Saturday, November 18, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

New Bucs offensive coordinator wants fun put into game plan

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — Todd Monken left a good job as head coach at the University of Southern Mississippi to return to the NFL, but he is bringing some college pompoms with him.

The Bucs' new offensive coordinator, who was introduced Thursday, wants more exuberant players and explosive plays, a fun-and-gun style that he believes can work at any level.

"It's about having the talent first. And then, I like having fun," Monken said. "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 have a fight song! I want a fight song! Isn't a fight song cool? You get to sing a fight song."

The Bucs had a fight song in the late 1970s, Hey, Hey Tampa Bay, but it has been rarely played since.

"Call me a college guy," Monken said. "When I was in Jacksonville, they called me a college guy. I love it. I love coaching, the excitement of it. Why can't it be fun?

"Watch the Carolina Panthers. They're having 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 in a pro setting? Yes, because of the change. You have so many different pieces that change, you've got to make that blend together and guys that play for more than just themselves, and that's difficult in a pro setting because of the money, as we know. But you can still make it work.

"There's got to be more than just the money. … The feeling of getting better and doing it for your teammates and the excitement of getting better and doing it with some people you care about.

Monken, who turns 50 on Feb. 5, worked with Bucs coach Dirk Koetter on the Jaguars' staff for three seasons (2007-10). While Koetter will call plays, Monken will serve as the team's offensive coordinator and receivers coach.

The chance to return to the NFL for a "special opportunity'' prompted Monken to leave Southern Miss after three seasons. He took over a team that was 0-12 and went 1-11, 3-9 and 9-5, winning the Conference USA West title. Last season the Golden Eagles ranked 12th in Division I-A in total offense with 509.5 yards per game and 13th in scoring offense with 39.9 points per game.

Monken said he was approached about the Bucs job about a week ago and admitted it was a tough decision leaving Southern Miss less than two weeks before national signing day.

"I'm so excited to be here I can't see straight," Monken said.

The opportunity to work with quarterback Jameis Winston and receiver Mike Evans was a factor in his decision, Monken said. He visited One Buc Place last summer to pick Koetter's brain about offense but said he had no idea he would be back as an assistant coach.

"I came down to visit here seven months ago, not thinking I was coming back and actually having my own office," Monken said. "But I came down here to visit, and Dirk and I spoke again about how do you win. We went back to Southern Miss and talked about explosive plays, don't turn it over, third-down conversions, touchdowns in the red zone — it's still true today. Those are the ways you win. Yards are a part of it. If you take care of those five areas … explosive plays are a big part of it. It's hard to drive it. If you're not going to be explosive, you better be good on third downs. It's all a part of it.

"The bottom line is how can you be explosive? I've always thought, 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. Big plays. So how do we not figure out ways to get explosive plays? That's fun."

Monken, a high-energy coach like Koetter who is known as a teacher, says his primary job will be coaching receivers but he will assist in offensive game plans.

"My No. 1 responsibility is to maximize the skill set of our wide receivers, to make sure I do my part with that room to help continue this offense to climb,'' he said. "The second part is to decide where that fits. There's more to (being the offensive coordinator) than just calling plays."

Comments
Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Greg Auman has a final preview of Sunday’s Bucs-Dolphins game in Miami in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.He talks about key matchups to watch for, from perhaps the NFL’s best slot receiver in Jarvis Landry, to Miami’s vulnerabilities at right tackl...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

TAMPA — Why should we believe this man?Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is being investigated by the NFL concerning an allegation of him groping a female Uber driver in Scottsdale, Ariz., in March 2016.Winston denied the allegations Friday in a statem...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs journal: DB Vernon Hargreaves will miss Sunday’s game with hamstring injury

Bucs journal: DB Vernon Hargreaves will miss Sunday’s game with hamstring injury

TAMPA — The Bucs will play Sunday against the Dolphins without Vernon Hargreaves, who has been their nickel defensive back the past two games.Hargreaves, the 2016 first-round pick out of Florida and a former Wharton High standout, has been ruled out ...
Published: 11/17/17
Jameis Winston accused of groping Uber driver

Jameis Winston accused of groping Uber driver

TAMPA — The NFL is investigating an allegation that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in March 2016.Winston called the allegations "false" and contested the unnamed female driver’s assertion that he was her only p...
Published: 11/17/17
Uber called Jameis Winston about ‘you or someone in the vehicle with you’

Uber called Jameis Winston about ‘you or someone in the vehicle with you’

Tampa Bay Times has listened to a voicemail Jameis Winston received from Uber relating to the March 2016 incident in Arizona.The NFL is investigating the allegations that Winston grabbed a female Uber driver's crotch in 2016.In the call, someone...
Published: 11/17/17

Jameis Winston says groping allegations are ‘false’

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston denied allegations by an Arizona Uber driver that he groped her in 2016. The NFL confirmed it is investigating the incident.Winston released a statement on his Twitter account saying the driver was 'confused,' by the n...
Published: 11/17/17
Bucs’ linemen ready for challenge of containing Dolphins’ Suh

Bucs’ linemen ready for challenge of containing Dolphins’ Suh

Asked if Miami's Ndamukong Suh is the toughest defensive tackle he's gone against, Bucs center Ali Marpet stops short of an answer."I'll let you know after the game," said Marpet, preparing for Sunday's game against the Dolphins as the Bucs seek thei...
Published: 11/17/17
Bucs-Dolphins: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Bucs-Dolphins: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Here’s the Times’ Bucs coverage team’s predictions for Tampa Bay’s 1 p.m. game Sunday at Miami:LET’S GO STREAKINGRick Stroud, @NFLStroud: It’s been 11 months since the Bucs had a winning streak. That was when they posted five W’s in a row with a win ...
Published: 11/17/17
Rick and Tom podcast: Will the Bucs make it two wins in a row?

Rick and Tom podcast: Will the Bucs make it two wins in a row?

In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones actually agree on their prediction for the Bucs-Dolphins game that will see Ryan Fitzpatrick make his second straight start in place of the injured Jameis Winston. They’ll give you the keys to the ga...
Published: 11/17/17
NFL Week 11: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions

NFL Week 11: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions

Below are the Times staff picks for week 11 of the NFL season:GameTime/DayErnest Hooper, @hoop4youTom Jones, @tomwjonesMartin Fennelly, @mjfennellyThomas Bassinger, @tometricsGreg Auman, @gregaumanRick Stroud, @NFLStroudAgainst the spread (last week)...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17