OC Todd Monken (10.24.19)

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken:

On the Patriots defense’s statistics this season:

“I just think that they like to turn it into a one-on-one game. I would not say they are complicated in terms of alignment and assignment, but they do a nice job of scheming your run game, your pass game and who you like to target and try to make you play left-handed. I think that is probably the best thing that they do, and because of the way that they structure things, I think it is easy to fix it quickly because it is not rolling through so many calls. That is one observation. I am not saying I am right there. They do a nice job of seeing what you do week to week, try to take advantage of your weaknesses and make you play left-handed.”


On challenges the Patriots defense present with blitzes from different angles:

“They are not afraid to bring one more than you can protect. That is probably the biggest thing. Their blitz patterns are probably not as complicated as some others because they really want to match you personnel wise. They want to play from a man coverage standpoint, but they are not afraid to bring one more than you have and it really forces you to be from a structure standpoint and all your formations and all your protections to be sound, and do the best you can to protect it and do the best you can to get it out of your hands. If you do not do that and make them pay when they bring it, then like you saw the other night, they will continue to bring it and put your offense at risk and your team at risk.”


On QB release time as a way to avoid pressure:

“First of all, I thought (QB) Baker (Mayfield) did a really nice job getting it out of his hands. I thought his eyes were in the right spot. I thought guys did a nice job running routes in reference to a couple of weeks ago. Seattle is much more of a zone team so there are things that you can take advantage, getting the ball out of your hands quicker in terms of sitting in space, which he did and he did a nice job of. This week is a little bit different. They will play forms of zone, but they are more of a man-match team. It presents a little bit more of a challenge in terms of our guys are going to have to win their one-on-one matchups, and when they do decide to double somebody or to try and take a player away, other guys have to be able to step up. That is really what it comes down to. You have to, up front, your time clock and protection has to get extended because there are a lot of times when they are matching you that there are not automatic check-downs. Sometimes they get sacks off of their zero pressure. Sometimes they get sacks off of just their effort and you do not have an immediate ball to get to. You are waiting for a matchup to win and you do not win. They are as good as anybody in staying in phase with your receivers and making you make contested plays. If you do, then you will have success. You will get some matchups in your favor. You just have to take advantage of them and make the plays down the field. I know we are talking throwing the football here. Obviously, you have to be able to run the football and being able to scheme that up, but we are just talking about in the pass game.”


On the Patriots success against first and second year quarterbacks:

“One of it is that they are not afraid to bring one more than you can protect. Whenever you put a quarterback under duress, it is going to put some stress on. They are going to get stressed in terms of where to go with the ball. We have to do a really good job schematically and again, it is not as if it is something that comes up half of the time. It is just going to come up in some critical situations. The second thing is because of just the different looks that you get. Their ability to jump in and out of different coverages, but specifically in covering your receivers, sometimes there is not an easy check-down to just get the ball out to somebody and there is a comfort level with that with young players – there just is – but I think they have been disruptive to a lot of quarterbacks, not just young quarterbacks.”


On what makes Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore so good:

“Obviously, there is something that we do not know about because with most great players there is something about them and what makes them a great player, whether it is from an instinctual part of it, studying the gameplan, competitive nature that we are not around them. One thing they do a nice  job of is when you play as much man coverage as they do, you get better at what you practice. He does a nice job. All of them do a nice job. He does a nice job. He is long. He is athletic. He can run. He does a nice job staying phase. All of them, including him, do a nice job of contesting the ball when it is in the air to a receiver. I was amazed – the numbers might not be right there, but there is not as many [penalties] – You would think with as often as they play man from a defensive holding, pass interference, you would think there would be more of those, and there is not. He does a really nice job.”


On if opponents go into a game knowing what Belichick is going to do to limit an offense or if there is more uncertainty:

“I do not know. Most teams, just like the New England Patriots, if you are good on defense, you do a lot of the same things. You might tweak some things. Different things they may do in terms of the way teams run the football, in terms of who is being targeted and the type of routes you may run from that part of it. When it comes down to the core of it when you watch them on film, they do a lot of the same things over and over and do it well with some subtle nuances to it is probably the best way to put it. It is not like all of a sudden, wow, this one week they were playing a quarters type base coverage. They do a nice job of their personnel up front and doing a lot of the same things with different people that stresses you and your protections and stresses you in terms of you IDs. They are going to get an extra guy in the box which makes it harder to run the football. Like I said, more nuance, more subtle changes here or there based on what you do and maybe not so much just drastic dramatic differences when you see them week to week.”


On the Patriots consistent cohesiveness on the OL despite different personnel and creating cohesiveness on the Browns OL in the first year of the offense:

“That is part of the puzzle. Part of the puzzle is whoever you have on your roster is to make it work. It does not matter whether it is your skill group, your O line or whoever you have, and it is a challenge week to week when you are going against the best. Obviously, it is critically important starting with (C) JC (Tretter) as our center and Baker our quarterback getting communicated in terms of our IDs and making sure we are on the right people. That is the start of it before you even do anything physically is just getting guys on the same page. At this point so far, we have been able to run the football. That will always give you a chance. That has been the positive. It is an interesting dynamic. We focus on the one side of sure, we would like a lot of things that we do to be better. You could look at it and say, ‘Maybe we could be better here in protection. We could be better her in our route running.’ We could be better here in a lot of things that we do, but they are also a big part of why we are running the football well, if that makes sense. I think we have to take that into account of how well the guys have schemed it and how well our guys have executed it. Obviously, it starts up front with those guys. You can’t do anything if you can’t run the football and if you can’t keep them off your quarterback.”


On Patriots LB Jamie Collins Sr.:

“He is so versatile. I think that is probably the biggest thing – his versatility. They play him in kind of a hybrid role where he can cover and he can blitz. He can be a matchup problem if you get him on one of your skill players, which they do, and they like to rush him at different spots if they feel like they can take advantage of that matchup. That is the biggest thing, just his versatility.”


On if it is tough to make OL changes at this point of the season, given Kitchens’ comments about potential changes or no changes to the line:

“You are kind of going in the backdoor on that a little bit, trying to get me to – [Kitchens] talked about it but really did not talk about it(laughter)? In the end, every team has to make decisions based on what they think is in the best interest of their team. Offensively, it is to move the football. It came a good time in the bye week to take a look at some things, but structurally, like I said, I think all of those guys have had their moments and some more consistent than others, like every position we have. They are no different than any other position. It just happens to be where we are doing the same thing at every position where you are looking at different players and what they will bring to the table and what will give us the best chance to be successful. In terms of that, we like our group. We really do. We just have to do it better in a lot of areas, starting with me and our coaches, and give ourselves the best chance every week to be successful.”


On if the timing of the bye week was healthy for Mayfield, particularly given the hip:

“You would have to ask him. Yesterday, I thought he threw it really well. He is tough-minded, loves to play so it is hard to even notice that part. I am sure it was nagging a little bit even last week and I really did not notice it.”


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