• Joey Jarzynka

Browns' OC Alex Van Pelt Quotes 8.24.20

COURTESY OF CLEVELAND BROWNS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT


On what stands out most about QB Baker Mayfield following the first week of training camp practices: 

“I just see the competitive nature. There is no question the guy loves to compete and loves to play football. One of the things that stands out so far in all the practices has been an ability to extend the play. He has a really good feel in the pocket, and he is athletic enough to get outside the pocket. When he does get outside the pocket, he is extremely accurate when he is on the move.”


On how the physical work Mayfield put in during the offseason has translated into his play: 

“Physically, he did a hell of a job in the offseason of getting ready. A lot of that is leaning down, losing a little bit of weight and leaning down, and that is going to help him as far as his movement skills go. All the work that he has put in the offseason is definitely showing up on the field now in training camp.”

On how T Jedrick Wills Jr. has looked at LT and how it may ramp up for him with opportunities to go against DE Myles Garrett, in addition to DE Olivier Vernon: 

“That will be a great challenge for him. Olivier (is a savvy veteran over there on that side, and he has been matched up against him for the most part. The thing about Jed is he is going to get better every day. He started out a little slow slow early on, just getting the tempo and the timing of the pass rushes, but he is getting better every day. That is what we are looking for is that arrow to continue to trend up. We knew we were going to have some growing pains moving from right to left, but at the same point, we know that he has the ability to get it done and that he is going to continue every day to improve.”


On if the Browns will move Garrett back and forth so Wills has the opportunity to see both Garrett and Vernon: 

“Yeah, not sure how that will play out defensively, but that would be great. The more types of pass rushers you can go against, you start to build that library of how to defeat certain moves will always benefit him. I know (offensive line) Coach (Bill) Callahan and (assistant offensive line) Coach (Scott) Peters are working hard with him. He continues to trend upward every day.”

On how Mayfield is progressing with the new footwork: 

“He is all bought in. All the quarterbacks have all bought in. (QB) Case (Keenum) actually made a comment how he is now a believer in the footwork. He loves it. As far as the rhythm and the timing, Baker put in a lot of work in the offseason, and our goal was to get him into that muscle memory and that comfort level where I am not thinking about my feet anymore and it is an automatic deal. He is getting there. He has really done a great job all through training camp of sticking to that. There have been very few occasions where I would look at his feet and say, ‘Hey, wait a second here. That is not what we are doing from a footwork standpoint.’ All the quarterbacks have really been on point with that.”

On the state of the Browns offense and its readiness to play in less than three weeks: 

“The urgency is high right now. Through training camp and the installation, we are still trying to figure out who we really are. We did not have that time in spring. As we get through these next three or four days of practice, now, as an offensive group, I think we are starting to understand what we have, what we do well and how we can exploit defenses. As we get through this next stage of training camp and we start scaling down our installations and start really repping who we want to be and who we are, I think we will see that tighten up. As we go into the end of these practices, we are on installation. It might be Day 6, Install 6, and we do not really vary from that much. We are trying to get all the teaching of the system down and in. Once it is in and the next time we come through from an off day, now we will get to start really honing in and get to the formations, the personnel groupings and the schemes that we like, and we feel like that that is who we will be. We are moving in that direction – very excited about it – but the sense of urgency has to be high. We do not have any time to waste.”

On who among the young WRs has stood out: 

“It is a good young group. (WR Rashard) Higgins has stepped up. He really has been impressive with his ability to finish plays. He battles right to the end in the run game, and in the pass game, he is getting better each day. (WR) Donovan (Peoples-Jones) has been a solid young rookie. He is still learning how to get it done. (WR) J’Mon (Moore) is in there, (WR D.J.) Montgomery is in that group, T2 (WR Taywan  Taylor) is in that group, and they are all really just battling for a spot right now. I would say Higgins right now is the one that to me is really putting the work in. He is really doing a nice job in every phase of the game.”

On what stands out about WR Odell Beckham Jr.: 

“Obviously, the freak nature of his athleticism. He can do a lot of things that guys can’t do. One, getting in and out of breaks or change of direction, I have not seen a change direction like that. He can start and stop on a dime. He can fly down the field too when he turns it loose and starts to run. He can outrun arms with his speed. His ball skills, the catches that he makes on the go balls and the crazy one-handed catches, you see that come out. He is working as hard as he can right now, and we are continuing to see the types of routes that we would ask him to run. Once again, it kind of goes back to once we get through this next stage of installations, we will really hone in on lock in and what we do well. He does it all well, and he works hard.”

On if Beckham Jr. seems happy to be with the Browns this year: 

“Yes, definitely. He brought a lot of energy to practice yesterday. It was kind of a strange day for us all, but he was one of the guys that came out there and he had fun with it and he flew around. When he does that and when (WR) Jarvis (Landry) does that, guys tend to follow. Those guys come out, and he brought energy yesterday and really elevated the whole group.”

On what Callahan brings to the Browns staff: 

“Oh, just great experience. The O line knowledge that he has, I am learning something from him every day from this drill work to his teaching of the installation. He is a huge part of how we will be successful up front. I think the guys really do appreciate his knowledge, and I think they have all bought into his techniques and his style of play. We are going to get better because of that, for sure.”

On players’ comments that Callahan only talks about football: 

“We have conversations about other things, but obviously, in the middle of training camp, football seems to be the focus.”

On Beckham’s catch in double coverage during a recent practice and if it is nice to see him and Mayfield connecting on a big play like it: 

“It was really good. It was a heck of a play by Odell. We talked to Baker about probably not the best decision based on some feet that happened. He had to negotiate a rush, and that kind of gets your timing off so the decision to throw the ball, we were not really all in on. We are going to give Odell and those receivers as many chances. If we get in a one-on-one situation, we are going to give those guys the opportunity and have chance to go up and make plays on the ball. That was one of the ones that stands out, but there have been three or four more in practice where we just give those guys a chance to catch the ball, put it in play and give them opportunities to make a play, and Odell is going to do that nine out of 10 times.”

On Mayfield’s chemistry with TE Austin Hooper and how Hooper can help Mayfield’s production: 

“I know they spent a lot of time together in the offseason so there was a lot of work done prior to them getting here. I think that connection was made then. Oftentimes, the tight end is a quarterback’s best friend. He is closest to him more often than not in the route progressions. They are easier throws. They are big targets. Having that rapport, I really think that stands for all our tight ends. Our tight ends have done a great job in this camp all the way down the line of being where they are supposed to be. The more they play together, obviously, the stronger that bond becomes. It is those unwritten, the body language things that you can’t really coach and teach, and when two guys get on that same page, and it is tough to stop.”

On how the new footwork is paying off for Mayfield throwing the ball: 

“The biggest thing is just the rhythm and the timing. That is the thing for quarterbacks in this system for the first time going through it, we really believe in listening to our feet. Your feet really tell you where you are within the progression. Oftentimes, you get in trouble if you do not listen to your feet. That means you are spending too much time on a route, and then you are having to force the ball in. There have been multiple situations where we have listened to our feet, and there have been multiple situations where we are still teaching that progression for the quarterback. The biggest thing I would say for him is just the accuracy in the three-step game shows up a lot better now with his footwork. It is more rhythmic.”

On the state of the Browns’ two-minute drill: 

“Yes, we have had a two-minute practice. It was during the walkthrough portion of practice. Today happens to be a two-minute day and for the next couple days now. We are at that point in the installation where that now is the two-minute installation. That is where we are right now. We have repped it. We have gone over it multiple times in the spring and here in training camp. We did walk through it on the field. Now, we will get to put it to live action today.”

On if the Browns will run a two-minute drill every day moving forward: 

“I am not sure about that. I do not think that will be the case, but we are definitely going to put an emphasis on it here for the next few days.”

On TE Harrison Bryant consistently making plays as a rookie: 

“That was Harrison’s M.O. He is a smart guy. I remember sitting in on the combine interview with him explaining his system. I do not know if I would have been able to learn his system as well as he knew it. He definitely puts the hours into the study. Much like anybody else, the receivers in this system, if you are where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there, there is a good chance you are going to get the ball thrown to you. That is what he has done. He has just been consistent every time of being where he is supposed to be at the proper time, and he is making the plays. The balls are coming to him based on the reads, nothing more than that. When he does have the opportunity, he is making the plays.”

On how strange yesterday was for him and what positives could come out of the situation: 

“It was a heck of a dry run on a worst-case scenario. I came in early and was not allowed in the building, and that to me, I was nervous. I was wondering if this was it. You start thinking about all the things that could happen, if that were the case. I also thought about my in-laws who were visiting for a day in our house and how was I going to affect them if I possibly had a positive test, too. When you do not know that there were false negatives, you are very concerned. At that point, once we figured out that everything was going to be OK, I was really proud of the men. They transitioned right back into work mode. We had another scheduled meeting for later on in the afternoon virtually and then we got the go-ahead and come back in the building. Those guys transitioned at the drop of a dime. They were in the building, and they put together a heck of a practice yesterday. I was really proud of the way they responded. It was a really good dry run for us as coaches and players to be ready to perform any of our meetings from the house, from home and from our home offices. It was a little bit unsettling early, but I was really proud of the way the day went for our guys. They really showed up and responded well.” 

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