Could Cleveland's trash be New England's treasure?
The Browns fired Alex Van Pelt -- their offensive coordinator since 2020 -- following their playoff loss to the Houston Texans. That decision came despite Cleveland overcoming injuries to key players and finishing the season with an 11-6 record.
On Thursday, the Patriots announced Van Pelt will join Jerod Mayo's coaching staff as OC. He reportedly was hired just a few hours after interviewing with the team.
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The MMQB's Albert Breer joined 98.5 The Sports Hub's Zolak & Bertrand to share his intel on why the Browns parted ways with Van Pelt, plus what the new OC will bring to Foxboro.
"The reason he was let go in Cleveland was because ownership and (chief strategy officer) Paul DePodesta were frustrated with the progress (quarterback) Deshaun Watson had made," Breer said. "I don't think that the people who made that decision really, truly knew his value to that staff. Other people on that staff, not so much (head coach) Kevin (Stefanski) but people below him, were floored when they fired him for two reasons. Number one, how do you follow the offensive coordinator after you just won 11 games with four different quarterbacks, with your fourth and fifth tackles, without (running back) Nick Chubb? ...
"The other one I think is the real key, though. He was the glue of that staff. Kevin, if you know him, he's a great guy, he's not the most outgoing guy. His personality is very dry, he's got a good sense of humor but he's not this outwardly gregarious guy. Alex was the one that held that staff together. When guys were coming out, when guys were going in, he is a guy who was a unifying force in that building."
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In addition to his "unifying" presence, Van Pelt brings a wealth of coaching experience. Before his four seasons with Cleveland he spent time as the Cincinnati Bengals' QB coach, Green Bay Packers' QB coach, Tampa Bay Buccaneers' QB coach and running backs coach, and the Buffalo Bills' QB coach/offensive coordinator.
That job history makes Van Pelt far more experienced than the other candidates who interviewed for New England's vacant OC position.
"After the year the Patriots just came off of, I think at one point the idea was somebody like Van Pelt as a senior offensive assistant and then a younger play-caller," Breer added. "I think I might feel slightly better about it if that was the way it was, but AVP is way more qualified than a lot of the other guys they interviewed."
With Van Pelt on board, Mayo's core coaching staff is complete. DeMarcus Covington will serve as defensive coordinator and Jeremy Springer will lead the special teams unit.