance in Week 1 an the challenge Wills faces in Week 2 against the NY Jets:

“That front is a good front up front. He will have a challenge this week. It is really not a game that goes by in the league where you are not challenged on that left tackle spot. Jed just has to keep playing consistent and want to dominate. When he wants to dominate, I think there is not many better tackles in the league than he is. He has it in his body. He just has to keep grinding it out. If he wants to be the best, I think there is a chance that he could be.”


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