The fact that his personnel decisions and play-calling helped drive the Cleveland Browns to a 5-3 record in the second half of last season had a lot to do with why Freddie Kitchens was given the vacant head coaching job this offseason. He personally let it be known that he would continue to call the plays. But the team still hired an offensive coordinator anyway.
That would be Todd Monken. And to hear him talk, it’s hard to clearly envision what his role is going to be as differentiated from the responsibilities as all of the other coaches.
“There are a lot of idea guys. I will be one of them”, Monken told reporters at the conclusion of one recent OTA session about the Browns’ offense heading into next season. “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”.
Naturally, just about any good, functioning organization is going to crowdsource ideas. There might be one or two exceptions where there is a clear mastermind whose vision is best not tampered with, like a house of cards that will collapse if not done with patience and a clear vision in mind.
But the offensive coordinator, generally speaking, has that title for a reason. He’s the one who’s supposed to coordinate the offense, or so the title implies. So is he just going to be taking in what everybody says and gluing pieces together?
“That is a good sign where you have a number of guys that can have input into what you do on a weekly basis”, he said. “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”.
I’m sure he liked Kitchens just fine. I’m just unclear about what Monken is going to be doing, and why he is there. Monken himself said of his responsibilities, “my job is to do whatever Freddie asks me”, this sounds more like an offensive assistant than a coordinator.
“That is the job of any assistant coach is to”, he went on. “Everybody asks, ‘what is your role’?’. Your role is exactly what the head coach asks you to do”. Sure. But generally you know what you’re being asked to do based on the title you’re given. That doesn’t seem to be the case here.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that (cue the Seinfeld references).
Regardless of whatever Monken’s role might be, as long as it positively contributes to the team, it really doesn’t matter who holds what title or even carries out what tasks. It’s the results that matter, and the solutions to achieve those results, regardless of where they come from.