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28 January 2016

Transcript: Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach Todd Monken Introductory Press Conference: Thursday, January 28, 2016

(Opening statement)
“I can say that I’m fired up to be here. A couple weeks ago, I didn’t see this coming. I was obviously very excited for Dirk and his opportunity and I’m just very excited to be a part of it and see this thing through for Coach Koetter and the Tampa Bay organization.”
(On his hiring process)
“The process began maybe a little over a week ago.”
(On his role and balancing offensive coordinator duties with coaching wide receivers)
“Well, first off, my number one responsibility is to maximize the measureable skillset of our wide receivers. That’s that number one job, is to make sure that I do my part with that room to help this offense continue to climb. Then the second part is, as we’re going through discussions, Coach Koetter and I, as to where that fits the organization during the week, there’s more to it than just calling the plays, the 60 or 70 plays in a game. I think both Dirk in his new role and my role here, that will continue to be an ongoing discussion.”
(On why he chose to leave Southern Mississippi for this position)
“It’s a special opportunity – it really is. I believe that. It doesn’t come around every day, where you have an opportunity to be at the highest level and be with Dirk Koetter, who I’ve got an unbelievable respect for. Obviously we’re friends, but that has nothing to do with the profession. And with a young, talented team that I think is on the climb, I wanted to be a big part of that. I enjoyed my time at Southern Miss. I’ve got a lot of great friends there; we did some great things, but I’m really looking forward to every day, every week, every month, doing my part to see us continue that climb. There’s a lot that goes into it, a lot that is personal to me and what I want to see, but these opportunities don’t come around every day, they really don’t. At the end of the day, as much as I enjoyed my time there, I wanted to be in that chair upstairs.”
(On if he was anxious to return to the NFL)
“I think in our profession, you learn to take every day and enjoy [it]. I love coaching. That’s what I do. All of my family is in high school coaching and my cousin is the head coach at Army. So I grew up in a coaching family. I love to coach. I love to be around to the players, I love trying to do it better than they do it. I don't really think about tomorrow, I think about today. And then the next day comes and I think about where I want to be at that time in my career. When this opportunity came up, this is where I wanted to be. I really hadn’t thought about this, that or another with possibilities – that doesn’t enter into my world. What enters into my world is what do I want to do next, and I wanted to be here.”
(On whether the talent level in Tampa Bay impacted his decision to take the job)
“Yes, it made a big difference. This is a game about talent. It starts with having talent. You’ve got to have talent, you’ve got to have people in position to draft talent. So my belief in the last couple of drafts and [General Manager] Jason [Licht] and their group in terms of what they’ve done over the last couple of years, my belief in Coach Koetter and Coach Smith and the staff that’s been assembled – all of that is a big part of it.”
(On why he is excited to work with Koetter)
“It’s the process. Bottom line, it’s the process. You talk about someone that is very, very detailed, organized, works as hard as anybody I’ve been around. I always thought when we were in Jacksonville together, there was nowhere to turn. What I mean by that is there were no excuses. If we weren’t good enough, we weren’t good enough, but it wasn’t about preparation, it wasn’t that we weren’t going to be prepared or that we didn’t coach the guys every single day and gave unbelievable energy. So that was a big part of it – I want to be somewhere where the people I’m around, and especially the head coach and from Jason and his crew, where if everybody is all in and everybody is working as hard as the next guy, you can live with the results. It’s always about the process. It’s always about, ‘How do we do it better than they do it?’ This league is about that. It’s harder to do that at the college level, because there’s more disparity in terms of the talent. Sometimes you just have better talent. The talent gap shrinks [in the NFL]. Now, how do we develop our players better? It’s draft, develop, free agency and coach better. That’s what it is. But it starts with drafting players and developing. How do fourth, fifth-round, sixth-round picks become really good players? That’s up to coaching. So you have to have people to draft them and we have to develop them. I’ve always felt that way about Coach Koetter and Coach Smith being here, and obviously the drafts that we’ve looked at and the players. I just went through being part of a program that went from one stage to another, and I want to be a part of that here.”
(On the differences between coaching college players and NFL veterans)
“I don’t have to do class checks. I don’t have study hall. Don’t have to do that (laughter). You know, both have their challenges, just like every job anybody has. Every job has warts. Somebody thinks that’s a perfect job, that’s a perfect job – I love coaching football and being around players and trying to figure out how to do it better than they do it and scheme it up. There are different challenges, there are, and the talent gap gets shrunk – you can take 25 recruits, [but] you only get so many draft picks. You have to make with what you’ve got and the margin for error is a lot smaller. It really challenges you as a man, as a coach, as an organization. It’s trying to bring a group of men together to do it better than they do it. So both have their challenges, but both of them have their rewards.”
(On if he describes his coaching style as having “unbelievable energy”)
“I’ll turn 50 in February and, man, I’m the luckiest guy on the fact of this earth. Are you kidding me? I started coaching 27 years ago. My dad was a high school coach, to think that I would be where I am today. I was willing to do it for – I don’t even know what I guess they make now, but whatever the salaries are now, I didn’t ever think I’d make what I make today. I’ve never looked at it as job. I love what I do. I love being around the players and trying to get them to be the best they can be, so why wouldn’t you bring energy to this job? I coach for a living. You’ve got be kidding me. I’m lucky as heck.”
(On the 2007 Jaguars coaching staff, four members of which are now part of the 2016 Buccaneers staff)
“I thought Jack Del Rio did a great job there. He set the tone for the camaraderie and the group of men that were there. I really enjoyed my time there, I really did. Not only with Jack, but Dirk, but Duff and Nate Kaczor and those guys. Paul Spicer was a player for god’s sakes. Jay Hayes, who’s the d-line coach, I was a [graduate assistant] at Notre Dame and he was a fulltime coach when I was there. In the coaching circles, you come across different people that you get to know and that you pull a lot from. So, again, I like having fun. I don’t know what else I’d do if I didn’t coach. I might coach until I’m 80 years; I have no idea. I’m so excited to be here that I can’t see straight, and it’s because I love to coach. I love to be around players and see them achieve all their dreams. It’s always about the players, that’s what this game has always been about. It’s about you helping them become the best version of them. Plain and simple, that’s what it’s about.”
(On whether he recruited Jameis Winston to attend Southern Mississippi)
“I don’t think so. I can’t remember when he came out; I might have been at Oklahoma State at the time. I wish I would have, now that you say that. We had Brandon Weeden, but we could have used him after it. No, I’m excited, I’m excited to be part of that. I worked with Jimbo Fisher for two years at LSU. I know what kind of coach Jimbo Fisher is and he thinks the world of this young man, so that means a lot to me.”
(On whether he called plays at Southern Mississippi)
“At times, on and off, I called the plays there, yes. Only the good ones, the ones that worked. I only called those (laughter).”
(On wide receiver Mike Evans and how Monken plans to coach him regarding dropped passes)
“It’s repetition. That’s all it is, is repetition and putting yourself in those positions so that you look at – you know, it’s the routine. That’s all you do. And he’s a talented young man that I think is ascending and has everything in front of him as a player. I take that personally, and I hope he does. Where do you want to be? Where do you want to be in a week, two weeks, in a year, five years? What do you want out of this small opportunity that you have, that the good Lord has blessed you [with]. I just want to be a big part of it. But it’s all about routine. It’s a matter of – he has good ball skills, it’s not a matter of that. I don’t think anybody’s saying he doesn’t have good ball skills and the ability to compete for the ball. He wants to do it, he’s talented. I’ve talked to a lot of people about him that have coached him in college and here. I’m excited to get started and I take that personally. My job is to make sure he doesn’t drop the ball. That’s it.”
(On the importance of explosive plays in the offensive philosophy that he and Koetter believe in)
“I came down and visited here seven months ago, not thinking I was coming back and actually having my own office, but I came down here and visited. And Dirk and I spoke again about how you win. How do you win games? We went back to Southern Miss and talked about explosive plays, don’t turn it over, third-down conversions, touchdowns in the red zone and lost-yardage plays, don’t have them. It’s still true today – those are the ways you win. Yards are a part of it, [but] not the big part of it. If you take care of those five areas – well, explosive plays are a big part of it. It’s hard to drive it, and if you’re not explosive, you better be good on third downs so that you can continue drives. It’s all part of it. Bottom line is, how can you be explosive? There’s a number of ways. Getting [the ball] to explosive players. Throwing the ball down the field, which Jameis has shown he can do. It’s all of those things. I’ve always thought we don’t need more five-yard plays. Who needs more five-yard plays? How can we be explosive? That’s what the game’s about. People like big plays; I like big plays. So how do we not figure out ways to get explosive plays? That’s fun. That’s fun to me in football. Trick plays are fun. Now you’re going to get into that, about trick plays. I’m not here to talk about trick plays; I screwed it up when I brought that up, I apologize (laughter). What isn’t fun about explosive plays and throwing it down the field and guys making plays? I wish they’d go to more rules where the offense had an advantage, I really do. It’s much more fun that way (laughter).”
(On what has to happen to turn around a program’s culture)
“Draft, develop, free agency, coach better. It’s really just like that. It’s about having the talent first. Then, I like having fun. I don’t know why it has to feel like such drudgery – I just don’t. I’ve never understood that. I want a fight song. We don’t even have a fight, I don’t think. I want a fight song. Isn’t a fight song cool? You get to sing a fight song. Call me a college guy. When I was in Jacksonville, they called me a college guy. That’s great, I love it. I love coaching, the excitement of it. Why can’t it be fun? Watch the Carolina Panthers. They have fun. That looks like fun to me. I want to have fun. I want our quarterback to have fun. I want our guys to have fun doing it together. I want the locker room to be fun. Is that harder, a little bit, in a pro setting? Yes, because of the change. You have so many different pieces that change, you have to make that blend together and guys play for more than just themselves, which is difficult in a pro setting because of the money, as we know. But you can still make it work. There’s still got to be more than just the money. There’s got to be more than just that. The feeling of getting better and doing for your teammates and the excitement of getting better and doing it with some people you care about.”

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