One massive question the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to answer this offseason is who will be running the offense.
It’s difficult to answer the other glaring question — who will play quarterback — until it’s known who will be calling the plays. Tampa Bay has a chicken and an egg situation, and so far it’s not been going well.
The Buccaneers brought in Todd Monken for an interview, creating a potential situation where he would reunite with Mike Evans and some of the other offensive pieces he coached when he was here in the late 2010s.
Instead, Monken ended up choosing the Ravens over the Bucs and other suitors.
“The Ravens are hiring Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken as their new offensive coordinator,” Rapoport reported on Tuesday. “After an impressive college stint with two national titles, the former Browns and Bucs coordinator makes his return to professional football in Baltimore.”
Objectively, it feels like a perfect move. Monken, who has displayed an ability to create a high-powered offense in the NFL with the likes of Jameis Winston and Baker Mayfield. The caveat is he has great offensive success on bad teams, as none of those Bucs or Browns teams went to the playoffs.
His success at Georgia, though, goes a long way in erasing any doubt. The logic of having Monken do what he did with Jameis, Baker, and Stetson Bennett with Lamar Jackson is exciting in the bigger picture.
More granularly, it’s subjectively terrible for the Bucs. Not only did the team miss out on a top coordinator it had interviewed but it casts a shadow over the search as a whole. Replacing Byron Leftwich has been an incredibly slow burn, to the point now that fans can justifiably wonder what is going on.
Monken is the second coordinator to pass on the Bucs job. Pep Hamilton declined an interview request back in January, and now Monken has been in the building and decided to take a job elsewhere in the league. Kellen Moore was briefly linked to the Bucs but took a job with the Chargers.
There’s a common thread here that is notable, and highlights why the Bucs job is so unattractive to top candidates. Moore linked up with Justin Herbert in Los Angeles while Monken chose the Ravens job to work with Lamar Jackson.
What do the Bucs have to compete? You’re telling me neither of those guys wanted to work with Kyle Trask over Pro Bowl MVP candidates?
It’s a painful reminder of the work that needs to be done in the wake of the Tom Brady era ending to restore Tampa Bay’s reputation as a contender in the NFL.