BEREA, Ohio — Browns offensive coordinator Todd Monken joked that his weekly Thursday press conference was like going to the dentist.
But it wasn’t exactly like pulling teeth to get him to talk once he got rolling. Monken pulled no punches about the offensive woes, beginning with Antonio Callaway’s backbreaking drop on the goal-line in Monday Night’s 30-13 loss to the 49ers.
“It’s catastrophic,’’ Monken said. “It completely changed the game. As average as we played up to that point, it’s changed. From then it was not fun, but at that point we were okay.’’
If Callaway hangs on there, the Brown close to 14-10 with about 4:45 left in the first half. Instead, the ball bounced into the hands of former Browns cornerback K’Waun Williams who returned it 49 yards to midfield to set up Tevin Coleman’s 19-yard TD run for a 21-3 lead.
A 14-point swing, and the game was basically over.
“As average as we played up to that point, it’s changed,’’ said Monken. “From then it was not fun, but at that point we were okay.’’
He also mostly absolved Mayfield from blame on the play, even though the QB admits the throw should’ve been a little more in front of Callaway, who was rusty coming off his four-game suspension.
“It was a pretty quick throw, but I didn’t see [him being skittish],’’ Monkey said. “He was pretty decisive in where he was going with the ball. He saw it clean, threw it, we didn’t execute the play for God sakes.’’
Likewise, he spread the blame around for Mayfield’s horrible start, including a No. 32 rating of 68.5 and a No. 33 completion percentage of 55.9. He cited the disastrous opening drive, in which Odell Beckham kicked it off with a 20-yard strike to Jarvis Landry, but things went downhill from there.
“We start off the game, we get good field position, we get a nice play to start it, on the very next play we have a drop (by Beckham) and a mental error by our right tackle (Chris Hubbard) not going out and then we immediately have a false start (by Pharaoh Brown),’’ he said. “ =So you’re on the road with an opportunity to really take the crowd out of it and get a fast start and we do some thing that we’ve unfortunately done too often and that is shoot ourselves in the foot.’’
He said they addressed it as a unit today “’what does an effective offense look like?”
He noted that it starts with gameplanning, moves to coaching it up, practicing it effectively and then taking it to the field — improvement across the board.
“We just have to find a way to do that better, because if we don’t, the product’s going to continue to look like that,’’ he said.
He acknowledged that teams are rollling coverage to Odell Beckham Jr., but that the Browns are still missing opportunities to get him the ball.
“At times you have to take advantage when they’re not, which we haven’t as often as you’d like,’’ he said. “But it does help when you have other players …where they can’t just play a certain player or all you have is a running game and they can load the box and you can’t throw it. Obviously we’re going to continue to do those things with all of our players to try and put them in the best position to be successful.’’
He re-iterated it didn’t matter against the Ravens, when Jarvis Landry was the beneficiary with eight catches for 167 yards, but obviously it hurts in a 31-3 loss to the 49ers when the Browns can’t get Beckham more involved.
“Last week we had 49 snaps,’’ he said. “We just didn’t have the ball that often and we didn’t get him the ball as often as probably we could.’’
He said it starts with the coaching staff. The 2-3 Browns are 25th in points per game heading into their matchup against the 4-1 Seahawks.
“Obviously we’re not doing it well enough, starting with myself and us coaches,’’ he said. “We’re all a part of it. If you want some of the credit when you have success, you’ve got to own it when you don’t. You can’t just say ‘boy, what a great scheme two weeks ago’ and then this week ‘it was a great scheme, we just didn’t execute.’ It’s all of us. We’ve got to do a better of installing it, players understanding what we expect out of a certain concept and then going on the field and then making sure we go on the field and execute it at a high level.
“Right now we’ve got too many people taking turns, each individual person, which puts you in a position to be really choppy. Because after that first completion, it wasn’t the same person that jumped offsides, that we had the errors with the play before. It’s going to look like that until we get it resolved collectively.’’
He refused to attribute the woes to the growing pains of a first-year head coach.
“I don’t see it as tough,’’ he said. “The tough part is not moving the ball and not winning. That’s the frustrating thing. There’s nothing in terms of organizationally or the staff or the things with the players. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just frustrating because we’re paid to do a job. That’s a fact. This is a bottom-line business and right now we’re not as successful as we’d like to be and it’s not good enough.’’
But, he added, the Browns can get it turned around in a hurry. In the final seven weeks, for instance, they play a lot of losing teams including the 1-4 Steelers and 0-5 Bengals twice each.
“It doesn’t take long to get some of these things resolved and all of a sudden momentum is a powerful thing and you feel good about it,’’ he said. “Now it’s time to fix ‘em because it’s no fun coming in here saying the same thing every week. I promise you it’s not. It’s up to us to fix it. There’s no one else coming to save us. It’s not like we’re going to hire four guys outside as a coaching staff, and bring in 10 other players. We have what we have.’’
With that, Monken walked off the dias and said, ’til next Thursday, my next dentist appointment.’’
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