OC Todd Monen (12.19.19)

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken:

On how the Baltimore defense has changed since their first meeting in Week4:

“Just personnel wise, (Ravens Brandon DT) Williams did not play up front. He tried to warm up before the game and then could not go. Two corners, (Ravens CB Jimmy) Smith, who comes in their nickel package who has been a starter for them. Trading for (Ravens CB Marcus) Peters. They lost (Ravens S Tony) Jefferson so (Ravens S Chuck) Clark plays now all of the time at safety. He carries the green dot so that is who they communicate with. Linebacker wise, (Ravens ILB Josh) Bynes and (Ravens LB L.J. Fort). Personnel wise it has changed. I have not watched a lot of what they do on offense, but obviously, they must be playing with a lot of confidence so you look at scores that are up in games fast, early so they are playing with certainly a swagger ahead, which again makes it a lot easier to call plays on either side of the ball when you are moving it or you are stopping people is to let it rip. Obviously, they are playing with a lot of confidence. They pressure you a lot. They have not changed a lot in that matter. We controlled the first game really from start to finish in terms of being able to run the football and did not get behind so we did not see a lot of their pressure packages per se that they have in these other games when they have been up. Now it turns into when you are in two-minute, no-huddle a lot and then you get into a lot of their pressure packages.”


On if the offense has improved since the first game against the Ravens:

“That game was, we had over 500 yards and played awfully well. Every game, like I always say, you can’t carry over points or statistics so what we did then or what we did last week has some bearing to this week, but not nearly as much as how we practice and how we prepare for this game.”


On if the Browns offense has improved since the early portion of the season:

“In some ways, I think we have improved. It may not be to the naked eye, but there are certain things I do believe we are doing better but probably hard to see because it is hard to say that based… Like I said, we had such an explosive day [at Baltimore] is the best way to put it because we had so many explosive plats. They turned (TE) Ricky (Seals-Jones) loose on a seam, (WR) Jarvis (Landry) broke about five tackles for a big play before half and then (RB) Nick (Chubb) had that backbreaking long run after they had cut it to one score. I think there are some things we have done well and we have done better.”


On what the Browns offense has done well this season and has improved upon:

“I think we have been more consistent in terms of throwing the football. It may not show that. For the most part we have cut down on the turnovers and the penalties since then. Like I said for the most part, we went that first half of the year turning it over more than we would like for a number of reasons and then penalty-wise, we have cut down on that.”


On sharing what has been most impressive about RB Nick Chubb this season, given Chubb is not one to talk about his own accomplishments:

“First off, he does not talk so it is not just about himself. He is a pretty quiet young man and just a really good football player. I do not think, if you went around the building and asked people about Nick Chubb, I think it would be pretty difficult to find someone to say a negative thing about him. He is a really good football player, works awfully hard. One of our leaders by example is the best way to put it.”


On what Chubb could work on to improve his game:

“I think the biggest thing – he does work at it – is just his ball skills and route-running. I think he is going to continue to develop. He is a natural downhill running back and that is probably the easiest thing for him, and that is obvious to see. That is nothing that you have not seen. Just the consistency in his route-running and ball skills.”


On how the Browns determine whether to receive or defer to begin the game, specifically last week against one of the league’s worst defenses statistically:

“You would have to ask (Head Coach) Freddie (Kitchens). We really do not have a discussion on it. If you are asking our discussions, we do not really have a discussion on it, at least I do not with Freddie. I have had those discussions in the past, and you do go through some of the things and I am sure in his mind he does. You would have to ask Freddie, though.”


On Browns players breaking a huddle and someone running to the wrong side of the formation at first and if that is normal or frustrating:

“It is frustrating. Obviously, it falls on us coaches, it falls on the players and falls on all of us to obviously get the play in and hear it clearly in the huddle. It all starts with the alignment and assignment because that gets you beat. Before any mismatches whoever you play, if you are not getting lined up and you do not know what you are doing, it does not matter who you play – you will not be consistency, you will be choppy with what you do. It is frustrating because then you put (QB) Baker (Mayfield) up against it in terms of the clock and trying to get us in the right protection and those kind of things. It has been frustrating and it lends yourself to be choppy, lends yourself into burning timeouts when you do not need them and taking penalties when you do not have to. It is something that has been an issue and something we have tried to correct.”


On the difference Ravens DT Brandon Williams can make for Baltimore’s defense:

“Just gives them another big body inside and makes it hard to run. It does not mean they do not have other good players with (Ravens DT Michael) Pierce in there and (Ravens DE Chris) Wormley. You get them in their base personnel and it is just very hard to move those guys, hard to create space. He has been a good football player for a while now so I think that is probably the biggest thing is just consistency. Hard to move so it will be a real challenge for us.”


On if he has had much of a chance to evaluate Ravens QB Lamar Jackson and his play this season:

“I really have not. We do not watch a lot of them because when you decide what games to break down for an opponent, you try to pick out games recently or like your offense. For us, a lot of times it does not fit other than if you are looking for explosive plays or things that they happen to do. We do not use their offense very often in our cut ups so it is unfair because usually what I see is the highlights so it all looks good. They are showing all the highlights of all their big plays. Hard for me to say exactly. Obviously, they must be playing well.”


On what QB Baker Mayfield can add to his game to improve and be an elite QB:

“I think that every player we have is a work in progress. I think you are always trying to improve in certain areas of your game. That is at all positions. I think the first thing – I have talked about it a bunch that I think will help us and then I will get to Baker here – is just our consistency in terms of how we do things and how we route run and get in the right spaces. That 100 percent leads to consistency on offense. It is 11 players playing consistently and doing the right things over and over and over. Part of that is breaking the huddle and getting lined up. That is a big part of it. It is all of those things that lead to a player playing with confidence, and then with him, it is OK, take it from there. Obviously, at this point, we have had the ability to run the football, which is usually a very good thing. It allows you to stay in front of the chains, which we have the last few weeks which has helped us on third downs, and then from there, you are not always throwing it because you are behind so your protection is better and that allows the quarterback to stand in the pocket without feeling like he is under duress, which I think has been better the last few weeks. I think that is one thing that he has tried to work on, which is hanging in the pocket, working through his progressions and there is a lot that goes into that. I always say that with confidence, timing, protection that leads a quarterback to… If you are getting hit, if guys are off their mark, the timing is thrown off, then it is very difficult for a quarterback to gain those confidence and to improve.”


On if the Browns could have or should have gotten WR Odell Beckham Jr. the ball more in the end zone and if there are opportunities for him in the future:

“Sure. Sure. I do not have in front of e, what statistics is to how much we have thrown it to him. I know there was a time where we had not targeted him, but we have more as it has gone along. I really do not look at it that way, but I do think sometimes there are opportunities that present themselves that we have not taken advantage of it an sometimes it just has not come up. Twice, we hit a post against the Steelers in the first drive. He was in then he was not in. To me, that lead to a touchdown that did not count. Last week, the last drive of the game, he gets stopped on the 1-yard line and it is right there. There is a lot of times of just him being in the red zone, he attracts a lot of attention that helps for other players. It is the same on the one end of Nick Chubb or some running back has a lot of touchdowns rushing. That has to come from somewhere. Sometimes it is a running back. Sometimes it is a quarterback sneak. Sometimes it is the receiver. Sometimes it is a player that is fighting through. I think all of the above, but whether or not, how often he scores, I do not think of it that way. Would we like him to score more? Sure, for all of our skill guys. We want to score more. I have never thought about how many times an individual player scores. I have thought about what the matchups are to that give us the best chance to score when we get down there, if that makes sense. Now if that happens to be him in a certain matchup, then great, if not, then it just works out that way. We are not purposely in my mind trying to make sure that he scores. Otherwise, I think we are doing a disservice to trying to score every time we have it down there.”


On using a TE to block edge pass rushers:

“There is no doubt that you try to shrink your margin for error and not put tight ends or running backs on special pass rushers. You are exactly right. You are not trying to have that occur. At times in your play action game, it is very difficult to always do that if you really want to sell the run so that comes into play at times, and I am not speaking specifically to (Cardinals OLB) Chandler (Jones). Sometimes you are expecting receivers to be in a certain spot so it is more of a rhythm throw. You are not asking him to protect or a running back to protect for an extended period of time and it just happens to work out that way. Without a doubt, if you do that too often, you are going to get sacked, you are going to get hit and your quarterback is going to get hurt. We certainly, at least we have in terms of talking protection beats coverage, every week we are talking about trying to not put ourselves in that position. Like what happened last week the first sack we had – I think it was (TE) Demetrius Harris – we were running a little bit of a roll, we were expecting the ball to get out and Jarvis got held up and he did not hold up as long as we were hoping. It led to sack, which is not good because it then puts you behind the sticks. We ended up punting and went three-and-out.”


On how TE David Njoku has responded this week:

“We have been out there one day. He has been fine. It is like all of our players and all of us coaches, we have a job to do. The bottom line is we are paid to do a job, no matter what our record is or what our status is. I am sure it is frustrating for him to have been hurt and come back with where we are. Every player wants to play and every player wants to showcase his skillset, but ultimately, we are also in charge of in our minds putting the best players on the field to give us the best chance to win. If we do not do that, we are not being true to ourselves and we are being true to something that does not exist. The bottom line is who we put on the field we think gives us the best chance to win. He has responded well and I thought he had a good practice yesterday.”


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