Todd Monken

Browns To Interview Rich Scangarello For OC

While working on their GM and defensive coordinator roles, the Browns are now moving along with their offensive coordinator search. New HC Kevin Stefanski plans to interview recently fired Broncos OC Rich Scangarello for the role, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

The interview is expected to take place Monday or Tuesday, per Cabot. The Broncos fired Scangarello less than a week ago, bringing in former Browns HC Pat Shurmur to head up their offense.

Stefanski is expected to call plays in Cleveland but has indicated he is not committed to doing so. Scangarello worked as the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach prior to moving to Denver in a play-calling role. The Broncos’ offense ranked 28th in both points and yards this season, but the first-time NFL OC did not have too much to work with, talent-wise. That would be less of an issue in Cleveland.

Scangarello, 47, oversaw an offense forced to use three quarterbacks due to injury. But the Broncos finished 4-1 once Drew Lock took the reins, and it came as a surprise when Vic Fangio fired his first-year coordinator. Perhaps Scangarello’s most impressive showing, however, came when he helped first-time starter Brandon Allen to a midseason victory over the Browns.

Previous Browns OC Todd Monken recently accepted an offer to become Georgia’s OC. The Browns have used three different offensive coordinators since the start of the 2018 season, going from Todd Haley to Freddie Kitchens to Monken.

The Browns’ 2019 offense, despite being one of the league’s most-hyped units, was a massive disappointment. The Kitchens-orchestrated attack ranked 22nd in both points and yards, frequently prone to mismanagement and failing to fully unleash prized trade acquisition Odell Beckham Jr. Stefanski and the new OC will be tasked with rejuvenating Baker Mayfield, who took a step back after a strong finish to 2018.

Coaching Rumors: Jaguars, Browns, Panthers, Patriots

The 2019 regular season is winding down, which means the coaching carousel is about to start ramping up. Earlier today the Falcons announced Dan Quinn would be back for 2020, crossing one potential opening off the list. This is shaping up to be a potentially quiet year in terms of number of coaches fired, but there should still be a good amount of action. One man still on the hot seat is the Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone. The latest reporting indicated the Jags were leaning toward keeping Marrone and GM Dave Caldwell, and we have more info to back that up now. Tony Khan, the team’s EVP and son of owner Shad Khan, is expected to take on an increased role in the organization, according to Albert Breer of SI.com.

That’s good news for Marrone and Caldwell, since Breer writes that the younger Khan has a good relationship with both. He further adds that “things are trending toward” the duo “surviving the weekend.” Tom Coughlin, the team’s head of football operations, was fired recently and has been taking the brunt of the blame for the organization’s spiral.

Here’s the latest from around the league:

  • There’s been a lot of speculation that Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens could be one and done, as Cleveland has been a dumpster fire all year long. Breer writes that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam initially seemed inclined to keep him around for a second year, but that recently Haslam has “kept his cards closer to the vest.” Even if Kitchens survives, Breer says he expects there to be significant changes to his staff. It’s been “an open secret that offensive coordinator Todd Monken hasn’t been happy” this season, he reports. How the Browns fare in Week 17 against the 1-14 Bengals could go a long way in determining Kitchens’ future.
  • Everyone that Breer has talked to indicated that the Panthers are going to conduct an extensive search for Ron Rivera’s replacement. Notably, Breer has learned that the search is expected to include a college coach or two. Baylor coach Matt Rhule and Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley have been two college coaches heavily linked to NFL jobs recently. New owner David Tepper is looking to put his stamp on the team, and it’ll be very interesting to see which direction he heads. He’s been very keen on analytics, so a younger offensive-minded hire wouldn’t be surprising. Further, Breer writes to “keep an eye out” for Josh McDaniels and the Panthers. The Patriots offensive coordinator nearly took the Colts’ job two cycles ago, and will be a hot name again this time around. Whoever the Panthers hire “will have considerable say over the football operation, in areas like strength-and-conditioning, training and video,” Breer reports.
  • Speaking of the Patriots, Nick Caserio isn’t the only exec in their building who could get poached. Breer speculates that McDaniels could try to lure pro personnel director Dave Ziegler with him if he leaves to become a head coach. Given that Caserio and director of college scouting Monti Ossenfort are both on expiring contracts, Breer thinks the Pats might work hard to retain Ziegler.

Odell Beckham Jr. Will Undergo Offseason Surgery?

09:29am: ESPN’s Josina Anderson says Beckham texted her this morning and told her that he has not yet made a decision as to whether he will have surgery this offseason (Twitter link). However, he did confirm that he has been in pain since training camp.

08:30am: Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has largely disappointed during his first year in Cleveland. Although he is on pace for a 1,000-yard season, he has just two touchdowns and has caught just 55.3% of his targets, a career low. But there could be a reason for the disconnect between OBJ and quarterback Baker Mayfield.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Beckham has been playing through a serious and painful sports hernia injury that will require surgery in the offseason. The injury has not forced him to miss any game action, but it has kept him out of practice a great deal, so he and Mayfield have not had as much time to develop chemistry as they would like.

As Rapoport observes, Beckham has been on the injury report every week this season with either a hip or groin ailment. Hernias are sometimes characterized as hip or groin injuries, which adds credence to RapSheet’s report.

But as Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com writes, the hernia injury is not the only thing keeping Beckham’s production from taking off. Her sources say the Browns’ offensive design is inherently flawed and that there is a disconnect between head coach Freddie Kitchens and offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Some believe that the team’s QBs, including third-stringer Drew Stanton, have too much influence over the game plan, and Beckham has admitted that he has had a hard time keeping his frustration in check.

Beckham did make some headlines earlier this week when he declined to definitively say that he wants to be back with the Browns in 2020. However, Rapoport (unsurprisingly) says it would be far-fetched to expect Cleveland to trade OBJ this offseason. But the club may make major changes to its coaching staff, so between that shake-up and Beckham’s surgery, perhaps Beckham can return to form next year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Falcons, Browns, Carson

Some assorted notes as we wrap up this Monday night:

  • The Falcons will audition safeties on Tuesday in the wake of Keanu Neal‘s season-ending injury, head coach Dan Quinn announced. Neal suffered a torn Achilles during Sunday’s loss, and the team turned to Kemal Ishmael for the rest of the game. While Quinn didn’t disclose any names, Eric Berry, George Iloka, and T.J. McDonald are among the top free agents at the position.
  • The 1-2 Browns currently rank 26th in the league with 16.3 points per game, but head coach Freddie Kitchens isn’t ready to hand over play-calling duties. Kitchens made it clear to reporters that he’ll continue to call plays this weekend against the Ravens. “You can write that if you want to, but that’s not even feasible,’’ Kitchens said (via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com). “That’s not being considered. No, it’s not…it’s not going to happen.” As Cabot writes, Kitchens “dismissed the notion that serving the dual roles of head coach and playcaller are too much for him,” and he scoffed at the suggestion that offensive coordinator Todd Monken could handle the duties.
  • JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington believes that Redskins offensive guard Brandon Scherff is likely heading towards free agency. Finlay writes that the front office never made an enticing offer to the 27-year-old, and despite Scherff’s Pro Bowl pedigree, the organization is wary of paying him more than $13MM per season. On the flip side, Finlay says the organization could always use the franchise tag on the lineman if they want to retain his services.
  • Seahawks running back Chris Carson has three fumbles through three games, but the team will continue to rely on the 25-year-old. Head coach Pete Carroll told Pro Football Talk’s Curtis Crabtree that the team will play the back as he works through his case of the yips. “Because we do believe in him, we’re going to continue to show him that,” Carroll said (via PFT’s Charean Williams). “He’s a terrific football player, and we want to make sure and maintain that level of play from him, so we’ll work at it and work with him on it.” Carson has compiled 159 rushing yards and one touchdown on 45 carries this season.

Browns Notes: Kitchens, Monken, Mayfield, Johnson

New Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens hired former Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken for the same role this offseason, but Monken’s transition has reportedly not gone well, according to Mike Silver of NFL.com (Twitter link). In turn, Kitchens has been forced to play a larger than expected role in “spearheading” Cleveland’s offense, per Silver. Kitchens had already been planning to call offensive plays in 2019, so it’s unclear what the issue regarding Monken might be. Speculatively, it’s possible Monken’s Air Raid background hasn’t meshed well with the offense that Kitchens is installing for the Browns.

Here’s more from Cleveland:

  • More from Silver, who indicates several Browns veterans weren’t pleased quarterback Baker Mayfield publicly criticized running back Duke Johnson, who is still asking for a trade out of Cleveland. Regarding Johnson, Mayfield said (among other things) “you’re either on this train or you’re not, it’s moving.” An unwritten NFL rule typically dictates that players don’t comment on teammates’ contractual situations, and it sounds like Mayfield was made aware of that concept. Per Silver, Mayfield and the Browns players who disagreed with his comments have “hashed things out.”
  • The Browns tried to claim cornerback Montrel Meander off waivers from the Raiders before the Jets beat them to the punch, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears (Twitter link). Meander spent most of the 2018 campaign on Cleveland’s practice squad, and will now join former Browns/current Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams in New York.
  • In case you missed it, the Browns last week added a former Raiders executive to their front office.

Coaching Rumors: Rizzi, Dennison, Browns

Darren Rizzi interviewed for the Dolphins coaching job that is likely to go to Brian Flores, but the special teams coordinator is a coveted commodity around the league. The Packers are set to interview him, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Miami wants to retain Rizzi, who has been with the team throughout the 2010s, but has given him permission to seek employment elsewhere. That may soon prompt an extensive interview circuit. Five teams are interested in bringing him aboard, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. The Vikings look to be one of those. Rizzi, 48, has only coached for one NFL franchise. His pre-Dolphins gigs were college jobs in the northeast, including a one-season stay (2008) as Rhode Island’s head coach.

As week three of many teams’ offseason begins, here is the latest from the coaching circuit:

  • Todd Monken‘s rise to Buccaneers play-caller earned him interest in teams’ OC jobs. He ended up landing with the Browns, but the other recent play-caller on this staff will call Cleveland’s plays next season. Freddie Kitchens will be the game-day director for the Browns’ offense next season, Pat McManamon of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). This won’t be too new for Monken, who spent the first two seasons as Bucs OC watching Dirk Koetter call plays.
  • The Vikings announced Klint Kubiak (quarterbacks coach) and Brian Pariani (tight ends) are following Gary Kubiak to Minnesota, with the latter’s official title being assistant head coach/offensive advisor. Expected to be part of the Gary Kubiak gang getting back together up north, Rick Dennison was not included in this announcement. But Mike Klis of 9News notes the former Broncos and Bills OC is indeed believed to be part of the next Vikings staff (Twitter link). When Kubiak agreed to reprise his longtime role as Broncos OC, he wanted Dennison to oversee the team’s offensive line concepts, per Klis. The Broncos’ pursuit of Mike Munchak overruled this, and Dennison — the Jets’ O-line coach in 2018 — could be set to have a role in aiding the Vikings’ blockers next season.
  • Speaking of Munchak, the Broncos went beyond their usual offensive line coach budget to bring him over from Pittsburgh, Klis notes (on Twitter). Munchak, who has coached for just two franchises (the Oilers/Titans and Steelers), has family in the area.
  • The Steelers promoted Shaun Sarrett to replace Munchak as their O-line coach, the team announced. Sarrett had previously served as the team’s assistant offensive line coach. He has been with the Steelers for seven seasons, helping instruct their offensive linemen for most of that time.
  • After the Steelers let running backs coach James Saxon go, he will move to Arizona. The Cardinals are hiring Saxon to coach their running backs, Aditi Kinkabwala of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). He will replace Kirby Wilson and attempt to revive Arizona’s No. 32-ranked ground game. Saxon has 19 years’ experience coaching running backs in the NFL — the past five with the Steelers, where he oversaw Le’Veon Bell‘s rise and James Conner and Jaylen Samuels‘ quality replacement efforts — and should help rookie NFL coach Kliff Kingsbury.
  • Kris Kocurek will move from south Florida to the Bay Area, shifting from the Dolphins’ defensive line coach to the same role with the 49ers, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM tweets. Kocurek, 40, was the Lions’ D-line coach for nine seasons prior to moving to Miami.

Browns Hire Todd Monken, Steve Wilks

The Browns’ coaching staff is officially set. On Monday, the Browns officially announced the hiring of Todd Monken as the new offensive coordinator and Steve Wilks as defensive coordinator. In addition to those hires, the club appointed Mike Priefer as special teams coordinator, Stump Mitchell as the running backs coach/run game coordinator, James Campen as offensive line coach/associate head coach, and Ryan Lindley as quarterbacks coach.

Monken has a reputation for savvy play calling, even though Buccaneers’ offense was inconsistent in 2018. The Bucs didn’t consider him as a potential replacement for head coach Dirk Koetter, but other clubs were eager to talk with him. The Bengals, Packers, and Jets all interviewed him for their head coaching vacancies and several clubs showed keen interest in bringing him on as their new OC. Ultimately, Monken chose the Browns, who offer tremendous potential and a potential star quarterback in Baker Mayfield.

Wilks was one-and-done as the Cardinals’ head coach after the team limped to a 3-13 record. His defense did not perform up to par in Arizona, but he built a reputation for himself as a smart defensive mind in Carolina. In his six seasons with the Panthers (five as defensive backs coach, one as DC), the club finished with a top 10 defense five times.

Browns To Hire Steve Wilks As DC, Todd Monken As OC

Steve Wilks wasn’t out of work long. The recently fired Cardinals head coach will be joining the Browns as Cleveland’s new defensive coordinator, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Just moments later, Rapoport reported in a separate tweet that Todd Monken would be joining the Browns as their offensive coordinator.

While Rapoport the deal for Wilks isn’t quite done yet, he writes that the two sides are “close on a deal and it should be done tomorrow.” Things came together quite quickly for Freddie Kitchens’ staff, and the coaching staff now has a lot of star power. Wilks was fired by the Cardinals after just one season after the team limped to a 3-13 record.

Monken received a lot of praise for his work as the Buccaneers’ play caller this season, but wasn’t retained after head coach Dirk Koetter was let go. Monken used a creative, downfield oriented passing offense with Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick, and his offensive philosophy would seem to mesh well with Kitchens’.

Monken received some head coaching buzz and interviews this cycle, but obviously didn’t land a gig. The Lions and Packers were reportedly interested in talking to him about their offensive coordinator vacancies, but Monken clearly was intrigued by the prospect of working with Baker Mayfield. He also interviewed with the Jaguars a few days ago.

We heard a couple days ago that the Browns were working to bring in Wilks, so this isn’t a surprise. Wilks’ lone season as a head coach clearly didn’t work out, but he was highly regarded as a coordinator with the Panthers before that.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers, Lions To Interview Todd Monken

Both the Packers and Lions intend to interview former Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken in the coming days, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Monken is also scheduled to meet with the Browns this weekend.

Monken generated head coaching interest in the past few weeks, and even interviewed for the Green Bay position before Matt LaFleur was hired. Monken’s meeting with the Packers was said to have gone especially well, so it’s perhaps no surprise that they’ve asked him back. While he presumably wouldn’t call plays in Green Bay, Monken would have the opportunity work with future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers.

In Detroit, meanwhile, Monken would have the opportunity to call offensive plays. Head coach Matt Patricia comes from a defensive background, and the Lions are searching for a new OC after firing Jim Bob Cooter earlier this week. Monken, who runs an Air Raid scheme, would offer a stark contrast to Cooter’s run-oriented offense.

Monken, a former collegiate head coach at Southern Miss, joined Tampa Bay in 2016 but wasn’t named OC until last season. The Buccaneers proceeded to rank third in total yardage, third in yards per play, and 12th in points and DVOA despite flip-flopping between Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: Jets, Gase, Cardinals, Lions

The Jets likely preferred Baylor’s Matt Rhule to Adam Gase, but as previously reported, things fell apart when Rhule refused to allow the Jets to pick his staff for him. The Jets especially wanted to choose his offensive coordinator and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears the Jets floated Todd Monken to him as an option.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Cardinals asked, but were denied, permission to interview 49ers run game coordinator Mike McDaniel for their offensive coordinator position, Matt Barrows of The Athletic tweets. McDaniel is tight with head coach Kyle Shanahan and the team was not prepared to lose him, especially to a divisional rival.
  • “It appears” that Steve Sarkisian and Nathaniel Hackett are in the mix for the Lions‘ offensive coordinator vacancy, Alex Marvez of SiriusXM tweets. The Lions have been looking for a new OC ever since Jan. 1 when they announced that Jim Bob Cooter‘s contract would not be renewed.
  • Sarkisian has also spoken with the Cardinals about their OC job, Marvez tweets. Sarkisian has been on the market since Dec. 31 when he was fired by Atlanta.
  • Both the Cardinals and Browns have sought permission to interview Jets running backs coach Stump Mitchell, a source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The position(s) he’ll be discussing with those teams are unclear, however.