Rising star to fired.

This is the story of many a football coach. In this case, the story is Joe Brady’s.

“End of the day… I didn’t do my job well enough,” Brady said.

Brady’s wild success with Joe Burrow and the national championship team at LSU in 2019 did not continue as offensive coordinator in Carolina. The Panthers were 30th and 21st in total offense the last seasons with Brady at the helm.

The Bills grabbed Brady as quarterbacks coach during the offseason. It’s now his third job in four years.

“I know it’s kinda cliche, but I feel like I almost kinda got let go into a promotion,” Brady said. “Sometimes, that’s the lows of it. What you do is coach football. Now, it’s a Sunday and you’re watching your guys from your couch. I couldn’t wait to be a coach again.”

Sean McDermott likes to tell a story about when he was a younger coach with the Eagles. Older guys on staff once explained he wouldn’t be a ‘real’ coach in the NFL until he was fired.

McDermott never thought it would happen to him, but of course, it did. Just like Brady, his first and only firing came two years into his first coordinator job. McDermott says the most important thing is what comes next.

“There are two types of coaches. Those that handle that and reflect and grow from it. And then those that maybe point the finger at everything else. And say, ‘no, no. It wasn’t me. It was that or them’,” McDermott said. “In this case, I think Joe has done a great job of reflecting and growing.”

Brady comes off exceptionally grounded for a coach who has lived the top and the bottom of the profession in less than 24 months. He emphasizes staying focused on the here and now. He’s also well aware of how he should react to his last two jobs.

“If you’re being proactive in your own development. If you’re looking for ways, ‘How can I improve? How can I grow?’ Just picking up little bits and pieces from everything,” Brady said. “None of us are perfect. We’re all trying to learn from each staff we’re on, each coach, players. It’s been a great opportunity for me to be at a lot of different places.”

The Bills will also give Brady a chance to learn a different offensive scheme. He started his NFL career under Sean Payton and the Saints in 2017. He primarily operated out of the Payton offense while at LSU and in Carolina. In Buffalo, Brady will immerse himself in a new system for the first time.

“It’s been great to start with a clean slate,” Brady said. “If I ever had to put an offense together again, there’s so many elements of this offense that you’d want to use. Sometimes you’re in the same offense where you can get caught up in ‘This is how I know it. This is how I do it’. And now you’re learning a different way.”

The quarterbacks room itself has been a part of the learning process. Brady is only 32 years old. He’s two years younger than Case Keenum and not quite a year older than Matt Barkley. Even without an older guy in the room, mutual respect was quickly established. As was a rule about listening.

“(When) a person is speaking, expect that you can learn a lesson from them,” Brady said. “We might have all been around a play that we’ve ran for ten years, but it might be a little different here. You might learn something.”

Growing up in Florida, Brady was a middle schooler when a college star quarterback named Ken Dorsey was dominating at Miami. Brady tells stories of his youth games getting stopped for updates from Miami vs. Florida State.

The fan boy stuff didn’t last long for Brady when he was added to Dorsey’s staff. The relationship was quickly about the work.

“I’ve always seen the competitive, the great football player he was. You see the football mind and the personality, it’s awesome to work with,” Brady said.

Joining Dorsey’s offense has offered Brady a reset and a chance to reclaim his own star, especially when it’s likely there are still decades worth of career in front of him.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to figure out what works in this league and what I believe in,” Brady said. “I’ve always been grateful, but a little more grateful now.”