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Fitzpatrick: Todd Monken has head coach 'It Factor'

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Todd Monken experienced an interesting season in Tampa Bay.

The offensive coordinator was praised for operating an explosive Buccaneers offense that saw Ryan Fitzpatrick put up historic numbers to open the season. He then had play-calling duties taken by head coach Dirk Koetter. Those responsibilities were then later restored.

Monken now heads into the offseason garnering plenty of interest as an offensive coordinator, and some as a head coach.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported that the New York Jets requested to interview Monken for their open coaching position. The possibility of pairing a creative, field-stretching mind like Monken with young quarterback Sam Darnold could intrigue the New York brass.

Monken certainly has the endorsement of Fitzpatrick, who spent two seasons with the Jets. Fitzpatrick told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News on Tuesday that Monken has the intelligence to help mold a young signal-caller like Darnold.

"I'm telling you: He's got it," Fitzpatrick said. "He's got the 'It Factor' as a head coach. He's smart enough. He's a big-time offensive coach. If that's what they're looking for, then it'll be good for Sam."

While Monken has only been an assistant coach at the pro level, he does have college head coaching experience, spending three seasons helming Southern Miss from 2013-2015.

Fitzpatrick said as an offensive coordinator, Monken was everything a quarterback could ask for.

"If the play-caller has confidence in you, you can feel it on the headset," Fitzpatrick said. "You can feel it by the way he's calling plays. He was so awesome this year in terms of that, especially for it being his first time calling plays in the NFL. It was easy for him. He wasn't stumbling over words or worried about mistakes or shrinking in big moments. He did a great job with all that."

We've seen hot coordinators fizzle quickly as head coaches in the past, but Fitzpatrick suggests Monken owns the disposition to succeed at the top job.

"He has so much personality," Fitzpatrick said. "He's energetic, but he's also very honest. If you ask him a question, he's going to give you the answer. ... He's going to tell it how it is. I think as a coach that's really important. The two things that make you a good head coach in this league are if you can get the players to respect you and if you can come across with a clear, consistent message...

"He's always a guy who's very consistent in what he's doing. That doesn't mean that we were always best of friends and he always agreed with what I did, but if he didn't or had a problem with what I was doing, then he was going to be direct about it and tell me and not beat around the bush. That's one of the most important qualities that I think you can have as a coach."

Whether Monken earns the Jets' job, or any other head coaching positions remains to be seen. However, he should be in line for one of several offensive coordinator jobs, at the very least. Another successful campaign as an OC and Monken would certainly be touted for more coaching gigs in the next cycle.

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