Todd Monken has shied away from using any pronouns when he describes how the Browns offense will look in 2019.
The veteran coordinator didn’t come to Cleveland to put his personal stamp on the attack. Instead, he’s relished in the opportunity to be a key piece in what he views as a collaborative effort that not only includes coach Freddie Kitchens, who will call the plays on game days, but also the team’s other offensive assistants, such as offensive line coach James Campen, wide receivers coach Adam Henry and running backs coach Stump Mitchell.
“There are a lot of idea guys. I will be one of them,” Monken said after Wednesday’s OTA, the fifth of the offseason. “Do I think all of our coaches on offense will have their thumbprints on it? I would hope so. I would hope that all of our coaches feel free to have input and they have.
“That is a good sign where you have a number of guys that can have input into what you do on a weekly basis. I think it builds a better staff when everybody has a piece of it as opposed to ‘Hey, here is what we are doing’ and you lay it out for somebody. That is what I liked when I met Freddie.”
Check out photos from the fifth day of OTA practices
From the moment Kitchens took the reins as offensive coordinator midway through last season, he opened his ears to the players around him as he made tweaks small and large to an offense installed months earlier by Todd Haley. The terminology remained the same, but the calls came from a different place. Those calls, as Kitchens described throughout the process, were derived from days and days of conversations with the players most integral to the team’s offensive success.
All of what the Browns did from the second half of the season to the beginning of the offseason, when Kitchens was tabbed as the full-time head coach, played a part in enticing Monken to choose Cleveland over a handful of other offers around the league. It wasn’t about calling plays or fancy titles.
For Monken, it was about fit, and he’s liked the feel so far.
“We have a job for our players, and I think Freddie believes that. I always want to coach for someone that recognizes that we have a job for our players and putting the players first. It has been good so far, and I don’t anticipate that to be different,” Monken said. “My job is to do whatever Freddie asks me. That is the job of any assistant coach is to. Everybody asks what is your role? Your role is exactly what the head coach asks you to do.”
Monken said it was too early to describe just how much different Cleveland’s offense would look in 2019 compared to 2018. It’s been a thorough process as the team has gone through five of eight install periods thus far. Monken promised “next offseason will be a lot easier” because of all the work that’s been required behind the scenes in crafting the desired identity of the 2019 Browns’ offense.
“By the middle of next week, we will have most of everything installed. Now, it is the matter of finding it and doing it better than they do it. That is really what it comes down to,” Monken said. “We have ideas of what we want to be able to run and what we like against a certain opponent, but then eventually, the guy that calls it, the head coach or the coordinator has to make that decision.
“At this point, it is hard to say, but obviously, I think what they did last year is part of why I wanted to be a part of it.”
Photos from Wednesday's workouts