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What Matt Rhule said about parting ways with former offensive coordinator Joe Brady

·3 min read

Panthers coach Matt Rhule said during the bye week he watched tape of games and practices, and ultimately came to the conclusion that he needed to make a change.

On Sunday morning, Rhule met with Joe Brady and told him he’d be relieving him of his duties as offensive coordinator.

Brady was fired after 1 1/2 seasons with the Panthers. Through 12 games, the Panthers ranked 28th in the league in total offense and 23rd in points per game.

“He’s done a lot to get us moving in the right direction, but this was something that I felt like from a football perspective, we needed to do now,” Rhule said. “I didn’t see any reason to wait. It was purely football.”

This is the second consecutive year the Panthers have struggled on offense. Last year, the Panthers’ offense ranked 21st in the league in total yards per game.

Carolina Panthers new offensive coordinator Joe Brady listens to a question from the media during his introductory press conference at Bank of America Stadium on Friday, January 17, 2020.
Carolina Panthers new offensive coordinator Joe Brady listens to a question from the media during his introductory press conference at Bank of America Stadium on Friday, January 17, 2020.

“I felt like we could play better on offense,” Rhule said. “That’s not about any one person or anything one thing. I felt like this was the best way that I could help us move forward.”

Rhule hired Brady, 32, from LSU, where he was the passing game coordinator, in January of 2020 to serve as the Panthers’ OC shortly after he was hired to coach the Panthers. Before then, the Rhule and Brady had not worked together.

Brady was coming off a year in which LSU won a national championship. He was regarded as one of the best young minds in college football. He interviewed for at least four NFL head coaching positions last offseason.

But the Panthers’ offense never looked dynamic in his two years there. Rhule wanted the Panthers to be a running football team, but in some games, the Panthers rarely ran the ball at Brady’s direction.

“It’s not one big thing, it’s kind of the vision of how we think we need to play and where we’ll be moving forward,” Rhule said. “We want to be a team that can run the football. Obviously, we can’t throw multiple interceptions. Whatever we do, we just have to do it at a higher level.”

Efforts to reach Brady were unsuccessful.

In the meantime, the senior offensive assistant and running backs coach Jeff Nixon will take over the offensive playcalling duties with help from the rest of the offensive staff.

“I think he’s a calm steadying influence,” Rhule said of Nixon. “He has experience as a coordinator. There’s lots of guys I think would be good at this role. I wanted to keep Sean (Ryan) in the quarterback room full time. I think Jeff is a guy that collaborates well with us.”

When asked was this a five-game audition for Nixon as the next offensive coordinator of the Panthers, Rhule said he told Nixon to just focus on this week.

“I want Jeff and the offensive staff to help us score points,” Rhule said. “At the end of the day, we want to win football games. Defensively, I feel like we’re playing well enough most times to win, we’ve got to score more points on offense.”

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