Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady is the top boom-or-bust option of this year’s head coaching candidates. Should the Jets pursue him?
Each year, it seems there are a few NFL head coaching candidates who offer a bevy of tantalizing potential but also carry massive risk. The last time the Jets were looking for a coach, guys like Kliff Kingsbury and Zac Taylor fit that bill. This time around, nobody fits it better than Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady.
At the ripe age of 31 years old – six years younger than Frank Gore – Brady is making the rounds as one of the most popular head coaching targets in the league. The Jets completed their interview with him on Sunday.
We have completed an interview with Joe Brady for our head coaching vacancy.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) January 9, 2021
Brady burst into the football limelight as the passing game coordinator at Louisiana State University in 2019. He helped lead the Tigers to an average of 48.4 points per game, tops in the nation, as LSU went 15-0 and claimed a national championship.
Most notably, Brady turned redshirt senior quarterback Joe Burrow into a superstar. An Ohio State transfer who barely played as a Buckeye and had a mediocre redshirt junior season for LSU in 2018, Burrow exploded under Brady in 2019, tossing an all-time NCAA record 60 touchdown passes.
Prior to joining LSU, Brady spent two years as an offensive assistant under Sean Payton in New Orleans from 2017-18.
In 2020, Brady did a highly respectable job captaining a Panthers offense that was expected to be one of the league’s worst. Even with Christian McCaffrey missing most of the season, Carolina finished 17th in offensive DVOA with a roster that looked abysmal on paper entering the year.
Brady led four Panthers to over 1,000 scrimmage yards, including breakout seasons by Curtis Samuel, Mike Davis, and former Jets fan favorite Robby Anderson. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater enjoyed perhaps his best season in the league, setting a career-high with 7.6 yards per pass attempt, which ranked 12th-best in the league. Bridgewater also set a career-high with a 64.1 QBR, good enough for 17th out of 35 qualifiers.
It is tough to question Brady’s offensive acumen, but taking on a head coaching role requires much more than just schematic know-how. Is he ready to make that leap at 31 years old with only one year of coordinator experience? Does he have enough connections in the league to build a strong staff? Can he actually coach and lead a locker room, or does he merely excel at calling the shots?
To learn more about Brady’s resume and whether he’s ready to become a head coach, Ben Blessington and Michael Nania spoke to Panthers beat reporter Alaina Getzenburg of the Charlotte Observer, who analyzed the reasons why Brady is such a tantalizing candidate in addition to the reasons why he may be a very risky hire at this stage of his career.