Like Steve Wilks, Todd Monken had other opportunities. Enticing opportunities, at that.
The former Tampa Bay offensive coordinator interviewed for head-coaching vacancies with a handful of teams and opportunities to continue calling plays for a number of others.
Instead, Monken chose the Browns, where the specifics of his collaborative role are still coming together.
“We will see,” Monken said when asked about his specific duties as offensive coordinator. “I have been here seven days.”
As Monken sees it, his job, along with every other assistant’s job, is to follow Freddie Kitchens’ lead. But he isn’t concerned about the authority he’ll wield in this new job. In fact, it was his a tertiary concern when choosing his next landing spot. First, he looked for opportunities to win, including a franchise quarterback. Next, he looked for people with compatible personalities to his. Then he looked at play-calling responsibility.
Those priorities carried significant gravitas with his new boss.
“I’m very impressed that Todd made the decision to come here,” Kitchens said during his introductory press conference. “He showed an investment in me and showed an investment in what we’re trying to build and the vision of where we’re taking this thing. Good coaches, that’s what they do. That’s what they make their decisions based off of.”
It appears Monken is just as impressed with Kitchens. Monken wouldn’t choose a job where he knows no one and his responsibilities aren’t clearly defined if the opportunity to win didn’t excite him. He clearly believes the Browns second-half hot streak from last season is sustainable, and he said he thinks his and Kitchens’ personalities will mesh amiably.
He’s impressed by general manager John Dorsey, too. Yes, the Browns boast several draft picks and plenty of cap space, but you can’t be excited about that unless you believe in the person who controls those assets.
“I felt good about his past,” Monken said of Dorsey.
And just about everyone feels good about the Browns’ future. But as Monken acknowledged, it’s easy for everyone to act excited right now, to put off crossing the proverbial bridges until they arise. The real test of the new Browns regime will come when adversity hits during the course of the season. Then again, he wouldn’t have passed up better textbook career moves if he didn’t think this franchise could withstand those moments.
“Right now, this is the honeymoon,” Monken said. “(The Browns) had a great run here the back half of the year, and we will see. We have a good young roster and I like what I see so far, and hopefully, they (like what they see) in me.”