Browns OC Todd Monken Spoke to the Media on Thursday Afternoon

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken:

On the Browns’ and QB Baker Mayfield’s struggles in the red zone this season compared to last season:

“Obviously, we are not doing it well enough. That is quite a major difference. There is no way to defend that. We have obviously – you are going to get tired of me every week saying it – it starts with scheming it better, practicing it better and executing it better. Really, that is how you do it because everybody has a hand in that – really, really does from how we scheme it, how we execute it, how we get the guys to practice it and then once we get down there, guys making plays as we saw the other night.”

On factors leading to Mayfield’s slower start this season:

“I wish it was that simple. Obviously, as I just said a second ago, I will take for instance say the other night – this is just a microcosm of where we have been at this point – we start off the game, we get good field position, we get a nice play to start it, on the very next play we have a drop and a mental error from the right tackle not going out and we immediately have a false start. You are on the road with an opportunity to really take the crowd out of it and get a fast start, and we do some things that we have unfortunately done too often and that is shoot ourselves in the foot with not doing it better than they do it. That is the start of it is that. We talked about it today earlier in terms of what does an effective offense look like. It starts with an effective game plan, giving ourselves opportunities and answers to what they are going to do, taking advantage of matchups, looks, taking it into the meeting rooms, then onto the field and executing it and carrying it over. We have not been able to do that consistently enough, and that is obvious. That is obviously the goal. We just have to find a way to do that better because if we do not, the product is going to continue to look like that.”

On if the Browns offense must exploit other matchups before a defense will allow WR Odell Beckham Jr. more freedom:

“There is a part of that. There is a part of it that teams do play players like Odell differently. They do. At times, you have to take advantage when they are not, which we have not as often as you would like. With all that being said, it does help when you have other players. We have said that before with balances, having enough people where they can’t just play a certain player or if all you have is a run game, they can load the box and you can’t throw it. Those are all pieces to it. How you formation people, where you put different individuals to give yourself a chance to give them the ball. Obviously, we are going to continue to do those things with all of our players to try and put them in the best position to be successful. With that being said, it is difficult when you have good skill players because you do want to run (RB) Nick Chubb. He is a good running back so you want to involve him. A couple weeks ago at the Ravens, he did not get as many opportunities, but it did not matter as much. Last week we had 49 snaps. We just did not have the ball that often and we did not get him the ball as often as we probably could.”

On factors leading to the ‘self-destruction’ and mistakes on offense that lead to negative situations and plays:

“It is hard to say exactly. Obviously, we are not doing it well enough, starting with myself and us coaches. We are all a part of it. I always used to say from a coaching perspective if you want some of the credit when you have success, you have to own it when you do not. You can’t say, ‘Boy, what a great scheme two weeks ago’, and then, ‘This week was a great scheme, we just have to execute.’ No, it is all of us that have to do a better job of installing it, players understanding what we expect out of a certain concept and then going on the field and making sure we execute it at a high level and then being able to take that over to the field. Right now, we have too many people taking turns at each individual person, which puts you in a positon to be really choppy. Like I said, after that first completion, it was not the same person that jumped offside that we had the errors with the play before. When you do that, it is going to look like that until we get it resolved collectively.”

On the advantages of using an empty shotgun formation in the red zone:

“I know what you are kind of getting at because of our lack of success down there in some ways as to why it comes up that way. One way can be matchups. Another can be space that you are creating for some of your receivers or looks that you see on tape that may carry over into a given gameplan. Sometimes you like certain tightened down sets more than others. Sometimes it comes up on third downs probably more than anything. Sometimes it has come up at the end of the game and then it comes down to the comfort level of the guy calling it. I am not backing out of it. Everybody has their personality and how they see the best way to attack somebody in any given part of the field, not just the red zone but early down distance, third downs. That is all part of it.”

On if it is tough joining a staff with new personnel and a new head coach in the NFL:

“I do not see it as tough. The tough part is not moving the ball and not winning. To me, that is the frustrating thing. There is nothing in terms of organizationally, the staff, those things or the players. There is nothing wrong with that. It is frustrating because we are paid to do a job and that is a fact. This is a bottom line business, and we are not as successful as we would like to be and that is not good enough. We have to find a way to be more consistent. I will say this, it is a week-to-week league. It does not take long to get some of these things resolved and all of the sudden, momentum is a powerful thing and you feel good about it. We obviously did not carry that over, but we are on to Seattle. I know everybody says that, but we have to be. It is what it is. We have to stop looking in the rearview mirror. We have assessed the issues that we have to try and address. Now, it is time to fix them because believe me, it is no fun coming in here and saying the same thing every week. I promise you, it is not. The bottom line is it is up to us to fix it. There is no one else coming to save us. It is not like we are going to hire four guys outside as a coaching staff and bring in 10 other players. We have what we have. This is what we have and we have to fix it.”

On if there is a sense of over-excitement with Mayfield’s passing in the red zone:

“My sample size is small. I do not see that in practice. There is a number of I didn’t think… Take for instance the other night, the throw to Antonio. I know he threw it on time – it was a pretty quick throw – but I did not see that. He was pretty in my mind decisive in where he was going with the ball. He saw it clean, threw it and we did not execute the play for God’s sakes. It was catastrophic. It completely changed the game. As average as we had played up to that point, it is changed. From then, it was not fun but at that point, we were OK. We were still finding our way, but we just did not execute. To say that in a small sample size, there are a lot of things that go into it. There really is. Not just him, it is just all of us. What can make a QB that way? Scheme. What can make a QB that way? Protection. What can make a QB that way? Route running. All of the above. It is not just one thing. I have not seen that so much yet in terms of the sample size.”

On if he felt there was frantic QB play on the final drive of the game against the Rams, referencing another goal line situation:

“Again, it came down at the end. I get what you are getting at but to me, a sample size is more than even just two handfuls of plays. To me, a sample size is a season. Since I was not here last year to me, it is more than that. Again, I understand where you are heading with it.”

On if WR Rashard Higgins returning can make a small or significant difference for the Browns offense and Mayfield:

“We want as many good players as we have on the field. Him coming back, certainly, Rashard is a good player and we will welcome him back when he is healthy.”

On if it is natural for a young QB like Mayfield to have dips in their performance at times or if the regression is alarming:

“I was not here last year so it is hard to assess what was done here a year ago. With any player, especially even younger players, you are going to have ups and downs, even your best players have times. Even your best baseball players go 0-4. Even your best basketball players have poor shooting nights. You have ups and downs as players. It happens more frequently when you are younger and when you are not playing as well around a player and when you are not doing it as well as you can do it, starting with us. It is never just one group. It is everybody. We are responsible for the product we put on the field and we have to do it better.”

On assessing the film, making corrections and implementing that to practices and games:

“It will take us probably longer than my time allots, but it is really not that difficult. Say we play a game. I will start with the beginning of the week. You get the film, you critique it and go through it and you look at it and say, ‘Why did we not execute this?’ Sometimes it has to do with us playing against the best in the world. If a guy does not win, a corner covers him or we lose and the guy gets a good pass rush. Then you assess those things and analyze from a practice model, what do we need to practice during the week, not only for us but for the opponent? What do we need to get better at technically? Those kinds of things so we do it better, irrespective of what we call or irrespective whatever the play call is, it does not matter if you call this route concept if we run a crappy hitch route. It does not matter if we call this certain play and we do not execute the technique or the fundamental that you are asking a certain player to do because at that point, it will not be about the call and it will be about how we do those things better, irrespective of who you are playing. That is the start when you are choppy is take care of yourself first, and take care of the scheme second. Repair those things you need repairing from a technical, mistake-filled issue that you have and then figure that out next. If you do not have those fixed, the game plan won’t matter at that point because you are game planning yet you are still not executing what you expect your guys to do. As I say, that is all of us. That is not any one particular group in general, but that is where we have to get to. Otherwise, we are going to get the same result. That is everywhere I have been. This is not the only place that this has come up. It is just fixing it. That is the main part.”

On if the Browns OL took a step back against the 49ers:

“I would not say that. I would just say that they are very good up front, and when you get behind a really good defensive front, it has a chance to look like that. This is how I see it. I thought we ran the ball fairly well considering the number of plays we had. We had the one long run by Nick but it was not as if ‘Boy, there is nowhere to run.’ We had opportunities so that in itself you would say I thought we did pretty good against a good defensive front and pretty good linebackers. When you get behind and you allow that type of talent to just tee off and not have to worry about other things, you are going to put yourself at risk. You just are, that is a fact. Some teams will not expose you as much as a team that has that kind of ability, and that is one that can if you get behind.”

On if the mistakes on offense are due to a lack of discipline, lack of understanding of the offense or other factors:

“I do not think it is not understanding the offense. God, I hope that is not the case. Obviously, some of the other things are collective. Call it what you will, we just have to do it better. Obviously from an understanding of what is expected of them, some it is in terms of just mental lapses. Some it is discipline and mental discipline in terms of pre-snap penalties that are going to bite you in the rear end. Some of it is we have to coach it better. That is a fact. There is no dodging this. We have to do it better.”

On if successful teams have all 11 guys doing their job perfectly or if teams overcome certain breakdowns within a play here and there:

“First of all, bad football loses before good football wins – you do not even give yourself a chance – so let us just start with that. There are times when you overcome that and someone makes and they are not as big of a factor in the play. You can have a receiver on the backside of a play screw up and you can still have a successful play and they are not a factor. You can have the same thing on defense where you have a bust on the perimeter but you get good pass rush and it never get exposed. The bottom line is everyone is going to have their fair share of mistakes. It is shrinking those so it looks like what you want it to look like. Stacking plays that look like what you want it to look like.”

On if the Browns are focusing more on winning, executing fundamentals and running the football first rather than developing the offense and players:

“I would hope that is what we are doing. I would hope that deep down that is our No. 1 goal, that we are trying to win the game and that we are trying to run the football. Sometimes, statistics can show a different side of that when you are losing. I do not think at one point the other night when it was still a ball game, if you looked at where probably at that point, our run-pass ratio would not have been so skewed. I know we run the football because I sit up there and I am charting it so I know at a certain point, it turns. It just does. All of the sudden, you go from balance to imbalance because the only you chance you have and you are not going to have enough possessions. You are just not. The clock is going to run on you. I would hope that we understand the formula for us to win and I know it is. I should not say I hope. That would be like I am not involved. It would be to run the football, play action, get the ball out of his hands quickly and be able to move the chains. Still, we want to be able to be explosive. We have good players, and obviously, when games get away from you, it becomes where there is an imbalance there. I really do not think that is what we are trying to do is to develop an offense or to do anything other than do what we think is in the best interest of the Browns and in the best interest of the Browns to move the football, win collectively as a team and play complementary football. If I thought that, which I do not because I do not see that, sometimes it may look like that, but I do not think that is what we are trying to do. I think we are trying to run the football first, play complementary football and not turn it over – all of the things that give you the best chance to win.”

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