New Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt is hoping to guide quarterback Baker Mayfield with a step in the right direction as he takes the reins of the team’s talented offense.
Van Pelt praised Mayfield for his skill set and ability, but said one major change he wants to make is with the former No. 1 overall pick’s footwork. While addressing reporters on Wednesday at the Browns facility in Berea, Van Pelt said he wants Mayfield to “be like Mozart, not Metallica.”
“Obviously, he has the skillset, the talent, the arm, throwing the ball on the move, to escape pressure and all of those things,” Van Pelt said, per P.J. Ziegler of FOX. “I think the future is bright.”
One of the more notable changes will be with Mayfield’s foot placement in the shotgun before the snap, changing his lead foot from his right to his left. Van Pelt said this should result in more fluid three-step drops.
“That allows the quarterback to play with more rhythm,” Van Pelt told reporters, via NFL.com. “It’s quarterback junkie talk, but it’s something I believe in.
…”In my opinion, it helps in the three-step game, the quick game. There’s more rhythm, it’s not as robotic, it’s more fluid.”
Alex Van Pelt to Pull Double-Duty as QB Coach
After garnering some MVP hype in the preseason, Mayfield finished the year with 3,827 yards, 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, ranking next-to-last in both passer rating (78.8) and completion percentage (59.4%) despite having both Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry at his disposal.
“It was a different year for me,” Mayfield told reporters at the end of the season. “Definitely didn’t have it all figured out. A lot of learning lessons, life lessons for me. I’m going to come back a different animal come spring time. …I love this game. I play it because it’s hard to play, it’s hard to have success. It’s the process you have to enjoy. The ups and downs. There was a lot of that this year.”
Mayfield said more recently on the Pardon my Take Podcast that last season was one of the first times football was not fun for him. Van Pelt is hoping to change that and will be vocal in the QB room, guiding Mayfield.
“My plan is to be the voice in the [quarterback] room. I think that is very important. One of my strengths as a coach is coaching the quarterback so I definitely want to make that part of my job responsibilities,” Van Pelt said.
Alex Van Pelt: Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham are Leaders
When it comes to personnel , Van Pelt has lots to work with — from running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, to pass-catchers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.
Beckham and Landry were expected to light the NFL on fire last year as two Pro Bowl caliber players, but an inconsistent offensive approach coupled with injuries slowed the duo. That being said, their standard is high and some wide receivers around the league would have been very satisfied with their numbers. It more speaks to the potential of the pairing.
Landry finished the year with 1,174 yards and six touchdowns, making the Pro Bowl. Beckham finished his first season in Cleveland with 1,035 yards, but just four touchdowns. Van Pelt is very optimistic that Beckham and Landry will have big years on and off the field.
“I see not just talented guys. I see guys that can be leaders. Because they are vocal and they are voices in that locker room,” Van Pelt said, per Jeff Kerr of CBS. “It’s our job to help them be positive leaders and that’s what both guys want to do.”