Cleveland Browns fans were left shocked when Kevin Stefanski and management decided to shake up the coaching staff on Wednesday. Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, running backs coach Stump Mitchell, and tight ends coach T.C. McCartney were all sent packing in an attempt to improve for next season.
Some Browns players are likely disappointed to see those coaches being handed their pink slips, including wide receiver Michael Woods II. The 23-year-old took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to show his support for Van Pelt specifically, posting "I appreciate you AVP good luck coach" with a heart emoji.
When news first emerged of the Browns going on a firing spree, initial reports indicated that Van Pelt was still under contract. However, it didn't take long for the DC to let ESPN's Jake Trotter know that he was indeed fired but was still "proud of my time there."
Players and coaches aren't always as close off of the gridiron as they are on the field, so it's nice to see that Woods — who was drafted 202nd overall by Cleveland in 2022 — clearly had a good relationship with Van Pelt.
After spending the early part of his coaching career as a quarterback coach for the Bills, Buccaneers, Packers, and Bengals, Van Pelt was hired as Stefanski's offensive coordinator back in 2020. After a few seasons at the position, he was also given a QB coach title ahead of the 2023 campaign.
Quarterback issues were one of the Browns' main issues early on in the season, but that was hardly the 53-year-old's fault. The team lost QB1 Deshaun Watson to a season-ending injury, forcing Van Pelt to work with P.J. Walker and Dorian Thompson-Robinson until Joe Flacco joined the team in December.
The season didn't end as planned, but Van Pelt still got a lot out of the 39-year-old Flacco, who averaged 320.5 passing yards per game with 14 touchdowns (to 11 interceptions) across six starts.
It'll be interesting to see who replaces Van Pelt and what kind of impact they'll make after Cleveland's offense was fairly average in 2023. Although the Browns were tied for averaging the 10th most points during the regular season, they ranked 16th in total yards and 15th in red-zone scoring percentage.
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