OC Todd Monken (8.1.19)

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken:

On what he has learned about QB Baker Mayfield as a leader in the meeting room and on the practice field:

“Nothing has really changed from when I first got here. He is not afraid to own it when he makes mistakes and hold others accountable when they do.”


On the significance of the day-to-day grind of training camp:

“It is hard for me to look at it as a grind considering I am 53 years old and it doesn’t feel like as much of a grind as it did 30 years ago with a day off every now and then and one-a-days. The mental part of pushing through, it is not an easy thing to play. With the physical part of it, you are going to have bumps and bruises and you are going to be sore. It is being able to push through that and being able to execute. That is the No. 1 thing offensively is finding a way to execute. That is the big part of it.”


On creating a physical mentality in camp, particularly with the running periods:

“I just think that is Coach’s (Head Coach Freddie Kitchens) mentality. I think that is where that comes from. Being able to run the football and making sure we have a tough team.”


On if the offense is developing on the expected timetable:

“I do not know timetable wise. We have a lot of work to do.”


On how WR Odell Beckham Jr. helps the offense expand its potential and creativity:

“He is a special talent in that he can play all three positions. He is not a guy that probably is not as comfortable inside. He is comfortable inside. He can play all three positions. You can move him around and find ways to get him the ball. He has been great so far.”


On if this training camp feels different or similar to past training camps in his career:

“It all depends on the day. Offensively, if we get our rear ends kicked, it does not feel very good, and if we do well it feels really good. It is fine. It is what it is. It is Day 7 for us and you are giving a lot of guys reps so it is trying to stack plays together and trying to limit the mistakes you have. You are not only trying to develop your package and develop your players but also evaluate the depth of your roster.”


On challenges for the Browns OL practicing against DE Myles Garrett and the Browns DL:

“He certainly challenges us. Whenever he is out there challenging your edges, you certainly have to have preparation. We aren’t game planning our guys but you definitely want to slide to him or chip help. They are capable against anyone if you put them one on one. When you have special players, they are hard matchups. Odell is a hard one-on-one matchup. We are trying to develop (TE) David (Njoku) into a hard one-on-one matchup. If you have a running back that is elite out of the backfield, he is a hard one-on-one matchup. If you have corners that can play man to man, they are a hard one-on-one matchup so it is about matchups, and then if you don’t have a matchup, how do you compensate for it.”


On Garrett’s potential this year:

“He has a chance to be special. With his size and athleticism, his ability to bend. He is hard to handle off the edge.”


On there are concerns the Browns do not yet have an idea who the RG will be:

“To say that we do not have an idea is a little bit of a stretch. I would just say there is competition there like a lot of positions. Whether it is the backend of your roster or specific positions, I do not think we are any different than the rest of the NFL. Very rarely do you have 22 positions where you know exactly where your starters are. We just happen to have a number of spots we believe where we are, but the competition is still there. Very few people are in the position to not play well and yet take the field as our top 11 on either side of the ball.”


On RB Nick Chubb and what makes him special:

“It is hard to say because I think his talent shows through when the physical part comes out. He is a really good one-step, one-cut guy downhill and it is hard to get your hands on him and he is faster than you think and he has the ability to finish runs. That part of it has been good. It has been impressive and when you turn on the film. That is what you expect to see.”


On if he has more opportunities to teach during this training camp as opposed to past years and also how the process will work differently on gameday with Head Coach Freddie Kitchens calling plays:

“It is a two-fold question so the first part, if you are asking about practice, there are teaching moments whether or not I am in this role. I think what happens is if you are a walk-around coordinator then you have more teaching moments with a variety of position groups where when you are coaching a position that is that group. On gameday, I do not know. The expectation is I will do whatever the head coach asks.”


On if he sees the potential and similarities with the Browns personnel, compared to the personnel he had in Tampa Bay and their No. 1 passing offense last season:

“I do not know about all of that. I do like our weapons that we do have so whether it is a running back, receiver or tight end, we do have a number of guys that we should be able to get the ball to, but it still remains to be seen. We were not as deep at running back last year as we are here so it is a little different. We were probably a little bit deeper at wide out so how we get to that remains to be seen.”


On what he has learned about Mayfield that he did not know previously:

“You are going to have a preconceived notion like a lot of players. Just like when I was in Tampa with (Buccaneers QB) Jameis (Winston), you can have a preconceived notion from the outside of what you think someone is and rarely is that really who they are. At the core from a competitive nature standpoint, I have said this many times, he is what I thought he was. He likes to have fun and he loves to play football, but do not confuse that with that he just clowns around because he does not. It is important to him. It is important to the meetings. He asks great questions. He wants to be on the same page. He wants to be elite. When you are that way, all of these guys want to be elite players, but he is at the top of that group.”


On how Mayfield is grasping the combination of offensive concepts from the coaching staff:

“It is fine because it is important to him to ask. He hates grey but he loves taking control so that is the good thing. How do you have structure yet allow him the freedom – which I have been around when we are really good, you give quarterbacks and our skill guys the freedom – to see and change things at the line of scrimmage and empower them to be a huge part of the offense, which he loves that part of it. It fits in my world. It fits in Freddie’s world so that is why I wanted to be here. Freddie and I specifically being on the same page with how you would go about game planning and the empowerment you give the quarterback and how he embraces that. (QB) Drew Stanton is the same way. We have some guys that want that. Not every guy has that. Not every guy wants that responsibility.”


On reports saying his transition into the offense and his role were not as smooth as desired:

“I do not really know how to answer that other than. For any assistant coach, your role is to do what the head coach asks you to do. Whatever we do offensively, it is the Cleveland Browns offense. It is what we do. There is not a place I have been where there is not differing opinions, you are building an offense and you are working through it. I do not know where that comes from. It really does not bother me because we know what we are building. It is not coming from my end. Freddie already addressed it. To me, it has been great. To me, when someone says Freddie is going to be more involved, that is silly. He is the head coach and he is going to call the plays. I do not get that. It makes no sense to me. When I was at Oklahoma State, guess who was involved? Mike Gundy. When I was in Tampa, guess who was involved? Dirk Koetter. It is absolutely silly.”


On if the Browns offense will be fun to watch and entertaining and if that is important to him:

“God, I hope so. I have been around when it is not fun and that is awful for coaching. That is kind of a crazy question because the normal answer would be, ‘No, do what you need to do to score and win enough, you do not have to be that way’ but in the end, I think it should be fun. I think it should be fun to watch. I think we have really good skill players. I do not think we are going to be in a position to where you think, ‘OK, wow, we are going to have to protect the defense. We are going to have to run it. If we punt, we punt.’ Believe me, I am all for 10-7 games if that is what it takes and I am for it if you have to score more, but ultimately, the fun and what I like is exciting plays and getting your playmakers in space. It should be fun. That is what it should be. It should be fun for our players to utilize all of your skills. To me, that is balance. It is not run-pass. It is do you have enough skill players touching the ball as balance and using the whole field as balance.”


On if he and Kitchens have determined how their two offensive philosophies will mesh:

“It is not really a mesh. It is the Browns offense and Freddie was here last year. I think that is a little bit of a misnomer to say that we are meshing it in the fact that everywhere I have been we mesh ideas, if that makes sense. Like last year at Tampa for instance, we have what we do base wise, but in the offseason you study things and you collectively put it together and that is what we were going to be. Here, it is the same way. Freddie has ideas. Obviously, he got the job because of who he is as a coach and a man and also offensively. You are just taking that and what now that we have a chance to install, what do we want to do? To say that meshing it is what they do before, now everybody has ideas. (Offensive line/associate head coach) James Campen has ideas and different coaches. (Quarterbacks coach) Ryan Lindley is in a different position. We all have different ideas. The key is whoever is head coach, play caller ultimately someone has to decide what we are doing. That is it. At the end of the day, everybody has ideas. On every staff, everybody has ideas, but there can only be one chief and there has to be a lot of really good braves. That is how it works.”


On if the creation of the Browns offense this year is similar to the combination of concepts that occurred during his time at Oklahoma State:

“Somewhat, other than when I got there I was in charge of it. A little bit of that was I took that over and then they were really good and I just did not want to screw it up, but I was going to call it. That part of it was different. Here as a part of it, that is why I came here because it is important to me; I have been on the other side of it. Do I like calling the offense? Of course. Do I like developing the gameplan? Of course. More importantly, you want to be around really good players and you want to be able to move the football because when you are a part of it and you do not, I do not care what role you have, it stinks. That was a big part of me coming here. I wanted to be around good players. Part of that reason is why I went to Stillwater. I did not leave the NFL to go somewhere where they were awful on offense. I calculated where I was heading. Just like here, you calculate where you want to go. You want to be around good players.”


On Mayfield and the offensive developing chemistry and timing:

“I think the old saying ‘The road to success is always under construction.’ You are never done. At one point, I heard someone ask (former NFL QB) Peyton Manning, ‘How do you get that timing with your receivers and how do you consistently have that year after year?’ His comment was, ‘You never get tired of throwing the same routes over and over and over.’ You never get tired of it. You can’t get tired of throwing an under, an inside post or a curl route that seems so simple. You can’t ever get tired of doing that and I think that part of it when you have guys that really love football. Now, the working progress is getting guys in camp. You know having the O (Beckham) is a big part of that. The more they work together, the more they feel the nuances and the more he learns what we expect, but David is still a working progress. Your running backs, (RB) Kareem (Hunt) is just here and then we will lose him for a little while. It is always under construction. The more you rep things, the more successful you will be. Whatever you are doing over and over and over and over, like all of us, we get good at what we do constantly.”


On envisioning RB Duke Johnson Jr. to have a significant role in the offense:

“Hard to say. I have been around Duke basically in minicamp when he was here and then for a couple of days. I see what I see on tape. There are things that you like, that is for sure, but it is hard to say that without getting him on the field. You are going to need some guys that can make plays with the ball in their hands. He happens to be one of those guys. You are always looking for matchup guys that give you opportunities to create explosives. That is part of our game is how do you create explosive plays. He is a guy that can create explosives. You can find a lot of guys that can get you four-yard plays. Who is the space player that can get you explosive plays? Duke happens to be one of those guys.”


On what WR Antonio Callaway needs to show more:

“Right now, everybody is rotating so much. To his credit, I think he has worked himself… I should not say his credit; hell, he came in a little bit out of shape probably. The last seven days, he is getting himself back in shape, putting himself in position. You can see that in starting to feel more comfortable and makes plays so I really like him. He really has tremendous upside. We all know that. You guys saw it last year. He is explosive. He has really good down the field ball tracking ability. There is a lot to like there. It is just he is still a very young player in this league to go from a skill player to a wide receiver. He is still developing himself as a wide receiver and developing the trust with the quarterbacks.”


On how much have the coaches have been on Callaway about his conditioning:

“Not really. It is pretty easy to see. I can’t tell you what (wide receivers coach) Adam (Henry) says to him, but you can see and I am sure he feels it, as well. That is a tough part with the way collective bargaining is that you bring him back and you work and then you let him go. You have five or six weeks and then you come back. Luckily, he has not pulled anything. He has been fine. Today was probably his best day in my opinion of what we saw one on one’s. The one thing that I really like about AC is that he is very coachable. He wants you to coach him. He wants to hear what you have to say. We have a lot of guys like that. He is not the only one. I really like that about our team. We do not have a lot of guys, including our high-profile guys [that don’t want coaching]. They want to be coached. They want to be told how they can be better and they ask questions, which is great. That is what you want when you are doing it for a living. You think you can make an impact and help.”


On if it was surprising that Callaway was not in shape when returning to camp, given his past:

“Did you get a deadline or a date of when that vow was going to start? Someone can vow to lose five pounds and that can be over a year. It just depends on when that end date is. He is working himself to be in that position. I thought today he was really good.”


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