Cleveland’s transition to Todd Monken as offensive coordinator isn’t going as smoothly as planned
Freddie Kitchens is probably as if not more familiar with the Cleveland Browns’ offense than anyone else on his coaching staff. The rookie head coach, after all, ascended to the role after leading Cleveland on an exhilarating second-half surge as offensive coordinator following his promotion from running backs coach as a result of Todd Haley being midway through the 2018 season. Still, it goes without saying that the Browns would be best served if Kitchens could focus on his overarching responsibilities this offseason rather than focus mostly on implementing the offense.
One problem: The integration of his replacement offensive coordinator reportedly isn’t “going as smoothly as planned.” According to Michael Silver of NFL Network, Kitchens has played a bigger part in “spearheading” the offense than intended due to first-year offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s struggles to acclimate to his new team.
I also reported that the transition to new OC Todd Monken has not gone as smoothly as planned, resulting in HC Freddie Kitchens playing a greater role in spearheading the offense than originally intended. We'll keep an eye on this as the season approaches
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) June 13, 2019
Monken was hired as the Browns’ offensive coordinator in January. He’d spent the previous three seasons in the same position with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who poached Monken from the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016 after a decade as the team’s running backs coach.
Cleveland has arguably as much talent on the offensive side of the ball as any team in the NFL. Franchise quarterback Baker Mayfield played like a star once he took the reins as the Browns’ starter, and wide receiver Jarvis Landry and second-year running back Nick Chubb join him to give Cleveland an extremely enviable collection of players at the skill positions – and that’s before accounting for the offseason additions of superstar wideout Odell Beckham Jr. and running back Kareem Hunt.
But if Monken continues struggling to get up to speed, all that talent could struggle to blend into a cohesive unit. For now, Kitchens lending a helping hand isn’t major cause for concern. But if it continues through training camp, the Browns might have a real issue on their hands.