Who is Alex Van Pelt? Meet the Patriots’ new offensive coordinator on Jerod Mayo’s staff

The next era of Patriots football is underway, and new head coach Jerod Mayo is starting to fill out his staff.

On Thursday, New England hired former Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt to take over the same position in Foxborough.

Offense was the Patriots’ biggest issue this past season, desperately needing a change after finishing tied with the Panthers for dead last in the NFL in points per game (13.9) and third-to-last in yards per game (276.2). Once the 2023 season ended and New England elected to move on from future Hall-of-Famer Bill Belichick, his friend, and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien also left to take on offensive play-calling duties at Ohio State University.

As New England looks toward the present and future with Mayo at the helm and a valuable No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the franchise has brought in the guy they feel is best suited to get the most out of the offense moving forward.

Who is Van Pelt and what experience does he have in the NFL? The Sporting News takes a closer look below.

MORE: Ranking NFL’s 8 new head coaches in 2024: From Chargers’ Jim Harbaugh to Patriots’ Jerod Mayo

Who is Alex Van Pelt?

Van Pelt, 53, has been around the NFL for over 30 years after getting selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the eighth round of the 1993 NFL Draft.

He spent nine seasons as a backup quarterback for the Bills from 1995 to 2003, working behind Jim Kelly, Todd Collins, Doug Flutie, Rob Johnson, and Drew Bledsoe during his tenure in Buffalo. He appeared in 31 games and made 11 starts for the Bills, throwing for 2,985 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 24 interceptions.

He retired from football in 2004, joining the Bills Radio Network broadcasts for one season before taking up coaching in 2005.

Alex Van Pelt coaching history

2005: Frankfurt Galaxy

Van Pelt got his start as a coach in the NFL’s Europe experiment, serving as a quarterbacks coach and play-caller for the Frankfurt Galaxy in 2005.

2006-09: Buffalo Bills

After one season, he was hired by Bills head coach Dick Jauron, spending the next four seasons of his career in Buffalo. Van Pelt began as Buffalo’s offensive quality control coach in 2006 and ’07 before being promoted to quarterbacks coach in ’08 and offensive coordinator in ’09.

During his lone season as the Bills OC, Buffalo ranked 28th in points per game and 30th in yards per game.

The Bills’ entire coaching staff was fired after the 2009 season, but Van Pelt was picked up by the Buccaneers.

2010-11: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Van Pelt spent two seasons as the Buccaneers’ quarterbacks coach, working closely with 22-year-old first-round pick Josh Freeman.

When now-Falcons head coach Raheem Morris was fired at the end of the 2011 season, his entire staff, including Van Pelt, was let go.

MORE: Falcons pass on Bill Belichick, hire Rams DC Raheem Morris as next head coach

2012-17: Green Bay Packers

Van Pelt’s next stop would be his longest tenure with one team as an NFL coach. He was picked up by the Packers in 2012 to work as a running backs coach under Mike McCarthy. After two seasons with the RBs, Van Pelt was promoted to quarterbacks coach in ’14 and maintained that position through the end of the ’17 season.

When Green Bay elected to let Van Pelt walk in 2018, star quarterback Aaron Rodgers publicly went to bat for his position coach, calling the change without his consultation “strange.”

“Well, my quarterback coach didn’t get retained,” Rodgers said in an interview with ESPN. “I thought that was an interesting change, really, without consulting me. There’s a close connection between quarterback and quarterback coach, and that was an interesting decision.”

2018-19: Cincinnati Bengals

Van Pelt got picked up quickly once again, this time joining Marvin Lewis’ staff with the Bengals as a quarterbacks coach. Even after Lewis was fired at the end of the 2018 season, new head coach Zac Taylor elected to keep Van Pelt as the QBs coach in his first season at the helm.

2020-23: Cleveland Browns

After the 2019 season, the Browns swooped in to steal their division rival’s quarterbacks coach and make Van Pelt the offensive coordinator.

The only catch: in all four seasons with Cleveland’s offensive coordinator title, Van Pelt was never the offensive play-caller. Head coach Kevin Stefanski handled those duties during his entire tenure.

“I think Kevin feels most comfortable calling the plays, and I don’t know if I would disagree with him if I were in his shoes, as well,” Van Pelt told the Akron Beacon Journal in 2022.

“We do a lot together. Hopefully, as usual, we’ll all have voices in the play calling as it goes forward. But I don’t feel the need, like I need to call this game. I think Kevin does a great job, and I’m very comfortable in the role that I’m in now.”

During his four-year run as the Browns’ OC, Cleveland only had one top-10 finish in points per game and one top-15 finish in yards per game. Its running game was consistently among the best in the league, but plenty of credit should be given to a strong offensive line and one of the best running backs in the NFL in Nick Chubb.

After the Browns were routed by the Texans 45-14 in the wild-card round, they parted ways with Van Pelt as their offensive coordinator.

Present: New England Patriots

Van Pelt was hired to take over as offensive coordinator for the Patriots in the 2024 season under new head coach Mayo.

With the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and a couple of young, talented quarterbacks available at the top, could New England view Van Pelt — a former NFL QB and longtime quarterbacks coach — as the proper teacher for a new signal caller?

That will remain unanswered until the end of April, but Van Pelt will be expected to help the Patriots bounce back from being one of the worst offenses in the NFL during the 2023 season.

Is Alex Van Pelt related to Scott Van Pelt?

No, Alex Van Pelt is not related to ESPN anchor Scott Van Pelt.

Scott did jokingly post on X, formerly known as Twitter, after news broke of Alex taking the Patriots’ offensive coordinator role, though.

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