OC Todd Monken (9.5.19)

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken:

On excitement for Sunday’s game after seeing the full Browns offense practice this week:

“You have to have bullets to move the football so it is fun to have those guys out there and keep developing the rapport that (QB) Baker (Mayfield) needs to have with those guys.”


On challenges the Browns offense will face going up against the Titans defense:

“First off, when you watch them on tape, they play awfully hard. I know that is easy to say, but they play collectively well together, probably better than their pieces would indicate, even though I think they have a really good number of football players. They collectively do a great job of not giving up a number of explosive plays. You look at the explosive tape from a year ago, you did not see a lot of balls thrown over their head and you did not see a lot of explosive runs so teams had to earn it. They did a nice job in the red zone so they forced teams to kick field goals.”


On what separates WR Odell Beckham Jr. from other NFL receivers in terms of skillset and intangibles:

“I have not been around him that long. First of all, he is a really gifted athlete. Let’s start with that. His balance, body control, ball-tracking ability and his hands, just start with that part of it that is unique and rare. Then you combine that with he is a really smart football player. I do not think people understand that part of it and how important it is to him to know what to do, how to do it and where we want him. I think that is probably a big part of it. He has a unique skillset.”


On if he knew much about RB D’Ernest Johnson before the Browns signed Johnson:

“No, I did not know much about him. Crazy enough, we were 20 miles from each other and did not know much about him. He is an excellent football player. One thing he has – when you are talking about Odell you are talking about unique skillset – when you are talking about D’Ernest is you are talking about a unique mental toughness. His physical talents are solid, but he is a smart, tough football player that you can count on. It carries a guy a long way.”


On Johnson’s ability to pick up blitzes, including opponents much larger than him:
“Some guys just have edge.”


On level of comfort at RG:

“We are fine at right guard. Every team has different spots where you have competition. (G Eric) Kush has been in this league a long time. He is a good football player. Whether it is him, some of the guys we brought in or (G) Austin (Corbett), we anticipate that they will play well.”


On game planning the week, including with the QBs:

“Everywhere that I have been, this is no exception where you have everyone involved in the gameplan process. You use the expertise of the coaches. Very rarely do you have a staff and I do not think you want to have a staff where you have individual coaches that do not have input into certain areas. We divide up areas as a staff and then we go into the room and decide and break it apart. There is a run part, a protection part and some of the pass game that you are talking about. Everybody has different roles in that. It is everybody’s job and role to be a big part of our game planning and what we see. In my opinion, not one person can see it all so that is how everyone fits that together. Baker is a big part of it and (QB) Drew Stanton is, as well, being a part of this system in Arizona. He is a big help in that part of it and sees things as most guys who have played as long as he has, and he is really smart. He adds a lot to what we do on a weekly basis.”


On combatting potential double-team coverage on Beckham:

“There will be times, especially in the red zone, I anticipate that they will double Odell. They have shown that in the past. Not just Odell, they have shown that against the top receivers in the league that they will try their best to take away your best players, especially once you get towards the red zone. I think you have to do a good job of moving around. I think you have to do a good job of running the football where they do not want to take people out of the middle of the field to double a receiver. You have to find a way to take advantage of where he is at and then when other players have a one-on-one matchups, they have to win. That is the point of having good skill players that when they double one or decide to bracket not only him another player is you have some matchup issues for them.”


On if Beckham and Mayfield can make up for not having played together in the preseason:

“I think so. With every player you have, I do not care how long they have played together, it is always going to be a work in progress collectively between the two of them and getting on the same page. It is not nearly as hard when you are talking about maybe a free-access route or something simple, but obviously, when a player is pressed or something you have put in a given week or something that you don’t rep nearly as often, it is critical.”


On if he is eager to see the Browns potential offensive power with all players on the field:
“Sure. It is only going to continue to get better in four weeks getting AC (WR Antonio Callaway) back and in eight weeks getting (RB) Kareem (Hunt) back. You are going to add to that as you get going. We are excited to see it. It is hard, you used to get a little bit better gauge in my mind in the preseason, because more guys played. You played more often where you are. I am not sure anyone knows exactly where they are at right now. You have a feeling of where you are, you like your players’ mindsets. You can’t fear the season. That is what you do it for. It will be fun to get out there and see where we are at with the work we have put it. We have not used (RB) Nick (Chubb) a lot really. I do not know how many times Nick carried the ball in the preseason if he has so it will be exciting to see him because he is a weapon, and even (TE) David Njoku. We will see.”


On Chubb:

“Well, he is a pro. I know he has only been in the league one year, but he just goes out there every day and works. It is fun to have a guy back there who you feel like you can turn around and hand the ball off and the quarterback can take a break. He can break tackles and run downhill. That is a great luxury to have.”


On if it is detrimental that NFL players do not play as much during the preseason:

“If you would have asked me a few years ago, I would have said yes, I would of. As a coach, I do not think that you go in the profession believing that reps do not matter, I do not think you ever go thinking that we really do not need to practice to play a game. The statistics over the last couple of years with experience players and some of the other teams would say differently. They would say that it is not nearly as important as I would have thought if that makes sense. Watching the Rams last year when a number of their players did not go to the preseason and they were fine. I hold back a little bit of judgement there. From a coaching perspective, I do believe that reps matter. Otherwise, what do they need us for?”


On if he is conscious about touches for players going into a game:

“I have said many times before, I think balance is utilizing all of your skill players. They have to defend the field, maybe not always run-pass but by who your skill players are. What helps that is having really good skill players. This worked out last year, we had a number of players that deserved the opportunity to make plays in the game. They were talented players. We were blessed that way at tight end and receiver. I have been places before where you do not have as many of those guys so now you have to move certain players around to try and get their matchups to utilize their skillset. It goes both ways. You would like to have enough skill players to balance that, but if not, then you have to find a way to continue to feed the players that are your premier players and your advantage players. You can’t get away from that just for the sake of balance. It is a big part of it, but I would say you still want to feed your players that are deserving of that. I guess the best way to put it.”


On how much the team can get out of coaching during meetings and reviewing film:

“It is all part of the learning and developing process of anything we do, whether it is the initial teaching part of showing someone on a PowerPoint or a slip of paper that starts off with a plan, and then it is actually going and doing it or going on the field and doing some of your individual drills and then taking it to the field and then coming back, taking notes and watching it on tape. It is an eye-opener, I think tape is one of the most valuable things that we have not only in game planning but in players seeing because at times, I think that they understand that the picture is going to show exactly what they did because the memory of what they thought they did and what had actually ended up happening, like all of us. It just looks different. It just does. I realized that years ago. Let me tell you a little story here just as a reference because I forget and then it comes to me at age 53. We used to play noon basketball hoops all the time at Eastern Michigan 20 years ago, and I had this envision of myself that when we played I was Danny Ainge or John Stockton. I was really talented and them someone came and videotaped our practice, and I realized when I thought I was jumping three feet off the ground, I was getting three inches. I did not look nearly as smooth and as athletic as I thought. From a player standpoint for them to be able to see it and what you are teaching them, I think it is important.”


On meeting time and film study being one of biggest changes from high school, college and NFL football:

“We get more time with them. I think that is the biggest thing. The time maybe not in the offseason because that shrunk, but when we do have them here during the season, we have them here all day. It is a job. Like anything that any of us do, you are going to get better at whatever you put time into. Whatever you decide to put your time into, you are going to continue to get better if you attack it the right way, which these guys do because they are the best in the world.”


On if there was a noticeable change with Beckham when returning to team drills:

“You have to speak to him with how his body felt. That is probably the biggest thing is he has played long enough to know where his body stands and where he wants to put himself in a position to push. Obviously, it is about getting to gameday so you would have to talk to each individual player. It is fun seeing him running around. I am not sure yet we have even seen him full speed yet, but he has been building himself to get him to that point. We are excited to get going.”


On WR Rashard Higgins’ strengths:

“Consistency. That is the biggest thing with Rashard. He can play all three positions. You can move him around a little bit. That is the probably biggest thing is you can count on him. He does a nice job when Baker is under duress. You can see that in years past. I have said in terms of being an outlet for him. I think Baker has a trust in him playing all those positions. I think that is probably the No. 1 thing. He is another one of those things that if you probably looked at any particular part of his game, you would say that there is not one dominant trait but he does a lot of things really well. It gives you comfort as a coach and allows you when you go into a game, especially now with his role increasing, our confidence that he will continue to have success.”


On WRs playing the slot position, specifically in reference to Higgins spending more time there:

“The learning part of it is just about reps. It is completely different when you are lined up outside and the type of routes that you run and the looks that you get from a corner compared to nickel and the type of traffic you have to navigate around, and the ball gets on you quicker. When you are in the slot in terms of your hand-eye coordination and your quickness, that is what is a little bit different. The ball travels a lot further obviously when you are outside. We know that, but your matchups are different, your routes are different and your spatial awareness is different. That is where a guy can play in, there but obviously, the more they reps inside because it is different than being outside, the efficient he will be in terms of decision making. Utilize that guy in two-minute. Utilize that guy in third down. Utilize him from a matchup issue and at times getting their third corner or their nickel. From a game-planning standpoint and also from a learning curve, it is important for our guy to get some reps in there.”


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