Alex Van Pelt Spoke to the Media 11/26/21

On Baltimore’s defensive success on third down and in the red zone:

“Scheme is a big part of it. They are interchangeable. They do a great job. Their pressure packages are probably one of the top in the league as far as how they pressure. The red zone is not as complicated. Third down, they give you some real exotic looks, but in the red zone, they just play good sound defense down there. They are No. 1 in the league in both areas.”

On if the Ravens defense’s pressure package is significantly different than other NFL teams:

“It is. It is just multiple. There is a lot of it. Especially when you get into this point of the season now, you have all of the games under their belts. Usually, you are looking at 60 pressures or 80 pressures. Now, you are looking at 180 pressures and you are looking at the pressures from the opener, as well, the more film that is out there. They are very good in their pressure packages. Multiple looks and multiple front structures, and they do it with a lot of different bodies down there, too. It takes a lot of time to decipher through all of the looks.”

On the element RB Kareem Hunt brings to the Browns offense, if Hunt returns to play this week:

“I really think it is just his energy that he brings, it will be huge for us. I do not see us using him a lot differently than we have in the past. Really just that one-two punch with him and (RB) Nick (Chubb), but any time you get him back on the field, it is good for the team. He brings a lot of energy.”

On the element T Jack Conklin brings to the Browns offense, if Conklin returns to play this week:

“The same with Jack. We are getting healthy, which is a good thing for us down the stretch here. Having Jack back will be just as important for us offensively. (G) Blake (Hance) has a done a nice job of stepping in his place, but Jack is a very good player. Really excited to get both of those guys back.”

On anything in particular he has observed from Conklin and Hunt in practice this week:

“It just looks like it did when we started the season, which is a good thing. We like our guys. We are finally getting healthy at the right time of the year.”

On if Conklin and Hunt have looked good in practice this week:

“They look great. Kareem looked great, and Jack looked like he has not missed a beat.”

On how QB Baker Mayfield looked in practice yesterday after not practicing on Wednesday:

“Very strong day. We were inside. The ball was flying off of his hands. He was very accurate. I do not know if we had an incompletion yesterday. It was a really solid day for what worked for him.”

On how much Hunt potentially returning and Hunt’s ability in the pass game helps Mayfield:

“It is huge, and he does a great job. Kareem made a huge play against them last year on a short-yard situation and made a big catch down the sideline. Adding him back in the mix as a third down back and then spelling Nick and keeping both of those guys fresh is a big part of what we do well offensively.”

On if Mayfield sustained the groin injury against the Lions:

“Yeah, I think so. I do not think it is anything that is cause for concern. It is just piling on right now for him. I think he is feeling better. You would have to talk to him about that, but hopefully, that will be it for the season and we feel healthier each week.”

On WR Donovan Peoples-Jones’ status and performance in practice this week:

“He looked good yesterday. He did some individual routes. He looked good and looked like himself again. Hopefully, today he will be the same. Hopefully, there are no setbacks between now and Sunday. He is a guy who has made a lot of plays for us this year, and it would be great if we can get him up on Sunday.”

On if he has seen Mayfield’s mobility start to improve while starting to recover from injuries:

“Yeah, I saw it yesterday in practice, too. I think he is hopefully turning the corner on all of that stuff.”

On if the Browns could use three RBs, given RB D’Ernest Johnson’s performance in recent weeks:

“Yeah, he got some touches yesterday in practice. We are going to go in with our two guys for sure, and we are happy that D’Ernest was as productive as he was. He has done a great job. I think he will get some other opportunities on special teams to be productive, as well, but really love our three backs right there.”

On the Browns only having 11 passing TDs this season and not getting the ball in the end zone through the air as much as initially expected:

“We just have not [gotten the ball in the end zone]. That is true. I would like to sit here and say we have 25 touchdowns, and we do not have that throwing the ball yet. We do it run it when we get down in the red zone. That is one our strengths. Collectively, I have not sat back and examined why we have not thrown touchdown passes. We definitely do need to be more productive and explosive in the pass game. That is something we definitely put our eye on but not how it relates to touchdowns. Definitely need more out of the pass game.”

On if Mayfield and WR Rashard Higgins are back on track this week with their chemistry, given the two only connected on one reception last week:

“I hope so. Higgins had a really nice third down conversion last week on the sideline. That was a really nice play – good timing and rhythm and a really good route by Higgins. I know they have lot of confidence in each other. Hopefully, that will keep building moving forward.”

On Mayfield being frustrated with accuracy last week and if there is anything specific the team can identify to help make improvements:

“It is nothing fundamental as I look at it. As a quarterback, you are going to have days where you just miss a throw. Sometimes you are going to miss more than one in a game. My thing to him is you just have to keep playing. That is natural. The longer you play, you are going to have days like that where it does not go your way. It is just battling through adversity and finding the corrections you need to make. I did not see anything fundamentally. I would never blame it on the weather, but it was not a great day for throwing the ball. I expect him to make those throws moving forward and so does he.”

On Mayfield battling lower body injuries and how that impacts Mayfield’s mechanics:

“I have not seen much change from the waist down. He is definitely a guy who throws with a lot of torque and core, and those injuries that he does have can affect how much he torques and how he throws it. Like I said, he has looked really good this week in practice. I think he will be just fine.”

On Ravens QB Lamar Jackson’s ability to lead Baltimore in high-scoring games and how the Browns offense can help dictate the pace and flow of the game:

“Ideally, we would like to take long drives, chew up seven minutes and score in the end zone touchdowns, but if we score in three plays, we will take that, as well. Every drive, it is our intent to score a touchdown at the end. I do not think we will play any differently.”

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