Lock Down Monken

November 1st, 2018


If this season goes south in the next two months, there will be a stampede out the exit door at One Buc Place.

That’s the way it is in the NFL, where regime change is always lurking just around the corner. A couple of bad years and you’re probably packing your bags in search of another gig.

The Bucs can change that narrative, beginning Sunday in Charlotte.

They can register their second road win within the division and crawl back to .500 with half a season left, but the Panthers are a solid team that just outmuscled Baltimore.

Even if things go awry, the Glazers need to find a place for an assistant coach who is thriving in a new role. His name is Todd Robert Monken, and he is overseer of the most prolific offense in the entire league.

Todd Monken

We’re not exactly used to a dynamic attack around here. That’s why this franchise has yet to award a drafted quarterback with a big-time second contract.

What the Bucs are doing on offense through seven games is rather extraordinary … and Monken is calling the shots.

He was born in 1966, 10 years before an 0-14 inaugural season that saw this franchise average 8.9 points per game. No matter what happens the rest of the way, Monken has built a powerful case for being retained. Tampa Bay had the same weapons in 2017, yet the passing game was pedestrian and explosive plays were rare.

Not anymore.

Move Over, Aaron Rodgers

Here’s a good way to judge how special the Bucs have been through the air. They have the same exact number of pass attempts as Green Bay, with 16 more completions and an average of 68 more passing yards per game.

Do you need to be reminded who is throwing footballs for the Packers?

The Bucs have thrown for 19 touchdowns, compared to 15 for Green Bay.

Ah yes, interceptions. Green Bay has been picked off only twice, compared to 13 for Tampa Bay.

When the Bucs don’t turn the ball over, they’ve been nearly unstoppable. They average a yard more per pass attempt than Drew Brees and the Saints.

Think about that.

Give the players a ton of credit for executing Monken’s downfield passing scheme. Mike Evans has been a beast, O.J. Howard has shown significant improvement and DeSean Jackson averages 23 yards per catch.

Nothing Easy

Given Tampa Bay’s six takeaways on the season, this offense earns everything it gets. Think of it this way: the Bucs are losing an average of two possessions per game on the basis of the turnover chart, yet Monken’s offense still averages 29 points.


How did this happen?

It started in training camp, where the bar was raised for precision and focus. Just listen to Monken’s comments after a practice in August.

“What we’re doing out here is so much better than the crap we did last year,” he said. “We earned that by the way we approached things. We haven’t been doing that this year. I just know that we had a nice year two years ago and all of a sudden it’s human nature: ‘Hey here we go, Bucs, we’ve arrived.’

“Everyone drank the Kool-Aid, and now Hard Knocks is rolling in and we’ve added some pieces. All of a sudden, we think we’re just going to take the field against grown men, the best in the world, and just think it’s going to happen.”

There’s been some mistakes along the way.

That last snap in Atlanta wasn’t Monken’s shining moment. Instead of calling for a pass to the end zone from the 21-yard line with 7 seconds left and the Bucs trailing 34-29, Monken had Jameis Winston stepping forward on a fake draw play that triggered a series of laterals.

That’s a 100-to-1 shot.

Still, this offense has been an overwhelming success. Now we’ll see if the Bucs can minimize those self-inflicted wounds that cut so deep.

“Bad football loses before good football wins — I’ve said that forever,” Monken says. “It’s from Bob Knight. I know that’s a basketball term and I stole it, but it’s true. Bad football loses before good football wins.”

In the span of two tumultuous months, Monken has raised his NFL profile while his football team sank to the bottom of the NFC South. That’s no easy feat.

What else have the Bucs done exceedingly well this year, except throw the football? Defense? Please. Kicking game?

Don’t be cruel.

If they have to win shootouts the rest of the way, so be it.

On Sunday, it will be Ryan Fitzpatrick’s turn once again at the controls, executing Monken’s game plan. There’s a lot of football remaining, but it looks like a star may have been born on Dirk Koetter’s coaching staff.

Now in his 40th year covering the NFL, Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in the Tampa Bay area. He scored a full-time seat at JoeBucsFan.com world headquarters in July of 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also hear Ira on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio Wednesdays at 5 p.m. Also a TV star, Ira is part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday NFL show at 10:30 a.m. He’s also on BayNews 9, Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. “The Sage” enjoys beet salads, Riesling, tennis, Bette Midler, Chiefs victories and needling Joe. …WATCH IRA AND DERRICK BROOKS on the new TAMPA TWO show from The Identity Tampa Bay and JoeBucsFan.

31 Responses to “Lock Down Monken”

  1. Lamarcus Says:

    Until we can stomp teams and score points early on…… this is an overrated offense that gets most points by the way of the Koetters famous ” Down by 30 Vertical” offense

  2. Season Is Over Says:

    Success should be expected with this group of players. The fact that they are fighting the success is the shocking part. Sign coaches, now? Koetter will be lucky to be here come season’s end and I fail to see Monken surviving the next regime change unless he steamrolls the rest of the schedule. Which does not look easy for the record. No one deserves to be rewarded yet. This is what happens when the bar is set so low from historic mind-numbing losing. People lose sense of what normal teams do in their sleep.

    Did I miss the part about the running game? 29 out of 32. You asked for it. How can the most prolific offense in the league not have a rush that did anything at any point in the year? Week 8. In fact, in two games the running game was unable to run out the clock and mostly contributed to the loss knowing the defense was useless. No one forgets handing to Barber inside the five a couple games ago either.

  3. Ray Rice Says:

    Welp, he’s going to need a QB first.

  4. LakeLand Says:

    One Dimensional Offense

  5. LakeLand Says:

    Pittsburgh, 24-7
    Chicago. 38-3
    Cincinnati 21-0

    Outscored by Cleveland 21-7 in the 2nd half
    19 turnovers in 6 games
    7 in 10 quarters before Jameis Winston came back

    This isn’t the definition of a “Prolific” offense

  6. King Buc17 Says:

    Very good. Start Early and Koetters offense will shine. Trade Winston for Carr and draft all Defense next year and we will be at home for our own super bowl in 2021

  7. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    I think you are giving Monken a little too much credit here. It his not “his” vertical scheme. This is Koetters scheme and you know he is heavily involved in the game plan as well.

    If this team can not figure it out I don’t want to see any of their faces around a Bucs logo again. I hope they can turn this thing around this year but that defense needs to step up and most importantly, DO NOT turn it over.
    They can move the chains like no Bucs team I’ve ever seen but not converting enough drives into scores.
    Get errr done.
    Go BUCS!!

  8. PriMech54 Says:

    Nope. This offense is fool’s gold and no can see it or smell it because Fitz’ sack and Jameis’ burnt jersey are preventing them from doing so. LakeLand laid out the hard truth 3 comments above this one for anyone that’s skeptical of that. This team was never built to win more than 9 games in the NFC South, regardless of QB play. That’s 3rd place in case you didn’t feel like doing the math. Look at the rest of the schedule… you think we get to nine wins? eight? Licht is gone. Koetter is gone. The staff is gone.

    Go find a real coach.

  9. LakeLand Says:


    Great offense don’t have ” droughts”, where they get outscore by 2-3 scores
    Then they gain a lot of yards when team go to prevent defense
    I want to see them ” Score early and often”

    The Bucs are a “Boxscore” team
    Stats, Stats, Stats, more stats

    It’s time for wins

  10. Lunchbox Says:

    Wow I didn’t think I’d be in the minority on this one but I totally agree with Irv on this one. Yes this may be Koetter’s offense, but why is it so much more effective when Monken is calling it? Maybe Monken is better at setting up mismatches? And the running game? Thank Licht for putting those pieces on the field. If Koetter were to get fired before the season ended, Monken needs to be the interim head coach, with the absolute inside track to make it permanent.

  11. gotbbucs Says:


    Your offensive “droughts” magically coincide with games were the QB’s had turnovers in the red zone or deep in opposition territory.
    They have the most offensive yards in the NFL. It’s not an offensive “drought”, it’s a missed scoring opportunity because of a turnover or dropped TD passes in the case of the Pittsburgh game.

    Quit trying to shield your boy Winston from responsibility. I can pick apart every excuse that you can come up with.

  12. Resurrection of Duff Says:

    Winston could not get the Alfa Romeo pass 3rd gear.

  13. Doctor Stroud Says:

    Win or lose, the coaching staff will ultimately be judged by their failure to develop JW.

  14. Bird Says:


    A little worried about you. You find some crazy cool stats that obviously take some time to research. and you make about 10 posts each article.

    Do we need to send someone out to get you some groceries or something ? Clean your house ? Lol

  15. Pryda Says:

    Idk what’s going to happen but I’d bet Fitz is crap Sunday …

  16. Rob Tanner Says:

    I’m sure the new regimen will love not being able to bring their OC….

  17. 813bucboi Says:

    let monken walk right along with the rest of them…..

    Kris Richard for HC!!!!!!!


  18. i like gunslingers Says:

    prediction, we will beat the panthers, why, this is a pivotal game, thee pivotal game of he season if i might add, if the bucs beat carolina, and i’m not saying it will be a cake walk, it will take the team to a 4-4 record, .500 at midseason, not bad, the next three are weak opponents skins, 49ers, and giants, all winnable, and by all accounts the bucs should beat, which would bring their record to 7-4 with five to go. do you not think this has not crossed the mind of a certain harvard graduate? and i will say this, if this scenario plays out, and i am correct, the following two games are against you guessed it saints, panthers, to which tampa will have beaten on the road, these two are at home, and if this plays out once again, jameis will not take another snap this season. as the starting QB, because that will put us in dec right in the middle of the hunt, it all depends on this coming sunday, we get curry and mccoy back, beckwith is practicing the defense has improved, and fitzpatrick is hunting panthers. go bucs, and keep the faith

  19. Season Is Over Says:

    I think it is still questionable that Monken is calling all the plays. Who knows that for sure?

  20. stpetebucsfan Says:

    This is not my idea but there are lots of guys here who would love to have David Carr. I do not know enough to judge that.
    Perhaps Carr is the real deal. I’m not informed enough to even speculate so I’ll have to trust you guys on that one.

    IF David Carr would be an asset he should be easy to get with Chucky’s house cleaning. We simply trade JW and DJAX to the Raiders for Carr straight up. Fixes a lot of problems for the Bucs and the Raiders and would be a fair deal.

    My actual point with this post is not so much let’s get Carr…it’s just to comfort the “Chicken Littles”. It’s not JW or 4-5 years of failure at QB until we can find and plug in a new draft choice.

    QB’s ARE available for resourceful franchises. OK I just shot down my own argument…lol…the Bucs are far from resourceful.

  21. Casey Morgan Says:

    Lamarcus Says: “Until we can stomp teams and score points early on… this is an overrated offense.” Do you watch the Bucs? Did you see the first two games of the year when Fitz scored points early on? “Underrated offense”– it is literally the best in the NFL.

  22. RickinFtMyers Says:

    This is why I’m not in favor of cutting Dirk Koetter loose. Not because Koetter is such a good head coach, but because NFL teams tend to clean house. If the Glazers feel the need to fire Koetter, okay, let him go, but keep coaches like Todd Monken, Mark Duffner, and Brentson Buckner on the staff instead of starting over completely. NFL teams can’t be and aren’t created in one draft and everyone knows that. When are the owners and general managers going to realize great coaching staffs aren’t brought together after one house cleaning?

  23. jmarkbuc Says:

    So Ira

    You want to take a coordinator and re-sign him because the offense is statistically good?

    Sound familiar?

    Deja Vu all over again

  24. TOM Says:

    First off trading Winston for Carr. Not Jackson to unless the Raiders throw in Joseph or say a #4 draft pick.

  25. pick6 Says:

    we are almost at the 2 year anniversary of similar headlines involving mike smith. i like the offensive output for the most part but let’s pump the brakes a bit on overrating our staff yet again

  26. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Certainly take your point. Mine is not what would actually be a good deal…simply that QB’s can be found for the right deal…whatever that is. Do you like Carr as a player?

    I do not disagree with Ira about Monk…I’m just not sure how that could work right now. If they sign him now do they plan to eat his contract when they first the rest of the staff or do they plan on forcing the next HC to accept THEIR choice of OC.

    BTW I’m a huge Monk fan and he’s not that far away from being HC material. It’s almost easier to imagine cleaning house now and moving Monk up to see how he does the rest of the year.

    NOTHING should happen to Koetter IMHO until at least a few more games…if the Bucs should MIRACULOUSLY beat Carolina we are right back in the playoff hunt. Big IF though eh?

  27. Dapostman Says:

    First Monken, please stop with the 5 receivers on 1st and 2nd down where you are telegraphing the play to be a pass. Keep someone in the backfield. Next please start throwing more balls to the RB’s. It seems that a lot of successful teams get their RB’s in the passing game. That seems to me to be an advantage a RB vs a LB. Why the Bucs are so slow to see it is beyond me. I like Cam Brate but he is not a physical advantage against a LB when he is running a button hook. Get more speed on the field please. Oh and run more crossing routes and clear outs. Ok I’m done.

    #Get After It!

  28. Curse of Gruden Says:

    We have the best offensive weapons that we have ever have. Of course Monken is looking good.

  29. orlbucfan Says:

    Monken sticks to the gameplan DK draws up before the games start. Problem is Koetter. He still hasn’t fully adjusted to the rigors of being a HC. He’s a brilliant offensive mind. This offense proves it. He’s not calling the creative stuff he did when he was OC under Lovie. Back then, he didn’t have the assembled talent he has now including QB. He wasn’t HC either. Sure hope he sees the light by Sunday in Charlotte.

  30. D1 Says:

    Or maybe give koetter a bigger voice in the organization. Let Him hire his guys.
    Give him more decision making abilities ‘re players. He ran DM out there week after week until the team decided to cut him. He’s said JW had more power than him. Hard to coach like that. He just doesn’t have that much autonomy and He isn’t the type to command it. Let Him hire his DC, special teams ,DB and qb coaches. His guys. He needs to be able to upgrade a position without it counting against licht.

    Licht needs to get better or listen to the coaches and forget value, long term , next year’s …..Now is the most important thing. Building and building so long the franchise pick is no longer on a discount. He’s got be paid but that’s taking away from the pool to be able to sign vets. Sign jw then what…..less space for RB,o line, Def. If DK really said, Jayson were good on the o line and RB fix the d by picking 3 rookie DB starters. Oh and we want character guys…No , you know,
    thugs…Doesn’t sound like DK. JL said it.

    Continued change in the direction of the franchise …has left the team with as much direction as you have after 20minutes on that fair ride….. cyclone. “Why is the door moving..” “or is it me”.

    Vjax, Grimes, Martin, Dotson, McCoy all are similar in the team approach. Never been proactive in replacing guys who have been injured and late in the career.
    Cappa is that diving in dumpsters for valuables pick. JL can play that card for years if it works. If not, kwon and marpet plus Brate. Still a genius scout can’t win email all…defense is A ok. DK is performing way better than Jason.

  31. Deez Bucs Says:

    Licht/Monken 2019