Joe Brady Fired as Panthers OC After 1-Plus Seasons with Team

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 5, 2021

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 28: Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady Carolina Panthers takes the field before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers announced Sunday that offensive coordinator Joe Brady has been fired in just his second season with the team.

"I met with Joe this morning and informed him that I have decided to make a change," head coach Matt Rhule said. "I'm very grateful to him for his time and effort in helping us get established over this past year-and-a-half."

According to Joe Person of The Athletic, senior offensive assistant Jeff Nixon—who was the play-caller at Baylor when Rhule was the head coach of the Bears—will take over as offensive coordinator.

Under Brady, the Panthers finished 21st in yards and 24th in points per game last season, and they came into Sunday ranked just 28th in yards and 23rd in points per contest this year. 

Granted, those struggles can't be put entirely at Brady's feet.

Superstar running back Christian McCaffrey has played in just 10 of a possible 28 games over the past two seasons due to injuries, taking away the team's best offensive weapon. Carolina went from Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback last year to Sam Darnold, P.J. Walker and Cam Newton this season. 

Dave Birkett @davebirkett

Exactly <a href="https://t.co/le5BV5l0t9">https://t.co/le5BV5l0t9</a>

Kevin Seifert @SeifertESPN

The Panthers have fired OC Joe Brady. Perhaps it was justified. But, Joe Brady isn’t the person who decided to trade for QB Sam Darnold, guarantee his 5th-year option, sign Cam Newton off the street, immediately put him in the lineup and think it would help.

But Brady reportedly never achieved the run-pass balance that Rhule was looking for in his offense:

David Newton @DNewtonespn

Matt Rhule wanted the Panthers to rush 30-33 times a game. They had only 16 rushes in their last game before the bye. Now former OC Joe Brady just never found the right balance.

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

Last January, Joe Brady had five NFL head coaching interviews. But the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Panthers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Panthers</a> have been one of the NFL's least-productive offenses two years in a row and there were signs Brady and Matt Rhule weren't on the same page. Big changes coming off the bye with Brady out.

Aaron Schatz 🏈 @FO_ASchatz

When did Matt Rhule want Joe Brady to call more runs? When losing 33-10 to Miami or when losing 24-6 to New England?

Regardless, the Panthers have some fundamental issues on offense, namely the future of the quarterback position. That's for general manager Scott Fitterer and Rhule to solve. 

For now, the 5-7 Panthers, currently 11th in the NFC, will try to play their way back into a playoff berth with five games remaining after their Week 13 bye and Nixon running the offense.

And Brady—the former LSU passing-game coordinator who helped the Tigers claim a national championship in the 2019 season and Joe Burrow win a Heisman Trophy with his scheme—will likely receive no shortage of interest in the college game as an offensive coordinator.