An offensive wunderkind has been shown the door.
The Carolina Panthers are parting ways with offensive coordinator Joe Brady following a Sunday morning meeting with head coach Matt Rhule, the team announced. Senior offensive assistant Jeff Nixon will coordinate the offense with the remainder of the staff for the rest of the season.
"I met with Joe this morning and informed him that I have decided to make a change," Rhule said, per the team's official site. "I'm very grateful to him for his time and effort in helping us get established over this past year and a half."
Brady's arrival came with plenty of fanfare in an addition that was seen as a major coup for the new-look Panthers. Brady had helped coordinate Louisiana State University's stellar passing game, which produced multiple future NFL stars in Joe Burrow, Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase, and his hire promised a new era of aerial success for the Panthers.
What they instead received was nearly two seasons of frustration. Carolina's one-year trial with Teddy Bridgewater flopped, resulting in Bridgewater's exit and a public airing of grievances related to Brady's approach.
"I'll just say this, for Joe Brady's growth, that organization, they'll have to practice different things in different ways," Bridgewater explained in May.
Supporters of the Panthers could paint Bridgewater as a disgruntled, discarded quarterback, but Sunday's development says otherwise. So does the 2021 season, which saw Carolina attempt to proceed with a reclamation project involving Sam Darnold, then briefly turn to backup P.J. Walker before bringing in former franchise pillar Cam Newton for an injection of hope. The latter didn't last long, with Carolina losing its next two after Newton helped them defeat Arizona in Week 10.
In total, the Panthers haven't come even remotely close to the offense they envisioned when they hired Brady. Carolina currently ranks 28th in total offense and passing yards per game, essentially wasting a stellar defense that ranks second in the NFL in yards allowed per game and first in passing yards per game.
Thus, a change was needed, and Rhule made it Sunday with a little over a month remaining in a season that is nearly lost. After starting 3-0, the Panthers have won just two of their last nine games. They're lingering in the abyss, and it's fair to also view Brady's exit as an effort to pin blame on the coordinator and not on Rhule, who hasn't lived up to his own expectations through two seasons.
Carolina will hope to turn things around in the final month to prove to ownership they're still on the right track. It will be up to Rhule and Nixon to see it through.