Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt (9.23.21)


On WR Odell Beckham Jr.’s status for Sunday:

“Obviously, take it up to game time, but hopefully, he will be able to make it this week. He has looked good so far in practice. We will see how he feels later in the week, but we are hoping.”


On establishing a pitch count for Beckham after not playing for 11 months:

“Just have to be smart. Those competitive guys like he is, they are going to want to be on the field a lot when the juices get flowing, but we just have to be smart. It is a long season, and he is just coming back so definitely have to be smart with his reps.”


On if he noticed QB Baker Mayfield forcing the ball to Beckham last season:

“That can happen at times. I do not know if we saw much of it, but that is one thing that we as quarterbacks can’t do. We have to run the system. First and foremost, that is the most important thing is to run the system. The ball will find him when it is time to find him, no question about that. Can’t expect him to come out and have a huge day the first time back. We just have to ease him back into it, if he does make it to the game. I think he is aware of that, as well as we are as coaches.”


On if it is up to the QB to manage not forcing the ball to specific players:

“Ultimately, yeah, that is obviously Baker’s decision where the ball goes, but the reads will take him there. When the read takes him there, that is when we will find O.”


On how much Beckham could help the Browns offense, particularly with WR Jarvis Landry on injured reserve:

“Big time. If he is available, that will be huge for us. Losing Jarvis is big – obviously his leadership role and a production role – so having people to fill in and take that space will only help us. Any time you get great players back on the field, it only makes you better for sure.”


On if Landry’s role as a security blanket for Mayfield needs to be taken by another WR:

“I do not know if you can fill Jarvis’ role with one person. It is kind of by committee. People are going to have to step up and play multiple spots for him. He is a huge leader for us. We rely on him to get things going at times. I do not know if one person can do that, but I know we have the people that can fill in. It might be multiple people taking that role.”


On if there is a go-to guy for third-down without Landry who Mayfield can rely on:

“I think (WR Rashard) Higgins, like you said, would be a guy that they obviously have faith in from the quarterback position. They have played a lot together, and they have a good feel for each other, yes. To ask Hig to come in and take the production role of Jarvis would be unfair to him.”


On if the Browns gameplan may be tightened with Mayfield battling a shoulder injury, given the team did so last week after the injury:

“Always want to protect your quarterback, whether he has been injured in the game or not – that is first and foremost. I do not think we have gone through this week saying we are going to change the way we approach our gameplan because of that. I think Baker will be OK. Ultimately, you want to protect your quarterback at all costs. We do that anyway each week. The game dictated how we finished that game. We were running the ball well there in the second half. I think we just leaned on the run because we could.”


On what he attributes Mayfield’s league-leading completion percentage to:

“Baker. Decision making. Accuracy. Everybody in the passing game. Really the spacing and timing. Being in the right place at the right time versus zone and winning and separating versus man, along with great protection upfront by the offensive line. We always talk about chasing completions in the quarterback room, and he is taking it to the task.”


On if Mayfield has thrown it more accurately than past years:

“Ball placement, decision making and living with the check-downs, all of those things combine to a higher completion percentage.”


On if there is a level of concern for WR Donovan Peoples-Jones only having a few targets thus far:

“He is doing great, no doubt. He has made big catches for us in Kansas City and got a big first down for us. He is going to find his spots to catch the ball. We do not really go in saying that these guys need to touch it so many times. (Head) Coach (Kevin Stefanski) calls the game how he sees it, and the ball finds the guy who is open.”


On if he has talked to WR Anthony Schwartz about the interception on Sunday:

“Yeah, definitely. It is tough. That is a trust throw for the quarterback. You are taking seven steps and letting it go on one hitch and expecting him to be there. I do not think he turned it down. We addressed it in front of the offense. I think he just has to be in that spot when the ball is supposed to be there. I do not know if the throw may have been a little bit high – we all take blame for it – but he will learn from it and get better because of it. I loved the fact that Baker trusted him, and he will continue to earn Baker’s trust when he makes those plays.”


On T Jack Conklin having a couple of holding penalties:

“Jack, that is going to happen. I am not worried about Jack at all. Jack is a true pro. He is a great right tackle for us, and you will have a play or two and everybody will have a play or two so I am not concerned at all.”


On the matchup between Conklin and Bears LB Khalil Mack this week:

“Jack has played them all. He has played well against good players. We expect Jack to come out and be productive. We obviously know what Mack is and who is he is. Part of our gameplan will have him in mind at times when we do things. We expect Jack to come out and block him one on one, and we will give him help when we can.”


On if he could have asked anything more out of RB Demetric Felton during the offensive debut:

“No, that was nice to see. He is a young guy who has done it the right way all the way through learning two positions, playing multiple positions in the receiver spot inside and outside and then really stepping up. That ball would have been Jarvis’ ball had Jarvis been in the game. He really did a nice job of stepping in. He is one of those guys we expect to take some of that production load off of with missing Juice out there obviously.”


On if he would be comfortable with Felton in the slot:

“I think that is one of his better positions when he plays inside. Like I said, it will be by committee how we fill that role.”


On what went through his mind when Felton made the spin move:

“Ball security. The biggest thing was ball security so that has been addressed this week. He has a target on his back. That ball was a little loose at times. Great job breaking tackles. We just have to do it with great ball security.”


On if it was not unexpected that T Jedrick Wills Jr. would potentially not finish the game last week:

“Yeah, we were ready. We were hoping he would get through. He got stiff there late in the game, but a huge step for Jed to step up and be available for his teammates. Really proud of the way he played. He fought through. The ankle was big and swollen, and he made it to gameday. Really proud of his effort to get back for his team.”


On if Wills will be ready to play on Sunday:

“We are hoping so. We will see. It is going to be a game-time decision I am sure. After last week, I would expect if he is feeling good, he will be ready.”


On if the Bears defensive scheme is a lot different from defenses faced in the first two weeks:

“They are. Obviously, a three-down team in base and that gives you a little different look. It is kind of (Broncos Head Coach) Vic Fangio-ish at times. That is who you see in it. They are good. They are talented – extremely talented. A lot of good players on that side of the football. Obviously, they put a lot of money into their defensive side, and it shows. They are good through the middle. They are good on the edge. It is a talented defense. It is going to be one of our biggest challenges offensively this week.”


On how much were the Bears defense in base against the Bengals last week:

“They usually matched so when they were in bigger people on offense, they matched it with their base defense. They do match. The thing about that was that they had three or four sacks, three interceptions, a forced fumble and I think it was nine QB hits. We have a great challenge ahead of us offensively.”


On if there is a lot more potential for the formation with three TEs:

“I would say we are probably one of the higher teams in three tight end sets in the league. We feel really good about our three tight ends every time you put them on the field.”


On if the Browns can do more with the three TE sets than what has been shown so far:

“Oh, yeah. I am sure there is some tons of stuff you can do with them. They are really good players for us, and we like to get those guys on the field when we can.”


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