Todd Monken talks about his Southern Miss team before the 2015 season
If there’s one result of this year’s NFL coaching carousel that needs to take place, it has to be Todd Monken landing the head coaching job with the New York Jets.
The arrival of the Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator would finally make the Jets entertaining again.
Rex Ryan wasn’t exactly dull as the Jets’ head coach from 2009-14, but he can’t match the quick wit and abrasive honesty that Monken brings to the table.
Ryan was known to ham it up with media, but he was cheesy.
Monken, who has been known to curse a blue streak, is anything but corny.
When Monken accepted the job at Southern Miss in 2012, he gave a glimpse at how he might approach his first head coaching position in the NFL.
“Don’t ask me a question if you don’t want what’s on my mind,” Monken said on Dec. 11, 2012. “I’ve always been that way. I don’t like to really beat around bush. I won’t with players. I won’t with (the media). I think there’s a time when you have to keep things (under wraps). I have to do a better job now that I’m actually the guy rather than just being some slappy. It’s different now. I have to hide certain things and protect players, which I will still do. I don’t believe in not speaking your mind.”
While he has had some verbal missteps during his coaching career, Monken was a mix of unpredictable and professional during his time at Southern Miss from 2013-15. He was unafraid to challenge fans and critique his own team. He took over a program that was at a low point — an 0-12 season under Ellis Johnson in 2012 — and built it into a conference title contender in year No. 3 with a 9-5 campaign.
For a Jets franchise at the height of mediocrity, Monken would bring the rare combination of a brilliant offensive mind and the ability to keep a cynical Jets fanbase entertained.
For Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, Monken would be a gift. He’d be good for the former USC star’s development and Monken should be good at diverting heat from the 21-year-old.
The NYC media market is not an easy place to work, but Monken has the guts and swagger to handle it.
Monken left USM in January of 2016 to join the Tampa Bay staff under Dirk Koetter, who was let go by the Buccaneers on Sunday.
The Jets were one of eight teams to fire their head coach at the conclusion of the 2018 regular season, sending Todd Bowles on his way after three years on the job.
Monken drew speculation throughout the season about the possibility of earning a head coaching job for the 2019 campaign. It appears that the Jets are the first to show interest in Monken, making a Monday request to interview the former USM head coach, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Monken was handed play-calling duties by Koetter for the first time prior to the 2018 campaign. Under his direction, the Buccaneers ranked third in the NFL in average yards per game at 415.5 despite dealing with a poor situation at quarterback where Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick split time behind center.
Fitzpatrick threw for over 400 yards four times this season, including a stunning 48-40 win in New Orleans in the season opener.
There was some speculation that Monken could be in the running for the Buccaneers’ head coaching job, but Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht has apparently ruled out hiring from within the organization.
The Jets would be wise to give Monken a close look before another team gives him his first opportunity as an NFL head coach.