Offensive Coordinator Alex Van Pelt (9.9.21)


On if the media will have to wait until Sunday to see if WR Odell Beckham Jr. will play in the game:

“I think at this point, that is where we are right now. He is out here in practice and does some good things. It is just wait until the end of the week to see where he stands.”


On QB Baker Mayfield stating some people forget about Beckham’s speed and if that was something the team was excited to see with Beckham returning from the season-ending knee injury:

“Yeah, he definitely still has it. There is no question. He is powerful and explosive when he starts to run, and he digs in. He can fly. Having that speed back on the field, we are looking forward to that.”


On how the speed of Beckham and WR Anthony Schwartz benefits an offense:

“It does. It definitely helps. You can’t play short on those guys or they can run right past you, and that is always a threat. That is something that we have in our offense is the ability to go right by you, as well. It definitely helps when you have multiple people who can do that.”


On if WR Donovan Peoples-Jones has been able to continue to ramp up the role on offense and taking reps with the team:

“Definitely. The last few weeks, he has definitely been more involved. Hopefully, he feels well and everything goes smoothly and stays positive for this weekend.”


On if the Chiefs defense is underrated:

“Absolutely, that is a good defense.”


On the strengths of the Chiefs defense:

“They have been together for a long time. There is a lot of defense in that system, and there is a lot of scheme. Coach Spags (defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo) has done a great job. He is a guy who likes to pressure, and they bring a lot of different looks with a lot of different people. I think it is a very underrated defense.”


On the benefits for Beckham to get some one-on-one work off to the side of practice, including catching passes from Mayfield:

“It has been great working on the side. Anytime you can bank those reps, just the rhythm, the timing and the feel of when the receivers are coming out of their breaks with the quarterback, you can’t get enough of that. It does not always have to be in a team setting ultimately, but we did a lot of that work on the side. I think those two feel really good about where they are and their chemistry right now.”


On if Schwartz has had enough reps in training camp and the preseason to contribute on offense in Week 1 and has enough grasp of the offense, given Schwartz missed some time with injury:

“I think he does. He is a smart guy. I know he studies his butt off. Rarely makes mistakes. In the last few weeks, he has been out there enough. I feel comfortable putting him in and asking him to contribute in this game.”


On the Chiefs’ ability to get out to an early lead and the pressure it puts on opposing offenses to where they are having to try and catch up:

“That is true. That is a very explosive offense. They have a lot of weapons obviously, and they have a great quarterback. We are not playing that offense, though. That is our mindset coming in. We have to take care of our drives, we have to take care of the football and we have to end with drives in the end zone – that is preferable. If we end with a kick, that is not bad, whether it is a field goal or a punt. We just have to protect that football, not turn it over and not worry about their offense and just worry about our execution.”


On how much the Browns have worked on their operation and communication after not playing in front of full stadiums in 2020, particularly given Arrowhead Stadium has a great reputation:

“It does have a great reputation. It is something that we have definitely addressed with our crowd noise since minicamps and OTAs. It is definitely something we are expecting. It is part of the environment. We have to be able to play, function and have clean operation within our system, regardless of what the situation is. We are definitely aware of it, and we are excited to get a chance to operate in a full stadium this year.”


On the benefits of having continuity on offense and an offensive identity to where the team can refine items in Year 2:

“It is always great when you come back into the same system. Last year, we were kind of feeling our way through. The pandemic did not help with no practices in the OTAs. That was tough to put in a system virtually. The bumps in the road early, we expect those to be smoothed out this year moving forward. We do have a group that understands what we are trying to accomplish. We have a quarterback now who is in the second year of the system and understands more of the reads and the progressions, and he has been great all spring and in this camp. We are excited. We have a great group of guys. That is probably the biggest thing of that offensive group. I love them all. They are all professionals and good people who work their butts off so I am excited about the future of this team.”


On expectations for Mayfield in his second year in the system and fourth in the NFL:

“I expect him to play like he did as he finished up the season last year after the bye week. I think he really had great control of what we were trying to accomplish and did an outstanding job of protecting the football and protecting the team. He had a really good understanding of the system, the plays, the reads, the progressions and the protections, as well. A continuation of that.”


On if he has to discuss with Mayfield to not try to go ‘throw for throw’ with a QB like Mahomes, who has won NFL MVP in the past:

“We are not worried about that side of the ball. Really, we are not. We are focused on doing the right thing in our room and our side of the ball. Whatever happens, happens at that point, but we have to take care of the football and we have to be productive and put points on the board, regardless of who we play. That is our goal”


On Mayfield playing within himself but if Mayfield still has another level to go to and elevate his game:

“Oh yeah, there is always room for growth. He would be the first one to tell you that, I believe. We are always looking to improve his game, whether it be just little small things of cadence to accuracy on throws. We are always looking for improvement. He has room — everybody does.”


On how much focus the Browns offense will have on Chiefs DT Chris Jones:

“There is definitely. He is a dominant player. There is no question. You look at that defense, you start to circle the guys who get the gold star, and he is a gold-star player. He really is. He is powerful and explosive. I am not sure where he will play. He plays up and down the line and at end at times and inside in rushing situations. We definitely highlighted him as a player who we have to be aware of.”


On if he was mind-blown of how loud Arrowhead Stadium was his first time there:

“Yeah. The first time I went to Arrowhead, I actually dressed and was playing for the Chiefs. I did not play thank goodness, but I was nervous. That place is a special place. Having been there as a player for the Chiefs and then been there as an opponent, I know how special it is. It is loud. They have great fans. It is a great opportunity for us to go out and execute in a loud environment.”


On if it is more fun for a coach to prepare for a game and opponent versus a preseason game:

“Absolutely. No question. Getting ready for the regular season when it really matters, that is when it is a lot of fun.”


On if he played for former NFL Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer with the Chiefs:

“I did. Yes, sir.”


On what has made Mayfield so resilient: 

“I always say about Baker is he is a competitive guy. He loves to compete. He loves to be great, and he strives for it and he works really hard at it. I think that is why you have seen him have success here as of late.”


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