Alex Van Pelt

AFC North Notes: Browns, Landry, Steelers

A change of plans for Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry. Initially, Landry said he would go the rest-and-rehab route for his lingering hip issue. Instead, he went under the knife recently to correct the problem, per a team announcement.

The Browns expect Landry to make a full recovery for the 2020 season, so this shouldn’t impact their plans very much. And, even though there’s a new regime in Cleveland, Landry (and Odell Beckham Jr.) are expected to remain in the fold, giving Kevin Stefanski as many offensive weapons as possible.

Landry, 28 in November, played through the pain in all 16 games last year. In fact, he’s never missed a game in his six-year career. The LSU product – who finished out with 83 catches, 1,174 yards, and six touchdowns – has three years to on his five-year, $75.5MM deal.

More from the AFC North:

  • Even after inking nine contract extensions over the past year, the Ravens could have more on the way. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic looked at the club’s remaining extension candidates, including outside linebacker Matt Judon and defensive tackle Michael Pierce. Center Matt Skura hasn’t been talked about as much, but he could also be in line for a fresh deal as he nears unrestricted free agency. The former UDFA gave the Ravens consistent play in the middle up until his major knee injury in November. The injury might complicate things a bit, but he expects to be back in time for training camp.
  • Alex Van Pelt is the Browns‘ new offensive coordinator, but he’s not sure if he’ll be the one calling the plays (via WKYC). That responsibility could be kept by Stefanski, who previously donned the headset for the Vikings.
  • Steelers cornerback Artie Burns has switched to Drew Rosenhaus, as Liz Mullen of SBJ tweets. Burns, a former first-round pick who had his fifth-year option declined by the team, will be a free agent in March. In 2019, he appeared in just ten games and started only once.
  • Another pending Steelers free agent – linebacker Bud Dupree – will be switching representation (Twitter link via Mullen). For now, all we know is that Dupree is parting ways with CAA. In the next few days, we should know who his agent will be. Dupree’s stock is pretty high after he registered 11.5 sacks in 2019, though the Steelers could cuff him with the franchise tag.

Browns Rumors: Berry, OBJ, Landry, Van Pelt

The Browns dominated last year’s NFL offseason storylines. After their strong finish to the 2018 season, lead executive John Dorsey made a number of aggressive moves, highlighted by the acquisition of Odell Beckham Jr. However, while that momentum led them to be a pundit favorite to win their division and potentially reach the Super Bowl, those predictions never came close to fruition. They finished the season 6-10 and moved on from Dorsey and rookie head coach Freddie Kitchens.

New general manager Andrew Berry though, seemed to suggest he will at least follow Dorsey in his willingness to make bold moves. In her weekly mailbag, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com noted that Berry was clear in his introductory press conference that he was looking to be aggressive and would not shy away from big moves.

Here are more notes from around the Browns organization:

  • Jay Glazer of The Athletic does not expect Cleveland to make any moves to unload either Beckham or Jarvis Landry this offseason. Glazer noted that new head coach Kevin Stefanski would likely want as many offensive weapons as possible given his focus on offense. Glazer did note that both Beckham and Landry have to be invested in Stefanski for that to work. He could still see a trade occurring if they are unwilling to buy-in.
  • Cleveland has yet to announce if there will be a quarterbacks coach on Stefanski’s staff. In a separate part of her mailbag, Mary Kay Cabot suggested there is a pretty good chance that offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt will serve the dual role as coordinator and QB coach considering his lengthy experience at that position.

Browns To Hire Alex Van Pelt As OC

Kevin Stefanski‘s staff is starting to take shape. The Browns will hire Alex Van Pelt as their offensive coordinator, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com (via Twitter). The Athletic’s Zac Jackson was first with the news (on Twitter).

Van Pelt had an 11-year career as a quarterback before joining the coaching ranks in 2005. He spent four seasons with the Bills, working his way from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator. He spent two seasons coaching quarterbacks in Tampa Bay before making his way to Green Bay in 2012. After serving as the Packers running backs coach for two seasons, Van Pelt took on the role of quarterbacks coach in 2014. He’d spend three seasons coaching Aaron Rodgers, but he wasn’t retained following the 2017 campaign.

He took on the quarterbacks-coach post with Cincy in 2018, and he’s spent the past two years toying with the likes of Andy Dalton, Jeff Driskel, and Ryan Finley. Despite the uncertainty at the position, Van Pelt earned praise during his time in Cincinnati. ESPN’s Ben Baby tweets that Bengals head coach Zac Taylor constantly lauded his quarterbacks coach this past season.

There’s a chance that Stefanski could end up retaining play-calling duties in Cleveland, but he previously expressed willingness in handing over the duty to his offensive coordinator. Van Pelt will likely be joined on the staff by 49ers defensive backs coach Joe Woods, who’s expected to be named defensive coordinator.

This will also open up a spot on the Cincy staff, but Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic expects Dan Pitcher to get promoted to quarterbacks coach (Twitter link). Pitcher has been the assistant quarterbacks coach for some time, but he took on more responsibilities this past season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Notes: Taylor, Turner, Casey, Martin

New Bengals head coach Zac Taylor will call his own offensive plays, as he told reporters at his introductory press conference on Tuesday (Twitter link via Richard Skinner of WKRC-TV). Taylor was hired on the strength of his offensive acumen, so it’s no surprise that he’ll direct Cincinnati’s offense, leaving new offensive coordinator Brian Callahan to serve in a game-planning role. Taylor, for what it’s worth, doesn’t boast much play-calling experience: he led the Dolphins’ offense for a half-season in 2015, and coordinated the University of Cincinnati’s offense the following year. Under former coordinator Bill Lazor, the Bengals’ offense ranked 17th in scoring, 19th in DVOA, and 26th in yardage in 2018.

Here’s more from the Queen City:

  • Taylor will hire Texas A&M offensive line coach Jim Turner for the same role, reports Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Turner has worked with Taylor at three different stops, so there’s obvious familiarity between the two. He’d be replacing Frank Pollack, with whom the Bengals parted ways despite his excellent efforts in 2018. Turner, notably, was Miami’s offensive line coach during the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito bullying scandal, and was eventually fired in 2014 after an independent report indicated he participated in harassment of players. He was also suspended by Texas A&M in 2016 after using sexually-charged presentation slides during a women’s football clinic.
  • Former Texans tight end and current University of Houston tight ends coach James Casey will join the Bengals in the same role, while Ben Martin — who had recently been hired as an assistant offensive line coach at Brown — will take over as Cincinnati’s assistant OL coach, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Casey is only 34 years old, and was still playing as recently as 2015. He joined Houston as an offensive assistant in 2016 and became tight ends coach the following year. Martin, meanwhile, worked at Texas A&M with Taylor.
  • Among the Bengals coaches who are expected to be retained under Taylor are Alex Van Pelt (quarterbacks), Dan Pitcher (assistant quarterbacks), Bob Bicknell (wide receivers), Robert Livingston (secondary), Daronte Jones (secondary), and Brayden Coombs (assistant secondary), per Dehner. Coombs, notably, was thought to be a candidate for the Packers’ special teams coordinator position, but he’ll instead remain in Cincinnati.

Bengals Hire Alex Van Pelt As QB Coach

Marvin Lewis continues to add new faces to his staff. The team has agreed to hire Alex Van Pelt to be their quarterbacks coach for next season, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Van Pelt worked most recently in the same position for the Packers, but was not retained after his contract expired this past season.

Alex Van Pelt (Vertical)

Schefter adds in the same tweet that the the Bengals have also brought on Daronte Jones to coach the secondary and Matt Raich as a defensive assistant.

We have also learned that the Bengals have decided to keep Dan Pitcher as an assistant QB coach, per Jim Owczarski of the Enquirer (Twitter link). He worked with the team’s wideouts last year. Owczarski also notes that Robert Couch is being retainted in his current role as the Bengals assistant offensive line coach.

Van Pelt is clearly the the most notable hire of this group as he’s worked in he NFL in a variety of capacities since 2006. He held his previous job in Green Bay for four seasons before the team opted to go in a different direction after they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

As the quarterbacks coach for the Packers, Van Pelt had the pleasure of working with Aaron Rodgers for many years, but will get a new challenge trying to help Bengals signal caller Andy Dalton elevate his play with the hopes of securing his first playoff victory in 2018.

Since surprisingly retaining Lewis as head coach after the regular season, the Bengals have shaken up their coaching staff by adding Teryl Austin as its new defensive coordinator and former Cowboys offensive line coach Frank Pollack to replace longtime Bengals staffer Paul Alexander.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Notes: Davidson, Van Pelt, Staff

The Bengals are attempting to hire a new offensive line coach for the first time in more than two decades after firing Paul Alexander, and the sheer amount of candidates means the club’s interview process is being extended, according to Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link). As staffs around the league continue to be altered, more experienced OL coaches are becoming available, so Cincinnati’s plan to have a new hire in place quickly has been consequently changed. In-limbo Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin has reportedly interviewed for the position.

Here’s more from the Queen City:

  • Goodwin isn’t the only candidate to fill the Bengals’ offensive line coach position, as former Broncos OL coach Jeff Davidson has also interviewed for the job, reports Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). Davidson, who was fired by Denver last week, has been an NFL coach since 1995 and worked for a variety of teams. He also offers past play-calling experience, as he served as the Panthers’ offensive coordinator from 2007-10. Aside from Goodwin and Davidson, Utah OL coach Jim Harding is also reportedly a candidate to land in Cincinnati.
  • Former Packers quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt is under consideration for a job with the Bengals, per Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter link). While it’s unclear exactly which position Van Pelt would fill, it’s fair to assume he’d take over at QBs coach for Cincinnati. Like Davidson, Van Pelt has been an OC before, as he called plays for the Bills in 2009. The Bengals are in need of a new quarterbacks coach given that Bill Lazor — who formerly held that title — is now being retained as their full-time offensive coordinator.
  • The Bengals have promoted assistant secondary coach Robert Livingston to the primary role, according to Owczarski (Twitter links). Livingston, who’s coached in Cincinnati for the past three seasons, originally started as a scout, which should come in handy given that the Bengals use their coaching staff to scout more than any team in the league. Given that former secondary coach Kevin Coyle wasn’t retained, Cincinnati is still on the hunt for another defensive backs coach to work alongside Livingston, per Owczarski.

Packers Shake Up Coaching Staff

The Packers have decided to make dramatic changes in their coaching staff, the team has announced. Among the bigger news released today was that defensive coordinator Dom Capers officially been fired. It was already reported that the longtime coach was going to be let go a few days ago, but the news just confirmed by team officials today. Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac and linebackers coach Scott McCurley were also officially relieved of their duties.

“I want to thank each of these men and their families for all that they gave to the Packers during their time here,” head coach Mike McCarthy added. “We enjoyed a lot of success together and they directly contributed to our accomplishments. These are difficult personal decisions and we hope for the best for their families moving forward.”

Tom Pellisero of NFL.com has also reported that current offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett will be reassigned to another post and that the Packers will allow quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt‘s contract to expire this offseason (Twitter link). It should be noted that both of these reported decisions are still awaiting confirmation from the team.

Edgar Bennett (Vertical)

Bennett had been on the Packers staff for awhile, serving in many roles, including the team’s player development, running backs, wide receivers coach since he joined the organization in 2001. He had been promoted to offensive coordinator at the start of the 2015 season. His role change will allow the team to hire an offensive coordinator from outside the organization.

Van Pelt was hired as the team’s running backs coach in 2012 was promoted to handle the team’s quarterbacks in 2014.

Both coaches have had the benefit of working with All-pro signal caller Aaron Rodgers over the past few years. But the offense showed significant flaws when Rodgers went down with injuries for a much of the 2017 season. Today’s news essentially confirms the speculation that the Packers could drastically alter their coaching staff in the weeks ahead since they missed the postseason for the first time since 2008.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams To Hire Greg Olson As QBs Coach

Greg Olson seemed like a lock to become the Bills’ next offensive coordinator, but they’re going to have to look elsewhere. Olson is on his way to the Rams to serve as their quarterbacks coach, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link).

Greg Olson (Vertical)

In Los Angeles, Olson will reunite with newly minted head coach Sean McVay. The two previously worked together in Tampa Bay and will now exert heavy influence over the development of young signal-caller Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft. Olson has plenty of experience tutoring quarterbacks as both a position coach and coordinator. He has been part of several staffs, including the Rams’ (2006-07), since his NFL coaching career began in 2001.

Olson was most recently a coordinator in Jacksonville, where QB Blake Bortles hasn’t quite panned out since going third overall in 2014. Thanks in part to that, Olson lost his job with the Jaguars last October.

In rejecting the Bills for the Rams, Olson turned down “much more” money, per Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. Staying in close proximity to his family was a motivating factor, Carucci adds (Twitter links).

When Brad Childress exited the race for the Bills’ O-coordinator role Tuesday, it appeared Olson would land the job. The Bills even hired one of Olson’s previous offensive assistants, running backs coach Kelly Skipper, on Wednesday. But it turns out he’ll serve under someone else in Buffalo. That could be Packers quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, tweets CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. Van Pelt was a longtime backup QB with the Bills and had a stint as their OC in 2009.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers Announce Coaching Changes

12:05pm: McCarthy confirmed at his press conference that Clements will call the offensive plays for the Packers in 2015, tweets Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

11:58am: The Packers have confirmed a handful of previously reported coaching changes, announcing today in a press release that the team has made changes on both sides of the ball, and named a pair of new special teams assistants as well. The new titles on Mike McCarthy‘s staff are as follows:

  • Tom Clements: Associate head coach/offense
  • Edgar Bennett: Offensive coordinator
  • Alex Van Pelt: Quarterbacks and wide receivers coach
  • Mike Solari: Assistant offensive line coach
  • Jerry Montgomery: Defensive front assistant
  • Ron Zook: Special teams coordinator
  • Jason Simmons: Assistant special teams coach

While the press release doesn’t mention anything about the Packers’ offensive play calls, McCarthy is expected to hand over the reins on play-calling to Clements as part of his promotion. Clements had previously been Green Bay’s offensive coordinator, while McCarthy called the plays, and now it appears that Bennett will be the OC while Clements calls plays.

McCarthy will speak to local reporters at the top of the hour to confirm the changes.

Extra Points: NFLPA, Mayo, Van Pelt, Raiders

The NFL Players Association has formally filed a grievance against the league challenging the NFL’s new personal conduct policy, which was adopted in December despite the NFLPA’s objections, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. The union contends that it didn’t have an opportunity to collectively bargain many key points of the new policy, arguing that the policy violates the CBA and that it was adopted “without the consent, and over the objections, of the NFLPA.”

While we wait to see what comes of the union’s grievance, let’s round up several items from across the NFL….

  • Injured Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo has been prioritizing his rehabilitation after a season-ending knee injury, and fully intends to get back on the field in 2015, but he has also developed an interest in coaching during his time spent on injured reserve, writes Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “I’m just trying to learn as much as I can,” Mayo said. “If I do choose to go down that road, hopefully I can apply some of these principles that I’ve learned from coach [Bill] Belichick in my coaching career.”
  • While a previous report revealed the Packers turned down the Rams’ request to speak to Alex Van Pelt about their offensive coordinator job, St. Louis wasn’t the only team rebuffed by Green Bay. According to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), the Jaguars and Bears were also denied permission to interview Van Pelt.
  • The Raiders have officially confirmed a handful of new additions to Jack Del Rio’s staff, announcing in a press release that they’ve hired Todd Downing (QB coach), Marcus Robertson (DB coach), Sal Sunseri (LB coach), and Mike Tice (OL coach).
  • The Jets also announced several new assistants in addition to their new coordinators. According to the team, Mike Caldwell (assistant HC/ILB coach), Mark Collins (OLB coach), Joe Danna (DB/S coach), and Karl Dorrell (WR coach) are among the new arrivals.
  • Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey isn’t phased by the fact that 2015 could be a make-or-break season for him and head coach Joe Philbin, suggesting that he approaches every season as if it’s make-or-break, writes Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.
  • The Texans have made some front office changes, promoting Jon Carr to director of college scouting and hiring Matt Jansen to the new position of college scouting coordinator, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter links).
  • We learned yesterday that Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett met with the Dolphins at the Senior Bowl, but Miami is far from the only team to interview Lockett. The wideout, who is generating plenty of buzz in Mobile, tells James Walker of ESPN.com (Twitter link) that he spoke to 28 NFL teams this week.