NFL Insider Ian Rapoport Reveals ‘Warning Signs’ That Led to the Carolina Panthers Shocking Firing of Offensive Wunderkind Joe Brady

In his latest article for The Ringer, NFL insider Ian Rapoport discusses the warning signs that led to Carolina firing head coach Ron Rivera and QB Cam Newton.

Ian Rapoport, the NFL Insider has revealed that “warning signs” led to the Carolina Panthers firing of Joe Brady. The team was reportedly unhappy with Brady’s lack of leadership and his inability to adapt to their offense. Read more in detail here: north carolina panthers.

NFL Insider Ian Rapoport Reveals 'Warning Signs' That Led to the Carolina Panthers Shocking Firing of Offensive Wunderkind Joe Brady

The Carolina Panthers and head coach Matt Rhule sacked offensive coordinator Joe Brady on Sunday, which was shocking news. Brady’s arrival in the NFL from LSU less than two years ago was a significant coup for the Panthers. After just 28 games, the future of both the very young former OC and the Panthers organization is questionable.  

Joe Brady, the offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers, was dismissed after just 28 games.

Joe Brady, the Panthers’ offensive coordinator, has been dismissed. It was possible that it was justifiable. Joe Brady, on the other hand, isn’t the one who traded for QB Sam Darnold, guaranteed his fifth-year option, signed Cam Newton off the street, placed him in the starting right away, and thought that would help.

December 5, 2021 — Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN)

Joe Burrow was a former Ohio State recruit who switched to LSU after failing to beat out Dwayne Haskins. He was a record-breaking, Heisman Trophy-winning, national championship-winning, No. 1 overall draft selection in 2020, and the savior of the Bengals’ dormant club.

Joe Brady, the now 32-year-old offensive maestro, was instrumental in this change.

Brady’s dramatic journey from FCS wide receiver at William & Mary to offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers in the NFL was remarkable.

Brady spent two seasons each at his alma institution (linebackers coach), Penn State (grad assistant), and the New Orleans Saints after graduating from Virginia (offensive assistant). According to, he then spent a year at LSU as the passing game coordinator and receivers coach.  

Brady’s stint at Baton Rouge is remembered for helping to develop Burrow and winning the national championship.

Burrow threw for 2,894 yards and 16 touchdowns in his junior season without Brady. Brady passed for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns with Brady during his senior year, winning the Heisman Trophy.

Brady, then 30 years old, was hired as the offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers in 2019 under former Baylor head coach Matt Rhule.

According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, there were ‘warning indications’ that Brady was in trouble.

In Carolina, Joe Brady’s extraordinary track record of quick success came to a stop.

The 2020 Carolina Panthers concluded the season with a 5-11 record and the NFL’s No. 24 scoring offense. According to, when QB Teddy Bridgewater left in the summer, the signal-caller publicly blasted the rookie OC’s practice plan.

Brady failed to assist 2018 No. 3 overall selection Sam Darnold or 2011 No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton develop into competent NFL quarterbacks this season, and his offense is once again ranked 24th in points scored in the league.

These concerns, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, were “warning flags” leading up to Brady’s surprising termination on Sunday:

There were several red flags in this area. Let me give you a few instances. To begin with, Teddy Bridgewater joined the Panthers last season. It didn’t work out, and he never really got his stride, so he ended up criticizing the system and offensive game plan after being moved in the summer. Meanwhile, Bridgewater has established himself as a credible starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos, forcing the Panthers to look for a replacement. Sam Darnold, who everyone anticipated would take the next step, was plainly unable to do so due to injury. Cam Newton is having on-again, off-again troubles with the offense. Regardless, Brady was out at the conclusion of the season. They even speculated that he would get a position at a college. It didn’t happen since many of the large college roles were already occupied. Joe Brady has been fired by [Matt] Rhule.

Joe Brady, according to Ian Rapoport

While Brady’s NFL future is currently unknown, based on his accomplishments at LSU, he should have no trouble landing a college offensive coordinator job, and maybe even a head coaching position at that level.

The Panthers now have five games to decide whether they will have a successful or unsuccessful season.

In Week 14, the Panthers take on the Atlanta Falcons in an attempt to save the 2021 season.

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.

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. Joe Brady | Photo courtesy of Getty Images/Cliff Hawkins .

Despite the turmoil surrounding Joe Brady’s dismissal and Carolina’s problematic quarterback issue, the Panthers enter the closing stretch of the season only a game out of the NFC’s last two playoff berths.

Under the direction of running backs coach Jeff Nelson, the club and its offense will now face the division-rival Atlanta Falcons.

Nelson, 47, served as the assistant offensive coordinator for Baylor in 2019 under Matt Rhule. The Bears finished 11-3 that season, propelling Rhule to the NFL.

The new Nelson-led offense gets off to a good start against the 5-7 Atlanta Falcons, who have the league’s No. 31 scoring defense. The Panthers, on the other hand, will face a slew of challenges in the last four games.

Carolina will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills, New Orleans Saints, and Buccaneers again at the conclusion of the season.

The Panthers still have a chance to make the playoffs if Nelson’s offense can find a way to reach new heights, as they are only a game behind the 6-6 Washington Football Team and the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC’s No. 6 and No. 7 postseason places.

If it can’t, the Panthers may wind up with a top-ten choice in the NFL draft in 2022.

Unfortunately for Rhule, Nelson, and the Panthers, even this high draft position may not be enough to solve their quarterback problems. This year’s draft will lack the high-end signal-caller skill seen in prior editions.

Nonetheless, the choice might assist in the acquisition of a new quarterback.

David Tepper, the company’s owner and a wealthy investor, is renowned for taking enormous risks. The Panthers may use the selection to persuade a club to move a disgruntled veteran quarterback to Charlotte.

Pro Football Reference and Sports Reference provided all stats.

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