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Bucs OC Todd Monken to Jameis Winston: ‘Let’s not try so hard’

Monken said the Bucs quarterback has enough natural leadership qualities that players will follow him. As for the red zone struggles? 'We chose to suck.'
Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Todd Monken runs drills during last year's training camp. (Times file)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Todd Monken runs drills during last year's training camp. (Times file)
Published May 17, 2018

Jameis Winston doesn't lack for leadership qualities, but sometimes he can go over the top. Whether it's eating Ws before games, picking fights with opposing defensive backs or playing hurt, the Bucs quarterback can put added pressure on himself.

Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken wants Winston to try less to impress.

"The thing is what I've seen, irrespective of the physical stuff on the field, let's not try so hard," Monken said Thursday. "He's got natural leadership qualities. A toughness about him. Guys want to follow him. It's okay to fail. He's human. It's okay to be hurt. It's okay to have that side of you. Let's just go. You don't have to try so hard. Guys will follow you. Just be yourself."

What does Monken mean by trying too hard?

"I think the best way to put it is that in our league, there's so much pressure put on the coaches and that one position. Nobody gets the credit either way for winning or losing than the quarterback or the coaches. That's fine. That's the way it is. Okay, no one is going to blame Mike Evans for why we haven't made the playoffs. That's part of it. We get that. That doesn't mean we all don't want to win. I think the main thing is, 'Okay Jameis, be yourself. You don't have to try so hard. The guys know naturally you're our leader.'

"When you're hurt and you're not winning and you want to so bad…I think you've seen it. I don't have to expand on it."

Is Monken talking about some of the pre-game, rah-rah stuff?

"Some of that is part of it," Monken said. "Some of that is, "Hey. It's okay. Guys, it's okay."

Monken has given up his duties as receivers coach to work as the Bucs' full-time offensive coordinator. That means he will have more time with Winston.

It also means that he has to help coach Dirk Koetter fix the problems on offense, like the Bucs red zone efficiency, where they ranked 24th in the NFL. Monken is quick to note that with five more touchdowns in 2017, the Bucs would've ranked eighth. But dropped balls, fumbled snaps and missed assignments led to the fall.

"We chose to suck," Monken said. "We chose to not do it as well as we can do it. That's the way it is. I say that all the time, ever since I've been in coaching. And everyone has to take a bite of it. I always say this, we sure as heck want the credit when we win. I do. I want some of the credit. And we've got to own it when we don't, when we don't score, when we don't take care of the ball, when you don't do some of the little things that allow you to win, you've got to own it."