OC Todd Monken (12.5.19)

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken:

On the inability to win close games or produce game-winning dives and QB Baker Mayfield’s TD-INT ratio in those situations:

“I guess I had not really looked at it that way or really seen that. Obviously, we have to do it better collectively. Last week we started fast. We were up 10-0, had everything in front of us and obviously, could not continue offensively to score points when you need to score points and keep the momentum, matching scores when they score, which we did not do a  very good job of that. Like I always say, you can’t carry over points or things you did last week. It is a new week, and it is on to the Bengals.”


On if he senses Mayfield is pressing at all in those late-game situations:

“Pressing is probably a stretch. I think anytime you get to the end of the game and you need a score, you have to make some plays down the field, if we are speaking about last Sunday. He was just trying to make a play. We had to push the ball down the field. We needed a touchdown.”


On Mayfield’s interception late against Pittsburgh:

“Just anticipation.”


On similarities between the endings to the Pittsburgh, Seattle, Denver and Los Angeles games with opportunities late in the game:

“Yeah, we did not execute. That is the way it is. It is a game of execution when you are going against the highest level of competition, against really good coaches and really good players. The team that executes best usually finds a way to win. We have not executed at the level we need to at times. At times we have, and at times we have not.”


On if the inconsistency in late-game situations is the most frustrating part:

“Sure, in the 30 years I have been coaching, it is always frustrating when you do not score and when you feel like you are doing things that are counterproductive to put you in the best position to be successful or they do something that takes you out of rhythm. It is always frustrating when the amount of time we put in, players and coaches, and it does not show up on the field. At times, it does and at times, it does not. That is part of this league, though. It just happens that we are talking about us, and every team goes through it at times. You are just trying to make sure that in those critical moments, one we are on the same page and one we are ready to go and give ourselves the best chance to find a way to score every time we have it and then especially at the end.”


On why WR Odell Beckham Jr. has not had as many highly productive games as past seasons:

“I do not look at it that way. First of all, I think he is an outstanding football player so let’s start with that. I think it has just been certain circumstances that have stopped us from being able to get him the ball. As I go back, we only have one football. You get (RB) Kareem Hunt, you have (WR) Jarvis (Landry) and you have got (RB) Nick (Chubb). Obviously, we would like to get him the ball more and the moment we get the ball to him more, then we will be asking why we do not get it Nick more and then you give it to Nick, and you need to get it to Kareem more. Obviously, we are always trying to get him involved.”


On why Beckham has not seen the ball as often in the red zone compared to other receivers across the league like Patriots WR Julian Edelman, who are also expected to get the ball in those situations:

“First off, let’s start with this: we are pretty good at running it. I would put our running backs and our ability to run the football up against anybody once you get in the red zone. That would be one answer. Two is they play different spots for what Edelman does for them and what Odell does for us. That does not mean you can’t use them there. It is a fair question whenever you have a really good players is how do you get him involved in all areas of the field – third down, red zone, run downs. That is fair. There are times in the gameplan where we have it, a plan for him to get the ball and sometimes we have not gotten to those spots enough, which is part of it.”


On if the Browns OL’s protection at times has impacted opportunities to get Beckham the ball downfield:

“Some of that. Two of the last three weeks, we have played some pretty good ends – (Steelers LB Bud) Dupree and (Steelers DE T.J.) Watt. That will stress you in terms of your protections. At times, we are fine and others when you get behind in the game, that is going to put you at a little bit of a disadvantage against any good edge rushers when you have to throw it. Bottom line is that may be part of it, but we just have to find a way to do it better. That is some of it, but not all of it.”


On if opponents’ defenses have covered Beckham differently since Hunt returned to the offense:

“I think with every week, depending on how you utilize a player, determines what you see. In the last few weeks when Odell is not getting utilized nearly as much, you are not seeing as much from that from a coverage standpoint. You are in the red zone when teams will bracket and even on third downs, Pittsburgh did it a few weeks ago when they bracketed him and Jarvis. They look at where your targets are – who you are throwing it to? – and then work from there in terms of who they are trying to take away. Obviously, with Kareem, what you end up seeing is teams are treating him, especially if he is in there with Nick, they are treating him like a wide out. They are going nickel or they are going dime. I do not care if you have a tight end there or not. They are matching him to make sure they have got an athletic player that can match him in terms of his route-running skills, which is fine. That is normal. It gives you a chance to help your run game some when you get a small player in there, but that is how most people adjust. Just like when we talk about New England when you get their running backs, you have to make sure you do not get an unfavorable matchup in terms of who you put out there defensively.”


On Bengals DT Geno Atkins and Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap:

“They still have it. They still have it in the tank when they want to let it rip. Geno inside has been a powerful, explosive player that if he is singled up enough, he is going to disrupt and he is going to shed and get off blocks. Same with Dunlap on the edge. He is long, athletic and on third downs, they really get it dialed up, get to an edge and really force you to get an idea of where they are at.”


On if he knows Bengals Head Coach Zac Taylor well:
“I do not.”


On having a group of TEs step up at different times compared to one consistently producing:

“We would like someone that is that, and you are always hopefully, it doesn’t matter where a player is in his career, we would be doing a disservice to that player to not think that they can still improve, that you can find what they do well and put them in the best positon to be successful, not only them individually but us on offense. We have tried to do that. I still think you are always looking at any position for a guy who can be a three-down player that can not only block but can do the things down the field that you want. Those guys are becoming more and more rare, though, in terms of the guys that are physical at the point and yet matchup problems on the perimeter. You are always looking for what is a player’s dominant trait, What is it about any player that you have, what role do they fill in terms of a matchup issue? You are always looking for that.”


On if he knew TE Stephen Carlson had that kind of stiff-arm in his arsenal:

“Did not. That was pretty impressive, and the catch he made battling for the ball in that under route that kept us from a turnover.”


On T Greg Robinson’s performance in recent weeks after not starting at LT in Week 8:

“We are talking about such a short turnaround here. We are talking about from playing to not to the bench. It is week to week in terms of every player, not just Greg. Greg is not the only one that way in that we all have a job to do. It is week to week with us. We all have a job to do to put the best product we can on the field. That is an assessment of every player. Now, certain players that have played well over time have a little bit longer leash, if that makes sense, in terms of their productivity in what they do weekly, but Greg is no different than any other player. If you do not produce, if you do not do the things on the field that give us a chance to win, then as an organization and as a team, you have to look to do something because that is what we are paid to do. We are paid to fix the puzzle and figure out the best way it is for us offensively to score, no matter who that may be.”


On if Beckham’s absence from OTAs, preseason games and some of training camp has carried over to a lack of ability to produce in the red zone:

“I would not say that. I would not say by now, no.”


On G Wyatt Teller’s development this season:
“I still think he is a young, developing player in terms of what he can be. We are still working through that. I think he has had his moments of playing really good football for us. He really has. We got him late towards the end of training camp. Initially, Kush was playing guard and he was a swing guy for us and now he is out there. I think you can continue to see his improvement and I think he is going to continue to improve because he is a powerful young man. He is a powerful young man, still learning and developing. That is what we hope each week that he is going to continue to grow.”


On if Mayfield’s statistics this year misrepresent the kind of QB he is and his potential:

“There is no doubt and like you said, that is a picture of for instance any statistical evidence that you have in an area you want to look at has its holes. Obviously, we have to do it collectively as a group better, but I think he is a tremendous, tremendous football player – competitor, smart, tough, has a rare competitive quality and a rare want to be great. That is the thing that I think is going to continue to push him and for him to push the rest of our offensive group. There have been some moments where we have not played as well around him and we have gotten behind a little bit, and he is competitive. He is a guy that over his career, I will be stunned if he is a guy that turns the ball over a lot. He does not have that in him. He does not. He is not careless with the football. If you look at it, one of his interceptions is a shovel pass at New England for God’s sake. That is not his fault. It is our fault, my fault for the way we designed it and the way it turned out. There are certain things. Sure there are others ones, but in my mind, we have the right guy going forward.”


On if Mayfield is dropping back slower than previous years and if that and his weight factor into some of his struggles:

“I do not think so. I do not see that as the issue. It is a little bit more difficult when you are in gun in terms of the quickness in your drop. You are already almost at the top of your drop. You would have to talk to him in terms of his vision and how he sees it from there because I can’t speak to that, but I have not seen that be an issue up to this point in terms of his weight or in terms of the speed of his drop. I have not seen that be an issue where would have said those thing, no. Collectively, we have to do it better and that is always the case. It is not as if I look and say, ‘Boy, it feels like over a certain amount of time the velocity is down’ or in terms of going through a progression. I do not see that. We have to do it better. That is a fact collectively, and when we do that, then we will continue to see our growth in consistency. That is what you are looking for is just the consistency against the best in the world, and that is what it comes down to is everyone doing their job consistently so that you are not choppy. That has been the big issue. It is just when we stop moving it, it is because we have been inconsistent and been choppy in terms of everybody taking their turns.”


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