Cleveland Browns building offensive staff that will develop Baker Mayfield

CLEVELAND, OHIO - DECEMBER 08: Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns warms up prior to the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 08, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - DECEMBER 08: Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns warms up prior to the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 08, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Baker Mayfield took a step back during his sophomore season, but the Cleveland Browns are building an experienced staff that will help him develop.

Part of the reasoning behind the Cleveland Browns hiring of Kevin Stefanski as head coach was his ability to make the game easier for the quarterback. In 2019, Stefanski’s offense helped Kirk Cousins exceed expectations. In 2020 and beyond, the hope is Stefanski can do the same for Baker Mayfield.

After shining during the second half of the 2018 season, Mayfield was expected to take a leap forward in 2019 and emerge as a top quarterback in the NFL. Instead, Mayfield did not mesh with Freddie Kitchens and his offense, resulting in Mayfield becoming one of the league’s worst statistical starting quarterbacks.

One of the biggest goals for Stefanski in 2020, especially if he decides to become the offensive play-caller, is to help Mayfield take a step forward. Since Stefanski is the head coach, he will need a strong offensive staff to carry out the work during the week of practice and in the meeting rooms.

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Stefanski has done well in building a solid offensive staff that has a wide range of experience and personality. In terms of Mayfield, Stefanski has also done a good job of building a staff to help the quarterback.

The hiring of Alex Van Pelt as offensive coordinator was viewed as a surprise to many. The Browns hired Van Pelt away from the Bengals, whose offense has struggled the past couple of seasons. The Bengals hired Van Pelt as their quarterbacks coach in 2018.

However, despite the overall struggles of the Bengals offense, Van Pelt built a strong rapport with Cincinnati quarterbacks, especially Andy Dalton. Van Pelt helped Dalton evolve in 2018, but that still did not help the Bengals offense on the field for an entire season.

Van Pelt’s notable work comes during his time with the Green Bay Packers, where he spent four seasons as Aaron Rodgers‘ quarterbacks coach. Van Pelt’s first season as Green Bay’s quarterbacks coach, Rodgers was the NFL’s MVP.

Some of Rodgers’ best seasons were with Van Pelt as his quarterbacks coach. In 55 games, Rodgers had a completion percentage of 64.1 percent, 125 touchdowns, 26 interceptions, 7.4 yards per attempt, and a quarterback rating of 102.1.

Van Pelt and Rodgers had built a strong connection during their time together. So much so that Rodgers was upset with the Packers organization when they decided to move on from Van Pelt after the 2017 season.

With Van Pelt as the offensive coordinator, the hope for the Browns is that he can continue to build strong rapport with the quarterbacks and Mayfield. But it will also be the responsibility of Van Pelt to game plan for the Browns and ensure every position group is being put in position for success.

As Van Pelt will have to work with the entire offense during the lead up to games, the Browns will likely have T.C. McCartney spend a lot of time with the quarterbacks. Although his official title is yet to be determined, the Browns are planning to hire McCartney as an offensive assistant.

In 2019, McCartney was the Denver Broncos quarterbacks coach, his first year in that role. McCartney was an offensive assistant in 2017-2018 with the San Francisco 49ers under Kyle Shanahan and Rich Scangarello.

The Broncos had a revolving door with quarterbacks in 2019, but found great success with rookie Drew Lock at the end of the season. The Broncos won four of the five game Lock was under center. In the five games he started, Lock completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 1,020 yards, seven touchdowns, three interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 89.7.

Scangarello received praise as the offensive coordinator for the success of Lock at the end of the season. However, it was McCartney who played a vital role in preparing Lock and helping excel on the field to push the Broncos offense forward.

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With Van Pelt and McCartney on his staff, Stefanski is surrounding Mayfield with coaches who have shown an ability to get the best out of the quarterbacks they are coaching. As Mayfield enters a critical season to prove he has the potential of being a franchise quarterback, Stefanski is giving Mayfield several tools to rely on to help push his development.