Sam Darnold, Quincy Enunwa, and Josh McCown react to the news of NY Jets head coach Todd Bowles being fired after yesterday’s loss against the Patriots.
Danielle Parhizkaran, NorthJersey
The Jets have reached day nine of their coaching search. And they’re scheduled for yet another sit down with an offensive mind. Todd Monken, the Buccaneers offensive coordinator, is expected to interview with the team on Tuesday.
Monken will be the seventh known interview. The Jets have also met with Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, former Dolphins coach Adam Gase, former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, Dallas assistant Kris Richard, former Lions coach Jim Caldwell and, reportedly, former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury. They’re also reportedly interested in Baylor coach Matt Rhule, although it’s unclear if he interviewed for the job.
Out of the eight known possibilities to replace Todd Bowles, seven of them have offensive backgrounds — Richard is the exception. But Monken is one of the more intriguing candidates they’ve interviewed.
Here’s what you need to know about Monken.
Monken, 52, has extensive coaching experience in college and the pros. He was a college assistant from 1989-2006 with stops at Oklahoma State (passing game coordinator, wide receivers coach from 2002-04) and LSU (same roles from 2005-06), before jumping to the pros for the first time as the Jaguars’ wide receivers coach from 2007-10.
Monken got his first head coaching experience at Southern Miss, where he coached three seasons turning around a previously winless program. He left SMU to become the Bucs’ offensive coordinator in 2016, a role he’s been in for the last three seasons.
Dec 24, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken talks to wide receiver Russell Shepard (89) on the bench in the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports (Photo: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports)
Tampa Bay had a lot of problems this season, that’s why head coach Dirk Koetter was fired. But the offense wasn’t the issue. Under Monken’s direction, the Bucs averaged a league best 320.3 passing yards per game. And he did it with two inconsistent, struggling quarterbacks: Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston. The Bucs had 450 or more yards in seven of their games last season. (The Jets eclipsed 400 yards only once.)
He’s highly regarded as an innovative play caller and should be able to put the Jets in a position to succeed offensively. In a league that is becoming more and more about scoring and making the big plays, Monken could be a huge asset.
Good fit for Darnold?
The Jets want someone to help develop young quarterback Sam Darnold. And Monken would certainly fit the bill. The best thing that can be done for Darnold is to put him in a system which he can succeed. At 21, surrounded by limited talent, Darnold found a way to show signs of brilliance in an offense that many of the players were dissatisfied with.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold talks to the media as the players clean their lockers on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, in Florham Park. (Photo: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com)
Imagine what Darnold could do with a few more offensive weapons (the Jets will try to add via free agency, the draft and trades) and in system that was so adept at moving the ball with the Bucs. A Monken-Darnold partnership is the most intriguing part of this candidacy.
There’s always a risk in hiring a first-time head coach, and no one can be sure how Monken will deal with all the responsibilities that come with the job. And if he’s such a promising head coaching candidate, why didn’t the Buccaneers keep him in the building after three seasons? Do they know something everyone else doesn’t?
Monken also has no experience running a defense. He’d have to assemble a strong defensive staff to turn around a unit that underachieved badly under Bowles.
The Jets’ offense was stale and boring for most of 2018. Under Monken, it would be anything but. After years of futility, the Jets need something they can get excited about with their new coach. A big-play offense that can change the game at any moment would certainly provide the jolt this franchise needs. And it would be a great situation for Darnold.
There is no “safe” coaching candidate, despite what many think. But rolling the dice on Monken feels like a calculated, smart risk for the Jets. And it could also be a whole lot of fun.
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