The truth will come in early September, but new Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken plans to bring plenty of excitement to Tampa Bay.
Doubling as coordinator and wide receivers coach for an offense controlled primarily by head coach Dirk Koetter, Monken was officially introduced with a Thursday afternoon press conference where he didn’t skimp on the enthusiasm.
“I turn 50 in February and I’m the luckiest guy on the face of this Earth, are you kidding me?” said Monken, who comes to Tampa Bay after three years leading the University of Southern Miss. “Why wouldn’t I bring energy to this job? I like having fun. I don’t know what else I’d do if I didn’t coach. I might coach until I’m 80 years old, I have no idea. I’m so excited to be here I can’t see straight and it’s because I love to coach.”
“I don’t know why it has to feel like such drudgery. I just don’t, I never understood that. I want a fight song. We don’t have a fight song. I want a fight song. Isn’t a fight song cool? Call me a college guy. When I was in Jacksonville they called me a college guy. That’s great. I love that. I love coaching; the excitement of it. Why can’t it be fun? Watch the Carolina Panthers. They have fun. That looks like fun to me. I want to have fun. I want our quarterback to have fun. I want our guys up front to have fun. I want our locker room to have fun.”
Monken began his coaching career as an assistant at Grand Valley State in 1989 before bouncing around multiple universities and one NFL city. The 49-year-old spent four years in Jacksonville coaching wide receivers while Koetter served as the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator.
“Bottom line, it’s about the process. You’re talking about someone that is very, very detailed and organized and works as hard as anybody I’ve been around,” Monken said of Koetter. “I always thought when we were in Jacksonville together there was nowhere to turn. What I mean by that is there were no excuses; if we weren’t good enough, we weren’t good enough. But it wasn’t about preparation, it wasn’t that we weren’t going to be prepared or we didn’t coach the guys every single day and give unbelievable energy.”
Koetter said during his introductory press conference this month that he intends to handle play-calling duties and Monken said his role as offensive coordinator is still in development.
“My number one responsibility is to maximize the measurable skill set of our wide receivers,” Monken said. “That’s the number one job is to make sure I do my part with that room to help this offense continue to climb. Then the second part is, as we’re going through discussions, Coach Koetter and I, as to where that fits the organization during the week, there’s more to it than just calling the plays, the 60 or 70 plays in a game. I think both Dirk in his new role and my role here, that will continue to be an ongoing discussion.”
One of the more specific questions Monken was asked dealt with Bucs second-year wideout Mike Evans and his continued issues with dropped passes. What constitutes a drop is subjective and it isn’t an official NFL statistic, but multiple sources tracking drops rank Evans as the league’s worst offender this year.
“It’s repetition. That’s all it is, is repetition and putting yourself in those positions,” Monken said. “That’s all you do. And he’s a talented young man that I think is ascending and has everything in front of him as a player. I take that personally, and I hope he does. Where do you want to be? Where do you want to be in a week, two weeks, in a year, five years? What do you want out of this small opportunity that you have?
“He has good ball skills; it’s not a matter of that. I don’t think anybody’s saying he doesn’t have good ball skills and the ability to compete for the ball. He wants to do it, he’s talented. I’ve talked to a lot of people about him that have coached him in college and here. I’m excited to get started and I take that personally. My job is to make sure he doesn’t drop the ball. That’s it.”
Monken spent much of Thursday’s 14-minutes session speaking about his enthusiasm for coaching and the energy, excitement and explosiveness he wants to bring to the Tampa Bay offense.
“I came down and visited here seven months ago … and Dirk and I spoke again about how you win,” Monken said. “How do you win games? We went back to Southern Miss and talked about explosive plays, don’t turn it over, third-down conversions, touchdowns in the red zone and lost-yardage plays – don’t have them. It’s hard to drive it, and if you’re not explosive, you better be good on third downs so that you can continue drives. It’s all part of it. Bottom line: how can you be explosive? There’s a number of ways. Getting [the ball] to explosive players. Throwing the ball down the field, which Jameis [Winston] has shown he can do. It’s all of those things.
“I’ve always thought we don’t need more five-yard plays. Who needs more five-yard plays? How can we be explosive? That’s what the game’s about. People like big plays; I like big plays. So how do we not figure out ways to get explosive plays? That’s fun. That’s fun to me in football.”
Let’s have some fun!!! Go Bucs!
Fired up! Go Bucs!
Wish you guys would let up about Evans dropping a lot of passes. He had two bad games.
His first against the Texans when he came back from an injury and the other was against the Giants in the rain.
Totally agree drdneast. He did drop more passes than we would all like but they became magnified because of the losses. Some folks need to remember that Evans was a basketball player in HS and came out of college as a junior. He’s still learning. I also suspect he was pressing out of the frustration of losing. I do wish he’d stop with the flag throwing gesture. I also think he does much better with V-Jax opposite him as opposed to an undrafted rookie.
Looking back on it, I’ll admit that I wrote quite a bit about Evans and missed opportunities this year. A lot of people did, for sure. Maybe it comes off wrong at times, but for me, I never feel like I try to hammer the guy just for the sake of hammering him. I personally feel like Mike Evans is loaded with talent and we haven’t even seen it come to fruition yet. I guess there’s a frustration sometimes because you see it and want what it could be but it’s just not quite there.
How refreshing to hear a coach understand that people should find enjoyment in their chosen profession and have fun with it. I often say that I actually like some of the difficult and challenging situations because it brings a sense of accomplishment when the goal is achieved.
I’m sure there will be folks here who have the belief that one must be miserable at work as if it’s a company policy. You can take the job just as seriously with a smile on your face. Even those little dwarfs whistled while they worked……….except Grumpy.
Grumpy here….. With this guy and Dirk I will be whistling also!! Go Buc’s!
Scubog; agree. I use to tell my employees if you aren’t happy in your job, how can I help you; if not, then you have to consider moving on to something else that will help you to be happy.
I really believe that this individual would iopen the offensive if they get the players fron Veterans,Free Agents and Rookies-Go Bucs
Hi Sneezy here. We need a burner WR. Also, I like this guy, but I still remember the last college OCs we hired.
I believe Jameis will show some class while wining, unlike Fig Newton. Can’t wait for the season.
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