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Van Pelt could be QB coach if McAdoo leaves

Jan. 8, 2014
 
Green Bay Packers running backs coach Alex Van Pelt, left, works with Cedric Benson during training camp practice at Ray Nitschke Field in August 2012. File/Press-Gazette Media
Green Bay Packers running backs coach Alex Van Pelt, left, works with Cedric Benson during training camp practice at Ray Nitschke Field in August 2012. File/Press-Gazette Media

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy might not have to look far to find his next quarterbacks coach if Ben McAdoo winds up being the next head coach of the Cleveland Browns or lands an offensive coordinator job elsewhere in the NFL.

Second-year running backs coach Alex Van Pelt would appear to be a natural fit.

McCarthy worked with Van Pelt during his time as a graduate assistant at the University of Pittsburgh. After a nine-year stint mainly as a backup quarterback in Buffalo, Van Pelt coached the position for two years with the Bills before taking over as offensive coordinator in 2009.

Van Pelt, 43, arrived in Green Bay last season after two additional seasons coaching quarterbacks in Tampa Bay. With McAdoo interviewing today with Cleveland and interest sprouting in him as a potential coordinator, Van Pelt doesnít have any trepidation in coaching quarterbacks again if thatís what is asked of him.

ďBen is an excellent football coach. Obviously heís going to have room for growth wherever it is,Ē Van Pelt said Wednesday. ďIím the running back coach right now. Not to speculate on anything. Iím very happy with my guys. I love my room. I really enjoy the experience the last two years of coaching running backs but I work for Coach Mike and whatever Coach Mike asks me to do Iím going to do with everything I got. Not to speculate, but he asks obviously if he wants me to clean the bathrooms, Iíll do that.Ē

The Packersí rushing offense jumped from 20th to seventh in the NFL this season, snapped a 43-game skid without a 100-yard individual rusher and produced its first 1,000-yard performer in Eddie Lacy since 2009.

Along with the Brownsí interview, McAdoo could be a strong candidate to replace former Packers coach Mike Sherman as the offensive coordinator in Miami, where former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin is entering his third year as head coach.

The 36-year-old McAdoo is hoping to follow the same path Kansas City coach Andy Reid did up the Green Bay coaching ladder in going from tight ends coach to quarterbacks and straight to a head job.

ďThis is that time of year,Ē McCarthy said Wednesday at his end-of-season press conference. ďBen McAdoo, I think we have a very talented coaching staff. I would anticipate interest throughout, Ben McAdoo in particular. He's prepared himself for opportunities potentially that are out there. I think the world of Ben, I've been with Ben a long time, and seen him diligently prepare himself to move forward. So whatever opportunities that do come by, he'll do a phenomenal job.Ē

If the Packers would move Van Pelt to quarterbacks, that doesnít handcuff them to hiring a coach to take over the running backs room. Both receivers coach Edgar Bennett and tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot have coached the position in Green Bay, offering them some flexibility in a hire.

After focusing so heavily on quarterbacks, the past two years have helped Van Peltís development as a coach. Heís ready for whatever task heís handed.

ďObviously Iíve learned so much about the run game the past two years,Ē Van Pelt said. ďItís been a huge experience for me. It really has. I really threw myself into it. I enjoyed it. I love it. Iím sad to say when 7-on-7 comes on the screen, the skeleton drill, I kind of buzz through that quickly now, which is sad. Iím more excited to get to the inside run game, so itís been a good experience.Ē

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