Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt (9.16.21)


On WR Anthony Schwartz having a ‘nearly perfect game’ after not having any mental errors on Sunday:
“He did. He is on top of his game for sure. That is one of his areas of strength is his intelligence and his ability to study and learn the plays. We are really glad to see him make those plays. You see the speed on the field, and he will continue to get better as the season goes along.”


On how much of Schwartz’ role last week was filling in for WR Odell Beckham Jr.:

“There was a fair amount of that for sure. We needed to have that. He came in, he was scheduled to play a fair amount anyway and then with Odell being inactive before the game, it just upped his reps.”


On incorporating Schwartz with the TEs ends and one WR in formation and if one aspect of the thinking is there is an opportunity for a deep shot if they do not give Schwartz enough attention:

“Absolutely. That is a way to get guys in. A lot of times, we will give personnel groupings to a certain receiver just to split reps and keep everybody fresh. That is kind of part of that, too, but it does give us the ability to go and have him take the top off when we need to.”


On WR Rashard Higgins getting four snaps on offense:

“That was it. He was our fourth receiver going in. We played a lot of three receiver sets, and he came in and spelled guys when the time was right. His play will increase as the year goes along, as well. He was coming back from a little injury and a little tightness early and a couple of weeks back. Just getting him back into the groove now.”


On if the team is preparing to go for it on fourth down when the opportunity arises:

‘Yeah, recently with all of the analytics, it tells you your percentages to go for it have come up a ton. With something we work a lot of, we understand that if we do not convert on third down or if we get into a fourth and manageable, we will have a tendency to go for it more often than not.”


On evaluating the Browns OL on film:

“I love those guys. There is no doubt. They are true pros. They master their craft. It is great to see it when it all comes together on a gameday. They played really well.”


On how much it helps to have solid OL across the starters:

“A ton. Obviously, those guys play well together. To be able to feel like we can drop back and not worry about pass rush as much as other places I have been at times, it is comforting, and what they do in the run game is really impressive.”


On if the Browns staff was surprised that Schwartz had a ‘near perfect game’ in his NFL debut:

“No, we expect all of our guys to play well. That is how we practice. That is why we prepare them. It was good to see that it was not too big for him. He came up right out of the gate and made a big catch on a crossing route that converted for us on a third down, and that just got his day started. Happy that he played well obviously, and there are areas for improvement for all of the guys. It was perfect maybe form the outside, but there are always ways to get better with technique and route running. He will continue to grow.”


On if QB Baker Mayfield was a splint second away from avoiding Chiefs S Daniel Sorenson:

“It was close. That is part of the deal. It is close but no cigar in that situation. A tough spot. Obviously, he wishes he could get that ball in the third [row], over the head or something, and it just happened to stay in bounds.”


On if T Chris Hubbard or T Jedrick Wills Jr. are expected to return at LT this week:

“I do not know honestly. I know we are getting (G) James (Hudson III) ready to go right now so I am not sure what happens on gameday. We will play whoever is available obviously, and we will expect them to play well, regardless of rookie or not.”


On if Hudson was ‘up and down’ during the preseason:

“He is getting better. He is definitely an arrow pointed up guy. All of the work he has put in already from the day he got here rookie minicamp, he has had one-on-one practice with (offensive line) Coach (Bill) Callahan and (assistant offensive line) Coach (Scott) Peters. He is going to continue to get better. He is a guy who I am excited to see, if he does get a chance to play this week, to see how he responds to a real NFL game.”


On if he ever tried to get out ahead on a few run plays to make some blocks when he played QB like Mayfield did on Sunday:

“Oh yeah, that is part of it. That is the love of the game, and that is Baker. I challenge him all of the time to be the first one down there to pick the backs up. He does a great job at it, and sometimes you get involved. If the play cuts back and you are on a bootleg fake, sometimes you can get out in front and help the runners.”


On if it is tough to get the offense going again after barely having the ball in the third quarter, despite being successful in the first half:

“It should not be. It seemed liked it was. I think the momentum shifted there a little bit. The crowd got louder. They responded with the scores and pulled it back close. It should not, but it does sometimes. We have to overcome that. That was a big lesson for us last week. It is two times now that we have had the ball with the opportunity to win at the end of the game, and we did not do it. Our growth will come from that.”


On TE David Njoku’s ability to stretch the field and how that impacts the Browns offense:

“He is fabulous. He has been great since training camp. His ability to run is elite. We have to find ways to help him stretch the field for us. It is fun when you get him in there and you have a chance to run away from somebody. There are not many guys in those bigger positions that can keep up with David.”


On indications Njoku is in a difference place mentality this year, given Njoku has said that is the case:

“His practice habits, I think, are a lot better than they were last year. Understanding the role he is playing. I think David could be a dominant player at the tight end position, both in the run game and the pass game. I think he sees that now, and he is understanding how we are going to use him and help him be better.”


On if Njoku’s development factors into the Browns using three TE sets:

“Yeah, I feel really good about our three tight ends – we do as a group, and I know (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) does – to be able to find ways to get them open in the pass game and then use their ability in the run blocking to keep teams off balanced.”


On the impact of having a fully healthy WR Jarvis Landry:

“I would take 11 Jarvis’s out there. He is a pro’s pro. He is as tough as they come. He generally gets us sparks. If we need something to get going, we try to find a way to get Juice involved because we know he is going to make it happen. His ability to run after the catch, the run on the sweep for the touchdown, I do not know if many guys are going to be able to do that, but his toughness he brings, his leadership and his love for the game, it is infectious.”


On Landry’s spin moves:

“I would not expect it, but from Jarvis, you never know what you are going to get. I know he is going to do everything he can in his power to get into that end zone.”


On Landry joking he was protecting his QBR when he decided not to throw the ball with the option and the team trusting Landry with the ball:

“Yes, we will give him every opportunity to make the plays when we dial those plays up, but we also know that he is going to make a great decision to protect us at the same time.”


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