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Notes from Browns offensive coordinator Todd Monken

He liked how the Browns played in the final 8 games and sees the opportunity to win.

On Thursday, all three of the Cleveland Browns’ new coordinators held their first press conferences since joining the team. Here is a reader’s digest of what offensive coordinator Todd Monken had to say:

Not Calling Plays is Fine

  • Head coach Freddie Kitchens will call plays this season, so why would Monken, who interviewed for a few head coaching positions, join a team like Cleveland? “I have always chosen places based on the people and the opportunity to win,” said Monken. “It is about moving the football, regardless of who is calling it. I have called it in the past so it is not as if I am not capable of that.”
  • Asked about his duties as offensive coordinator if he isn’t calling plays, Monken said, “We will see. I have been here seven days.” Monken had never met Kitchens nor GM John Dorsey prior to interviewing for the job. However, he didn’t find that unusual that he got the job, because he feels teams do a high level of research and ask around about a candidate to find out about who they are.
  • “When I watched what they did the last eight weeks of the year and how they went about it and organizationally, it was something that I wanted to be a part of,” said Monken.

Throwing to Win

  • Monken believes that it’s not always about having a pass-run balance, but balance in the “throwing to win” mentality by distributing the ball evenly to all your playmakers.

“Balance is multiple skill players touching the football. To me, it is not always just run-pass (balance). It is do you have enough skill players where they can touch the football. Last year at Tampa, we almost had six guys – if (Buccaneers TE) O.J. (Howard) doesn’t get hurt – with 700-plus yards from the line of scrimmage. That to me is balance. You have a number of guys who can hurt you from a matchup standpoint. Is running the football important? Sure because in order to win, you have to be explosive and not turn the ball over. How do you become explosive? Space players and throwing it over their heads or throwing in intermediate pockets, and running the football adds to that.”

Creating the Browns’ Offensive Scheme for 2019

  • Monken makes the point that the team will work through what schemes they want to run for the 2019 Browns. Right now, they have a mix of system/terminology from Kitchens’ past, Monken’s past, the system that Todd Haley had for the Browns last year, and then what James Campen brings over from Green Bay in the running game.
  • Asked whether the Browns will incorporate a lot of RPO (run-pass option) into their offense this year, Kitchens said, “I think ‘a lot’ is probably an extreme, but I think that is where football has been and that has been my background. Hopefully, it is something that interests Freddie.”
  • How open does Monken think Kitchens will be to his past offensive philosophies?

“I think the interest starts with my past, not particularly always just with the Air Raid because when I left Jacksonville and went there, I had to learn that. (Houston head football coach) Dana Holgorsen had been there at Oklahoma State. You take a system and the terminology and you make it your own. Hopefully, we did a good job of that. (Former Oklahoma State/Browns and Texans QB) Brandon (Weeden) came here. Brandon was a big reason we won. We did some good things there, but we also incorporated things we did in Jacksonville, things we had done at Louisiana Tech or things we had done at Eastern Michigan or places we had done before. Things we had done in Jacksonville, just like here, there are certain things you do at Oklahoma State that you like and there are certain things that we did at Tampa, and when you get to do it, you get to decide.

Did I feel that Freddie was open to what we had done at previous players where I had been involved? Of course. You certainly don’t take it with the idea of ‘Hey, I won’t have any input into what we are going to do offensively.’ Ultimately, it is always a head coach’s decision. It doesn’t matter if you are calling it or not. The head coach has the last say in everything that you do. Obviously, me coming here was a part of it being a collaborative decision in what we did. Ultimately, someone has to call the plays, someone says, ‘Well, is there anything in terms of when you would call it?’ No, when he decides he doesn’t want to call it, then hopefully, I am the guy he decides he would want to call it. I wanted to be at a place when I did get a chance to call it, I would feel good about the place I am, which is where it was at Tampa.”

Rest of the Presser

To hear the entire press conference, including what he said about QB Baker Mayfield, check out the video below: