ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler is reporting that the Detroit Lions are set to interview Todd Monken for their open offensive coordinator position.
If you’re not familiar with Monken, let me get your attention with Monken’s approach to offense with a quote from our brother site Bucs Wire: “We don’t need more 5-yard plays. Who needs more 5-yard plays? How can we be explosive? That’s what the game is about, man. People like big plays. I like big plays.”
Monken was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator the last three seasons but was let go after the entire staff was overhauled at the end of the year. In 2018, he led the Bucs offense to an average of 320.3 passing yards per game, the best average in the entire NFL, despite splitting the season between two quarterbacks — Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
While Monken has schemed more pass-heavy offenses in the NFL, he has shown the ability to run a more balanced style of offense that the Lions desire, specifically when he was the head coach at Southern Miss.
The Golden Eagles record improved each of the three seasons he was their coach and in his final year, Monken put together an impressively balanced offense that averaged 37.9 passes per game (329.7 passing yards) and 35.9 rushes per game (179.8 rushing yards).
That 2015 team also featured six offensive players that are all on current NFL rosters. Quarterback Nick Mullens (49ers, started eight games this season) threw for 4476 yards and 38 touchdowns that season, while Mike Thomas (Rams) had 71 receptions for 1391 yards and 14 touchdowns. Running backs Ito Smith (Falcons) ran for 1128 yards and Jalen Richard (Raiders) ran for 1098 behind center Cameron Todd (Saints) and tackle Rashad Hill (Vikings).
As noted in the Fowler Tweet, in addition to the Lions, Monken is going to be interviewing for an offensive coordinator position with the Packers — whom he had a head coach interview with before they signed Matt LaFleur — and the Browns — who recently promoted Freddie Kitchens to head coach. Monken also previously interviewed for head coaching jobs with the Bengals — who are believed to be targeting Zac Taylor — and Jets — who hired Adam Gase — this offseason.
While the Lions could be in a three-way competition for Monken’s services, there is one major difference between the three teams: the Packers and Browns have offensive-minded head coaches who will be implementing the systems they ran when they were offensive coordinators, while the Lions Matt Patricia, a defensive minded coach, has an offensive game plan, but should be more open to giving Monken freedoms.
Stay tuned to Lions Wire for more updates on the Lions search for an offensive coordinator.