Jerod Mayo has made the most important hire on his coaching staff.
Mayo, whose five years of coaching experience have all been on the defensive side, tabbed experienced coach Alex Van Pelt to be the New England Patriots’ offensive coordinator Thursday, according to a league source. Van Pelt, 56, spent the last four years as the Cleveland Browns’ offensive coordinator.
He didn’t call plays with the Browns, but he did lead offensive meetings and helped Joe Flacco enjoy a resurgent season. Van Pelt was fired by Cleveland after the 2023 season when it ranked 16th in yards per game and 12th in points per game.
The hiring rounds out the three coordinator positions on Mayo’s coaching staff. Van Pelt will run the offense, DeMarcus Covington will run the defense and Jeremy Springer will be the special teams coordinator.
Van Pelt played in the NFL for a decade, mostly as a backup quarterback, then got into coaching in 2005.
What this mean for the Patriots
It’s the strongest sign yet of the fresh start Mayo is seeking with the Patriots. For so long, Bill Belichick’s fingerprints were all over every decision made by the team. But rather than look to Belichick’s coaching tree for prominent jobs on his staff, Mayo is going a different direction.
He let Bill O’Brien walk in the offseason and didn’t consider Josh McDaniels for the offensive coordinator job before turning to Van Pelt. It makes clear that Mayo isn’t looking to simply run back things the way Belichick did.
What kind of offense will they run?
Van Pelt has a number of offensive influences in his background, but his most recent experience reflects what Mayo was looking for in this offensive coordinator search. Mayo wanted to land a coach with ties to the schemes run by Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan. Van Pelt can provide some of that.
He worked under Kevin Stefanski for the last four years, whose offense was heavily influenced by Gary Kubiak and Mike Shanahan. The Browns ranked 11th this season in their usage of 11 personnel and seventh in their usage of play action.
Before his time with Cleveland, Van Pelt worked as a quarterbacks coach with the Cincinnati Bengals under Marvin Lewis, and with the Green Bay Packers under Mike McCarthy. While with the Packers, Van Pelt became close with Aaron Rodgers. “Alex is such a great dude and him and I had such a great friendship,” Rodgers said in 2020.
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