CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt is already hard at work in Berea, creating ways to put Baker Mayfield in position to succeed.
“He is obviously a skilled player, a talented player,” Van Pelt said on Wednesday. “I love the fire and the passion in his game. It is our job as an offensive staff to help him and make him successful. Everything starts around the quarterback on the offensive side of the ball.”
Browns fans are well aware of that, having searched for a franchise quarterback for two decades. They believed they finally landed one with Mayfield, who took the town by storm his rookie year, completing 64% of his passes and throwing for a rookie record 27 touchdowns in just 14 games.
But he struggled throughout his second season, as his completion percentage fell to 59%, and he threw almost as many interceptions (21) as touchdowns (22).
“Sixty-four [percent] is probably the benchmark we would like to get to," Van Pelt said. "Anything above that, you are playing really well and efficient. All of that comes into play of are you taking advantage of your check-downs and little things like that. Sixty-four [percent] is usually the benchmark.”
Van Pelt spent 11 seasons as a backup quarterback in the NFL, before embarking on his coaching career. He’s coached quarterbacks for four different teams in the league, including the Packers, where he worked with future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers.
He sees some of Rodgers’ qualities in Mayfield.
“Most of the great quarterbacks I have had the chance to be around were extremely competitive to a point where they would try to beat you at darts or pool – it did not matter,” Van Pelt said. "I see that in his (Baker’s) game. That is exciting. Obviously, he has the skillset, the talent, the arm, throwing the ball on the move, to escape pressure and all of those things. I think the future is bright.”