The Cleveland Browns brought in Todd Monken as their offensive coordinator for this season and things are not quite working out.
The Cleveland Browns face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6. After that is a much needed bye week. A time which the Browns would be wise to do some evaluation of their coaching staff. Not Freddie Kitchens, but Todd Monken.
Todd Monken was brought over after three seasons in Tampa Bay to help take the Browns offense to the next level. With weapons such as Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb and of course Baker Mayfield, expectations were high. Cleveland has failed to live up to those expectations. A major part of the problem is the offensive concepts brought in by Monken and this has been going on for some time.
These concepts are deep pass plays. Plays that require Baker Mayfield to hold the ball longer than usual and wait for routes to develop. The idea being getting big chunks of yards in a single play. The problem? Cleveland’s offensive line is sub-par. Outside of Joel Bitonio and JC Tretter, the Browns line has been awful. Greg Robinson, Eric Kush and Chris Hubbard have not been able to protect adequately resulting in unnecessary pressure on Baker Mayfield. This is a huge problem.
Baker Mayfield excels with different concepts than what Todd Monken brings to the table
Baker Mayfield succeeds when lining up under center and running play-action. When in shotgun, it is when Mayfield is getting the ball out quickly. This is what the Browns did against the Ravens and were absolutely dominant. Mayfield was only hit one time in Baltimore. In Monday’s loss to San Francisco, the offense was essentially the complete opposite. Mayfield was hit eight times and a major part of that was the play calls that simply do not work.
The presence of Todd Monken is obviously a problem. The frequency of deep pass plays is hurting the offense more than it is helping. There is nothing wrong with the occasional deep pass play. The issue is how often Baker Mayfield is being asked to hold the ball while waiting for pass routes to develop. The line is simply unable to block long enough to make this a viable offensive strategy. This is resulting in unnecessary hits and continued offensive struggles.
The bread and butter of the Browns offense is quick pass plays. Attacking the defense quickly before they have time to react. The Browns can be that consistent while running RPO’s. This was completely obvious in Week 4’s win over Baltimore. Cleveland RPO’d them to death while getting a couple big plays along the way. Passes were quick and decisive. This is the complete opposite of what has been seen the other four weeks. The focus was on the offensive scheme that got Freddie Kitchens hired in the first place, not the plays that Todd Monken previously ran in Tampa.
There is nothing wrong with admitting a mistake in hiring someone.
The key is identifying it early enough. Sticking with the mistake because you are afraid to admit there was a mistake is a terrible strategy. Not wanting to address the mistake as soon as possible can lead to a ripple effect that lasts beyond this season. If the mistake can be undone sooner rather than later, it can potentially save a season.
Relieving Todd Monken of his duties during the bye week needs to be seriously considered. Especially if the offense lays another egg running his plays against Seattle in Week 6. Although a win on Sunday should not take this particular personnel move out of the realm of possibility.