Browns Offensive Coordinator Alex Van Pelt Speaks to Media Mini Camp

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

On observations of WR Odell Beckham Jr. during minicamp as Beckham has been going through the rehab process:

“That was the first thing, the work he did do in the first two days of minicamp were outstanding. He looked really, really good. Says he is feeling better and feeling good. I know he is working his butt off to be great. Really impressed with his ability to come back as quickly as he has. Ran some really good individual routes during the side periods. Got some really good work in. Good to see him back in the mix and feeling better.”

On if having Beckham back can help take the Browns offense to a new level after its success during the second half of last season:

“Yeah, I certainly hope so. Anytime you can add a dominant athlete back on the field in your offense, it is only going to help us. He is an elite player. Not having him out there, we had to fight and claw to continue to have offensive success. I know it is a lot easier when you have great players.”

On RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and if having them together in a more normal offseason and preseason help the team integrate them onto the field more:

“Absolutely. I think we felt very comfortable with how we used them last year – kind of the one-two counter punches and keeping them both fresh as long as we could into each game. However, you want to put your most-talented players on the field, and Kareem is definitely deserving of getting playing time, along with Nick in certain packages. Those are things we have looked at in the offseason and will continue to grow.”

On how much the Browns offense is ahead of where it was a year ago, especially as it relates to cadence and communication:

“Last year we came in – cadence for example, and communication – both of those are absolutely correct. Cadence, for example, we may have had four or five cadences going into training camp last year. By the end of the year, we did a cadence breakdown, and we were close to 20 so we evolved through the course of the season, and we are way ahead of where we were last year. As you get older in a system and more experience within a system, the communication always becomes greater. Both of those would be correct answers.”

On if more comfort within the offense allows a team to run more plays:

“That is the thing, you have a core group of plays, and you try to refine that core grouping. That is found in the second year. We know the issues that come up and that present themselves to our core plays, and we know what we have to do to combat those issues. Just the second year in the system without having to learn and adjust to what they do defensively, now, we have seen all of those looks and now we are ahead of the bar from where we were last year.”

On if he was happy with the pace of the Browns offense last year and if it can be even faster this year:

“It is tough to put all of that in, put your system in and put different tempos and whatnot into a virtual offseason. That has been difficult, but it is an area we always want to determine by dictating the tempo to the defense. That is something we have the ability to do now, and we have worked on some of those things.”

On how T Jedrick Wills Jr. can improve from last year and what leap Wills could potentially make in his second year:

“I think he understands what (offensive line) Coach (Bill) Callahan and (assistant offensive line) Coach (Scott) Peters are asking of him now and the different set types. He is refining his skill and his craft out there. The biggest improvement for Jed overall would be pre-snap penalties. That is an area of emphasis for the offense. Jed had a tougher time than most with the cadence last year, but in his second year, I am looking for a big jump from him there.”

On QB Baker Mayfield during minicamp and how the comfort of the offense is translating:

“He was impressive. There are a lot of areas and a lot of pass concepts that we wanted work on in this minicamp that maybe he did not completely own last year and wanted improvement in these plays. He has shown that. A lot of that is just working through progression and knowing where to go next if one and two are covered, and he got that accomplished in this camp. We are very happy with where he is right now.”

On if there is a noticeable confidence level he can sense from Mayfield this year:

“Definitely. In the last seven or eight games last year, he really played really well. I think he now feels that. He understands what that looks like and how he has to operate within the system to be successful. Now that he realizes that, you see it more in practice. Definitely.”

On what he learned in the offseason and what he hopes to add to the offense this year:

“We always work collaboratively. That is the greatest thing about this staff. Everybody has a say, everybody has an equal opinion and we all respect each other’s opinions. This is a really great offensive staff so a lot of guys have great ideas come from winning programs in other places. The beauty of our staff is that I feel like we all work really well together. As far as things we have done differently, some of the meetings have been structured a little differently and some of the presentations have been different and changed for the better in the second year of the virtual offseason. A lot of the scheme eval we got to do last year after having a season together, making those changes and then researching the league, looking across the league and seeing what other teams have done offensively, what teams are doing, defensively and picking and choosing if there is something that maybe we are missing, offensively that other teams are doing, maybe we try to implement that or try to add that to our offense. If it fits, it fits. If it does not, it does not and we just move on.”

On how having Beckham back could affect defenses and open up other areas of the Browns offense:

“Anytime you have a great athlete, you see a lot of coverage roll to that player. That kind of went away when Odell was injured. That opens it up for other players to be successful. It is not always great to be double teamed all of the time, but sometimes, that is going to happen when you are great. I would expect teams to have to honor Odell, and potentially at times, put two guys on him.”

On Mayfield’s physical shape this year compared to last year:

“He is in a great spot physically right now. I know his weight is where he wants it. I want to say it is probably close to where he came in last year. It is already there. We still have five weeks to go before he comes back for training camp. I know he works extremely hard at it, and it shows.”

On the Browns TEs and how TE Austin Hooper can be more involved in the Browns offense this year:

“We have a heck of a tight end group. Really happy with that group overall and the way they work. If you went back and you watched the minicamp, I would say Austin had more catches than anyone else in this camp. We have definite ways to get him the football. Also, very impressed with (TE) David Njoku and the way he came back. He is running extremely well and catching the ball well. Excited about that. (TE) Harrison (Bryant) is really developing now in his second year. That is a group we will lean on heavily, and they do a great job.”

On if there is more chemistry between Mayfield and the Browns TEs this year, especially given their time together in independent player workouts this offseason:

“Absolutely. Anytime guys work together, it is a bonus for us when it is away from the facility or we are at the facility. We do spend a lot of time together. When we are in the special teams period, Hoop will come over, (WR) Jarvis (Landry) and Odell and we would always work individual routes to continue just being on the same page. I can definitely tell through their work in the offseason that they are definitely on the same page.”

On Beckham not participating in the last day of minicamp and if that was a scheduled part of Beckham’s rehab process:

“Part of the plan. We knew he was going to work two days and take this day off. We got some really good work from him yesterday.”

On RB Demetric Felton and the amount of work he has done with the WRs:

“He is a running receiver back right now for us. The good news is he can play in both spots and gives us some flexibility. Earlier on in the OTAs, we were a little down on numbers at receiver. That is probably why you saw him more at receiver than you did at running back. He is a guy that came in, he is very smart, he loves football, he puts the time in and he has flashed out there in these OTAs.”

On if there is any truth to the notion Mayfield has played better without Beckham and what Beckham can bring to the Browns offense this year:

“I think Baker was better as the season went on, whether there had been Odell or not still out there. He started to understand the offense more and understand what we were asking him, got his footwork right. He got better, regardless of who was on the field. As I said earlier, you are always better with great players. Anytime you take a great player off of the field, you are going to have to find ways to generate more offense. We will be better with Odell, no doubt.”

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