Buccaneers Set To Interview Alex Van Pelt For OC Position


With a bunch of the Buccaneers potential OC candidates taking jobs everywhere else, they needed to find some more people to interview. Kellen Moore was hired by the Eagles, Zac Robinson hired by the Falcons, and Ken Dorsey was hired to replace Alex Van Pelt ironically enough. If the Bucs end up hiring Van Pelt instead of the Raiders (only other team that wants him as far as I have seen), I think that would be solid.

This would definitely not be like hiring Dave Canales. Van Pelt has been a coach in the league for 18 seasons and has been the OC for the Browns for four. Much like the Cleveland Browns franchise, his tenure has been defined by QB instability. The Baker Mayfield connection is there (which I will talk about shortly), but I think his most impressive work might be this season. The Browns made history this season as they started 5 different QBs.

Normally something like that would be a typical Browns stat and indicate how much they sucked. Instead, they made the playoffs. To go from Deshaun Watson to Dorian Thompson-Robinson to PJ Walker to Joe Flacco to Jeff Driskell is insane (ok, Driskell did only play one meaningless game, but the point remains). I give a lot of credit to Van Pelt for being able to make that work.

And it was not just QB injuries. He lost his best weapon in Nick Chubb in the second week of the season and still had the 12th most rushing yards of the year with 2,017. They also ranked 14th in rushing TDs at 15. They also lost nearly every starter across their o-line. At the end of the day, the Browns had the 10th most ppg on the season despite losing a dozen starters on offense. Imagine what he could do with a healthy Buccaneers squad.

Of course, Van Pelt would be a perfect fit for the Buccaneers with Baker. While I would argue that 2023 was the best season Baker has ever had, Van Pelt was the guy that led Baker to his best season at the time in 2020. That year, they were actually a little worse in ppg compared to 2023 since they ranked 14th. But Baker had over 3.5k yards, 26 tds, and 8 ints; a touchdown- interception ratio similar to this season. Those are not exactly eye-popping numbers, but Van Pelt designed a system that leaned on a running attack so that Baker could just keep the ball safe and get it where it was needed.

However, perhaps the biggest reason to acquire Van Pelt is the fact that he likely won’t be hired off as a head coach. Like I said, this is not a Dave Canales type hire. Van Pelt has been an assistant in the league for a long time and it doesn’t seem like he has even interviewed for HC vacancies. While that could change with a good offensive season, if he does do well, he might not be poached by another team for their HC role. Having a defensive coordinator as a head coach can really suck sometimes, and one of those ways is constantly having to replace your offensive coordinator when the offense looks good.

As I have talked about before, you want to have some stability for Baker and this offense, and I think Van Pelt can provide that. The only thing that would give me pause about this is the fact that he didn’t call plays for the offense in Cleveland. Kevin Stefanski was the one, which I actually didn’t know until doing research here. He helped craft the gameplans for the offense and was the playcaller when Stefanski was out with Covid in 2020 vs the Steelers in the wild card (he did get his offense to put up 5 tds on them, so not bad).

Still, he would be without an offensive coach to help him craft and call plays, so I would watch out for that. I would ultimately like to see the Buccaneers hire him just because of that Baker connection, regardless about concerns with him not calling plays often. By all accounts, he has done a good job and I think Baker would like to have him back.

Make sure you check out Devin’s blog at cannoncrunch.wordpress.com.

Cannon Crunch with Devin Sanguinett

Cannon Crunch with Devin Sanguinett

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