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A Look at Why the Joe Brady Experiment Failed

The Panthers, Joe Brady marriage didn't last long.

Two years ago, Joe Brady was one of the hottest names on the coaching market after leading a dynamic LSU passing attack to a national championship. With Joe Burrow, Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, Terrace Marshall Jr., and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the Tigers had arguably the most potent offense in the history of college football.

When Matt Rhule was hired as the head coach of the Carolina Panthers, he had very few ties in the NFL spending only one year in the league with the New York Giants in 2012. Coming from the collegiate level, Rhule knew of Brady's success at LSU and felt like he would be the best option to call plays for him in Carolina.

After nearly two seasons, the Panthers parted ways with Brady due to the offense's continued struggles. At the moment, Carolina ranks 29th in yards per game (308.7), 29th in passing (197.4 ypg), and 24th in scoring (19.7 ppg). Now, a lot of this could be attributed to the poor offensive line and quarterback play but at the end of the day, there are some very talented skill players on that side of the ball and to post those types of numbers is horrific.

Want my true, honest opinion on Brady?

I think he's a good football coach, I really do. He's a bright offensive mind but he's very young. Sometimes young coaches that are extremely smart, outsmart themselves. They play too much into the analytics, they're super conservative and run a vanilla offense. There's nothing complex about Brady's scheme. It's very basic, which is why he struggled to have positive results. In this league, you can't be predictable. You have to throw in a bunch of motions, double moves, RPO's, rub routes, and present the defense with some eye candy pre-snap. From what I can tell, 90% of the motions are just to expose if the defense is in man or zone coverage. There are very few motions into routes, blocks, or once again, eye candy. Getting the eyes of the defense to have their eyes in the wrong place could be the difference between a two-yard gain or a 20-yard gain. 

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After the Panthers put up a miserable offensive performance against the New York Giants, the writing was on the wall - Joe Brady wasn't going to last. It was more of a matter of when rather than if he would be fired. Matt Rhule preached all week leading up to the game how he wanted to get back to running the football and staying committed to it. The Panthers would only run the ball 17 times for 56 yards. That is the complete opposite of committing to the ground game, it's essentially abandoning it. For whatever reason, I don't think Rhule and Brady were on the same page. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. So, if Rhule knew Brady wasn't going to be with the team in 2022 then why wait to part ways? Yes, there are five games left in the season but this will give Jeff Nixon an opportunity to call plays and potentially earn the role full-time.

One of the biggest reasons I believe the Brady/Panthers marriage didn't last long is because of Brady's experience calling plays. A lot of people forget that he wasn't the offensive coordinator at LSU, he was the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach, thus meaning he has never had full control of an offense before. Looking back on it, you could argue that those star players that he had at LSU were the sole reason he earned an opportunity with Rhule and the Panthers in the first place. Sometimes players make a coach look better than he really is. That's not to say Brady won't ever regain that success, I think he will. In all likelihood, he'll land on his feet back at the collegiate level as an offensive coordinator and will find a lot of growth in his next stop. 

As for the Panthers, I think Matt Rhule has no choice but to go out and find someone who has experience calling plays in the NFL, even if they have no previous ties to him. If he wants to make it through the 2022 season as the head coach of the Panthers, he has to make some solid hires and it starts with replacing Joe Brady.

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