New offensive coordinator Todd Monken has a background with the Air Raid offense, as does Baker Mayfield. Could this be the future of the Cleveland Browns on offense?
Once the Cleveland Browns decided to go with Freddie Kitchens as their head coach, it seemed to be a safe bet to assume their offense wouldn’t change much — if at all. Then Kitchens started adding his staff and landed on Todd Monken as the offensive coordinator, which opened some eyes.
Monken spent time with Oklahoma State and Southern Mississippi in the NCAA before spending the last three years coaching offense for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During that stretch, he’s shown a willingness to use parts of the Air Raid offense, which is suddenly becoming very popular in the NFL.
It’s also something Baker Mayfield excelled at during his collegiate days both with Oklahoma and at Texas Tech. So naturally, the next question that comes up is whether or not the Browns will be using a variance of the offense in 2019? And if so, what does that mean for the offense — will they suddenly start airing the ball out and forget about the run?
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According to Monken, the idea of the ‘Air Raid’ isn’t about run-pass distribution, but instead, it’s about getting the ball to their playmakers. His main goal is to find balance and get the ball to those who can help them win.
"“Balance is multiple skill players touching the football,” Monken said in reference to the Air Raid offense according to Dan Labbe of Cleveland.com. “To me, it is not always just run-pass. It is, do you have enough skill players where they can touch the football? Last year at Tampa, we almost had six guys — if O.J. (Howard) doesn’t get hurt — with 700-plus yards from the line of scrimmage. That, to me, is balance.”"
All that’s exciting, but will the Browns let Monken incorporate the plays he wants even though Freddie Kitchens is still the play caller? The answer to that seems to be a resounding ‘yes’.
Part of what made Kitchens such a success as the OC in 2018 was the fact he sat Mayfield down and asked what he was comfortable running. His selection of Monken shows that he’s trying to find guys who fit with their quarterback as he continues to build and evolve his offense.
So in short, it seems as though the Browns will be ready to start using their own version of the suddenly popular Air Raid offense. And considering Mayfield’s success in college with such a style, this could be a lot of fun for Cleveland fans to watch.