The Patriots’ offensive coordinator search ended Thursday with a curveball.
New head coach Jerod Mayo employed ex-Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, who turned the twelfth reported candidate to interview Wednesday. Van Pelt, in response to sources, remained in Foxboro via Thursday, when his interview concluded with a proposal. The 53-year-old has no prior expertise with the Patriots, and is predicted to alter the crew’s present offense.
Here are seven issues to know concerning the finish of the Pats’ offensive coordinator search:
1. Van Pelt was essentially the most skilled candidate interviewed
Nineteen seasons as an NFL assistant.
Twenty-eight years within the league general, together with his days as a backup quarterback in Buffalo (1995-2003).
No different coach Mayo interviewed got here near Van Pelt’s expertise within the league. Thanks to his longevity, Van Pelt additionally checks a number of main packing containers — expertise as a coordinator and quarterbacks coach — for a crew that can be beginning over offensively in 2024.
Here’s the thin on his NFL teaching resume: Browns offensive coordinator (2020-23), Bengals quarterbacks quarterbacks coach (2018-19), Packers quarterbacks coach (2016-17), Packers quarterbacks coach/vast receivers coach (2015), Packers quarterbacks coach (2014), Packers operating backs coach (2012-13), Buccaneers quarterbacks coach (2010-11), Bills offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach (2009), Bills quarterbacks coach (2008), Bills high quality management coach (2006-07).
Patriots rent ex-Browns OC Alex Van Pelt as new offensive coordinator
2. He was the final candidate interviewed
If timing is all the pieces, Van Pelt’s rent says so much.
For starters, he was the twelfth coach out of 12 to reportedly meet with Mayo. The Patriots additionally interviewed Rams tight ends coach Nick Caley and ex-Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy twice earlier than assembly with Van Pelt as soon as.
Most of the Patriots’ preliminary interviews had been hour-long video conferences, in response to a supply, so it is exhausting to imagine scheduling conflicts stored the 2 sides from assembly. Van Pelt was fired in Cleveland on Jan. 17, and Mayo opened his first offensive coordinator interview on Jan. 22. Van Pelt additionally had one strong connection in New England: director of scouting Eliot Wolf, who had a hand within the coordinator searches and overlapped with Van Pelt in Cleveland and for six years in Green Bay.
That mentioned, Van Pelt managed to safe the job in roughly 24 hours. The impression he made on the Patriots should have been robust, on prime of the plain expertise that figures to learn them as they possible transfer ahead with a brand new, younger quarterback.
3. Van Pelt didn’t name performs in Cleveland besides …
… when Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski examined constructive for COVID-19 in the course of the 2020 season.
Van Pelt referred to as offensive performs for 2 video games that 12 months, together with a playoff win at Pittsburgh. Otherwise, Stefanski ran the present on offense. He set the sport plan and orchestrated its execution on sport days, not his offensive coordinator.
4. Expect a blended, West Coast-based scheme
For most of his profession, Van Pelt has coached a variation of the West Coast offense. But he is not a Shanahan or Sean McVay disciple, like a number of of the Patriots’ different candidates.
Van Pelt most not too long ago coached below Stefanski, who took the Cleveland job after working below ex-Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, a former Mike Shanahan assistant. Unlike most Shanahan offenses, the Browns leaned closely into man-blocked runs — which regularly function pulling linemen — not zone runs the previous few seasons.
Before that, Van Pelt coached below Bengals coach Zac Taylor, who coaches a McVay-style offense replete with zone-blocked runs, jet movement and three-receiver personnel groupings. Yet Van Pelt’s longest stint got here in Green Bay below ex-Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, a West Coast traditionalist. In Green Bay, the Packers used little movement and abided by conventional West Coast passing ideas which have spanned a long time.
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All collectively, Van Pelt may have a wealth of previous playbooks and schemes to select from as he builds a brand new system for the Patriots.
5. He’s a quarterback’s quarterbacks coach
Over a shock 2023 playoff marketing campaign, Van Pelt coached 5 totally different Browns quarterbacks: Deshaun Watson, P.J. Walker, rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Jeff Driskel and Joe Flacco.
Despite that turnover, Van Pelt had all 5 ready and formed an offense that averaged 22.8 factors per sport, good for twelfth within the league. The Browns additionally overcame the lack of star operating again Nick Chubb, who missed nearly your entire season. Van Pelt is well-respected for his capability to attach with gamers and colleagues, particularly in exhausting occasions.
Said a league supply who has expertise working with Van Pelt: “Great dude. Culture changer. Good coach.”
Van Pelt has additionally drawn reward from Aaron Rodgers, and beforehand labored with Baker Mayfield, Andy Dalton, Josh Freeman and Ryan Fitzpatrick, amongst others.
6. His job was not coveted
According to The Athletic, a number of of the highest offensive coordinator candidates in the marketplace didn’t view the Patriots’ job as interesting.
A lot of the coaches who sat for the preliminary interviews — Zac Robinson, Shane Waldron, Dan Pitcher and Jerrod Johnson — dropped out to take different jobs and/or stay with their present groups. Sources shut to some candidates mentioned these coaches described their Patriots interviews as “fine” and “solid,” whereas noting the crew’s personnel was a major downside, particularly in comparison with different jobs.
Van Pelt reportedly additionally interviewed with the Raiders and Buccaneers for his or her offensive coordinator positions.
7. Van Pelt has lots of work forward
The Patriots shouldn’t have a beginning quarterback. Their roster options arguably the worst pass-catching expertise within the league. They have zero tight ends below contract. Both of their beginning tackles are set to hit free company.
Ready, set, rebuild.