CLEVELAND — After three weeks of searching, the Cleveland Browns have themselves an offensive coordinator.
On Monday, the Browns officially announced that first-year head coach Kevin Stefanski hired former NFL quarterback and Cincinnati Bengals position coach Alex Van Pelt to serve as offensive coordinator.
“To have the opportunity to come in and help build an offense from the ground up is exciting,” Van Pelt said in a release announcing his hire. “There are starting points, but to get to work with those guys and have Kevin in there just kind of make it our offense from Day 1 is pretty cool. The most important thing now is to get this system in place and make it as easy and friendly for the players so we can get off the ground and start rolling.
“You understand the passion of the Browns fans and the toughness of the city and the grittiness of the city. That’s obviously appealing. Having the opportunity to come here and work for the Haslams and to have the talent that’s here right now on board with the offense is a great opportunity.”
In addition to his tenure with the Bengals, where he was a quarterbacks coach under Marvin Lewis in 2018 and Zac Taylor in 2019, Van Pelt has worked with the Green Bay Packers (2012-2017), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2010-2011), Buffalo Bills (2006-2009) and Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe in 2005.
Van Pelt has worked as a quality control coach, quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator with the Bills and served as a quarterbacks coach for the Buccaneers for two seasons. Then, Van Pelt moved on to mentor Green Bay’s running backs (2012-2013) and quarterbacks (2014-2017) before joining the Bengals’ staff.
A late-round pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, Van Pelt played quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1993), Kansas City Chiefs (1993-1994) and Bills (1994-2003) during his 11-year career.
“We were looking for a guy that could come in here and really work together with the offensive staff that’s in place, work with me as we all talk about our vision for what we want our offense to look like,” Stefanski said.
Van Pelt inherits an offense led by quarterback Baker Mayfield, running back Nick Chubb and star receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr.
Mayfield completed 317 of his 534 attempts (59.4 percent) for 3,827 yards and 22 touchdowns against 21 interceptions in 2019 after completing 310 of his 486 throws (63.8 percent) with an NFL rookie-record 27 touchdowns against 14 picks during the 2018 season.
Additionally, Chubb rushed for 1,494 yards and eight touchdowns on 298 carries for an average of 5.0 yards per attempt.
Both Landry and Beckham Jr. eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark during the 2019 season.
“Playing against him for the last two years, you see the type of competitor he is, the type of player he is on the field, loves the game, plays it with passion,” Van Pelt said of Mayfield. “Those are all the things you’re looking for in a great player.
“It all starts with the run game and the play-action off it and the keepers that come off from the action. Obviously, having Nick is huge and Kareem (Hunt), those two are two of the best in the league. The outside receivers are tremendous players. To be able to come in and put an offense together with two 1,000 yard receivers and a 1,400 yard rusher is pretty exciting as a coach.”