Syndication: Akron Beacon Journal

The New England Patriots' search for a new leader on offense has led them to Alex Van Pelt. The Patriots announced they hired the former Browns coach as their next offensive coordinator. Van Pelt comes to Foxborough in the aftermath of the Patriots parting ways with Bill Belichick and promoting Jerod Mayo as head coach along with former offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien departing for the same position at Ohio State. 

Van Pelt, 53, most recently spent the past four seasons as the offensive coordinator in Cleveland under head coach Kevin Stefanski. He was fired back in mid-January following the Browns playoff loss to the Houston Texans during Super Wild Card Weekend where the offense scored 14 points and was shut out in the second half. 

While he ultimately did not retain his job, Van Pelt was able to help lead a Browns offense through a turbulent season. The team started five different quarterbacks and dealt with several key injuries to the likes of running back Nick Chubb and several starting offensive tackles, including Jedrick Wills Jr. 

The Browns did find their stride down the stretch with Joe Flacco under center, winning four of their last five games down the stretch. With Flacco under center, the offense averaged 27.1 points per game (including playoffs). For the year, the unit averaged 22.8 points per game, 4.8 yards per play, and was 29th in the league on third down. 

Before landing in Cleveland, Van Pelt spent a decade in the NFL as a quarterback. He was an eighth-round pick of the Steelers in 1993, spent his rookie year with the Chiefs after being released by Pittsburgh during training camp, and then latched on with the Buffalo Bills, who he played for from 1994 to 2003. After his playing days ended, Van Pelt broke back into the NFL on the coaching side with the Bills and rose through the ranks until he was the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2009. He then spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers, and Cincinnati Bengals before joining the Browns. 

Van Pelt comes to a Patriots team that needs a total reconstruction on offense. The team was tied for last in the NFL in points per game (13.9), was 29th in yards per play (4.6), and 31st on third down (30.1%). New England also is likely to enter 2024 with a new quarterback, possibly via the No. 3 overall pick at the upcoming NFL Draft after the team benched Mac Jones down the stretch.