Easy decision – Joe Brady should get full-time coordinator job


Staff member

Joe Brady’s work in helping resuscitate the Buffalo Bills’ year in general and their offense in particular should earn him the full-time offensive coordinator job after the playoffs.

Promoting Brady, who is 6-1 since replacing Ken Dorsey on Nov. 14, is one of the easier decisions the Bills’ brass will face in an offseason full of difficult calls.

Brady has the complete trust of quarterback Josh Allen, which shouldn’t count for everything, but should count for something. Their rapport will speed up the transition to the playbook Brady will introduce in the spring.

Brady will make his postseason coordinator debut Sunday at 1 p.m. against Pittsburgh in an AFC wild-card game at Highmark Stadium. Three of his six wins were against playoff teams Kansas City, Dallas and Miami.

“Right from Day One in this role, Joe has been a great communicator, very collaborative and his energy allows for that,” head coach Sean McDermott said.

The biggest difference? The running game with Allen and tailback James Cook.

Brady called – and was fine with – more carries by Allen – 4.8 average under Dorsey, 9.0 under Brady. And Cook has averaged 19.6 rushes/catches in Brady’s seven games compared to 14.4 with Dorsey.

Brady also has impressed the players, many of whom thrived under Dorsey’s watch.

“I think Joe does a great job listening to the things Josh wants especially and we have extra meetings to quickly go over what we like and what we don’t like,” tight end Dawson Knox said. “That two-way communication with the players has been awesome.”

Brady was promoted under less-than-awesome circumstances. The Bills’ offense, McDermott believed, was spinning its wheels. It was time to get desperate to save the season. Handling the job of calling the plays of another person’s playbook is foreign to just about everybody, but Bills tight ends coach Rob Boras could relate.

In December 2015, the St. Louis Rams fired offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti and elevated Boras from tight ends coach for the final four games. The Rams scored 21, 31, 23 and 16 points in going 3-1 under Boras to finish 7-9.

Last month, I asked Boras how he balanced his mind between The Present (helping the Rams win) and The Future (this was a terrific opportunity to audition for the full-time gig).

“I didn’t think about that at all and I haven’t addressed that with Joe if he was thinking that way,” Boras said. “You don’t really have time to think about it as a job interview. If you do, you’re thinking about the wrong things. (The thinking is), ‘How can we help the team right now in the moment?’ ”

How did Boras put his stamp on the Rams’ offense in-season?

“The offense is the offense, right?” he said. “You’re not changing a whole lot. You may switch something and take it a slightly different direction with what you’re emphasizing, but there aren’t wholesale changes that are happening at that point. You might want to, but there is only so much (you can do). You’ve had ‘X’ number of practices in the spring and training camp and you’re not changing a whole lot.”

Boras was promoted to the Rams’ full-time job in 2016. Brady should receive the same promotion.

Quick kicks​

1. Historical matchup. When was the last time college football teammates met as NFL head coaches in a playoff game? A long, long time ago. McDermott and Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin played at William & Mary. I went to my football history go-to – former colleague/always friend Dan Daly for the historical rarity.

In the 1943 NFL Championship Game, Hunk Anderson was co-coach of the Chicago Bears with Paddy Driscoll (George Halas was serving in the Navy) against Dutch Bergman’s Washington team. The Bears won, 41-21.

Anderson and Bergman were Notre Dame teammates from 1918-19 for coach Knute Rockne.

2. Ring memories. Among the Bills coaches and players who have won Super Bowl rings are offensive line coach Aaron Kromer (2009 New Orleans), offensive lineman David Edwards and safety Taylor Rapp (2021 Los Angeles Rams). The last time they wore their rings?

Kromer: “It’s a trophy more than it is something you wear. I wore it around New Orleans after (the Saints beat Indianapolis) so people could see it and I could share it and they could take a picture of it.”

Edwards: “I wore it to a school visit in my hometown (in Illinois) last offseason. I don’t wear it (regularly). I try to bring it out for stuff like a charity event, visits to schools, stuff like that because I remember being that kid and looking up to anybody that was in that position.”

Rapp: “Probably the party when we got it. It’s too big to wear around. Way too big.”

3. Tush push adjustments. The Bills faced five third-and-1 plays against Miami and Allen was 3 of 4 and he didn’t make it in a fourth-and-1. What did the Dolphins do well to defend the play?

“They did a good job of crashing the (defensive) end and playing guys over the top (of the offensive line) and playing guys low, too,” said Edwards, who is the jumbo tight end. “It’s something we’ll look at and correct and be better moving forward, but we also got them a few times.”

4. Miller feels good. Bills defensive end Von Miller had no sacks for the first time in 12 regular seasons (he missed all of 2020), but Playoff Time has been Von Time – 10½ sacks in 11 postseason games.

Miller played only 15 snaps at Miami after he was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career against New England in Week 17.

“I’m feeling good,” Miller said after Thursday’s practice. “I think the rest was key. It just gave my knee another week to heal. I went into that (Dolphins) game and felt good. That last drive, it felt like it was my time and it was playoff football.”

5. Numbers of note. Compared to last year’s playoff loss to Cincinnati, the Bills have 18 new players on their 53-man roster (33.9% turnover) and only three projected defensive starters against Pittsburgh started against the Bengals (defensive end Greg Rousseau, safety Jordan Poyer and nickel back Taron Johnson). … Deonte Harty’s 96-yard punt return touchdown against Miami was tied for the 13th-longest in NFL history and the first in the fourth quarter/overtime since Arizona’s Patrick Peterson (overtime) in 2011. … The Steelers won a league-best nine one-possession games (9-2 record); the Bills were 6-6. … Receiver Stefon Diggs finished with 25 explosive receptions (gain of at least 16 yards), but only five in the last eight games.