The Buccaneers’ search for a new offensive coordinator will include a meeting with a familiar face for quarterback Baker Mayfield. Alex Van Pelt is set to interview with Tampa Bay today, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Van Pelt worked alongside Mayfield during their time together with the Browns. The former’s time after Deshaun Watson was acquired was not sufficient for him to remain in place, however, and he was fired after the Browns’ season came to an end. A return to the Buccaneers’ coaching staff could now be in play.
From 2010-11, Van Pelt served as Tampa Bay’s quarterbacks coach. That tenure came after his stint as OC of the Bills, and preceded his time with the Packers and Bengals before he took on his next coordinator opportunity with the Browns. During Van Pelt’s first season in Cleveland, Mayfield posted a career-high passer rating of 95.9 while helping guide the team to an 11-5 record. A strong run game played a major part in that success, but Mayfield’s performances took a turn for the worse after that season.
The former No. 1 pick bounced around to the Panthers and Rams after the end to his Browns tenure, but he impressed during his debut Buccaneers campaign. Mayfield may have played his way into a new deal with Tampa Bay, but an extended tenure with the team would not come with Dave Canales at the helm. The latter parlayed his one-year OC run into the head coaching job with the Panthers.
The Buccaneers put up middling numbers in several categories this season, but the team’s struggles on the ground continued. Tampa Bay finished last in the league in rushing, and the team’s new OC will be tasked with guiding a turnaround in that department. A reunion with Van Pelt (who did not call plays during his overlapping time alongside head coach Kevin Stefanski in Cleveland) in Tampa Bay could help produce a better balance on offense while giving Mayfield a familiar face on the sidelines.
Here is an updated look at the Buccaneers’ ongoing search:
- Ken Dorsey, former offensive coordinator (Bills): To interview
- Brian Johnson, former offensive coordinator (Eagles): To interview
- Jerrod Johnson, quarterbacks coach (Texans): Interview requested
- Thad Lewis, quarterbacks coach (Buccaneers): Mentioned as candidate
- Kellen Moore, offensive coordinator (Chargers): To interview 1/29; hired as Eagles OC
- Jake Peetz, pass-game specialist (Rams): To interview
- Antwaan Randle El, wide receivers coach (Lions): Interview requested
- Zac Robinson, quarterbacks coach (Rams): Interview requested; hired as Falcons OC
- Alex Van Pelt, former offensive coordinator (Browns): To interview 1/29