Colts Fire Offensive Coordinator Marcus Brady

Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Marcus Brady
Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Marcus Brady
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 8 - The Indianapolis Colts have fired offensive coordinator Marcus Brady, according to a report from NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.  

Brady had been a member of the Colts organization since 2018, beginning as an assistant quarterbacks coach, quarterbacks coach and eventually working his way up to offensive coordinator in 2021. Brady worked with a different starting quarterback in each year as their coach and spent his two years as offensive coordinator working with first-year trade acquisitions in Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan. 

The firing comes just two days after the Colts' 17-16 loss to the Washington Commanders, putting them at 3-4-1 on the season. Indianapolis' 16.1 points per game is the third-worst average in the league, behind only Denver and Puttsbirgh.  The Colts currently hold the title for worst offensive DVOA in the league. Their -25.3% offensive DVOA is on pace for the franchise's worst since 1992. Indianapolis currently has the fourth-fewest rushing yards per game despite having last year's rushing leader in Jonathan Taylor.  

 

Comments

49 comments, Last at 03 Nov 2022, 10:10am

#1 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 01, 2022 - 10:58am

Uh, yeah, sure, the OC is the problem. Nothing to see here, move along...

Points: 0

#2 by KnotMe // Nov 01, 2022 - 10:58am

New England should hire him. Can he actually be worse than Matt Patricia?

But yes, coordinators are like ablative armor for coaches. 

Points: 0

#4 by Pat // Nov 01, 2022 - 11:31am

Yeah, which is why my opinion for Reich is falling so fast. You hired this guy. You saw him during the offseason and thought things were working. If he's not doing well, change things up, bring additional guys to work with him, fix the problem. Firing him mid-season is just scapegoating. Especially because there's been zero hints of internal friction there.

Points: 0

#8 by BigRichie // Nov 01, 2022 - 12:09pm

You really think Reich fired him rather than Irsay demanded it??

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#11 by Pat // Nov 01, 2022 - 12:22pm

It's the same problem. If Irsay's coming and demanding I fire a guy who's not actually the problem, I'd just tell him to fire both of us. It doesn't matter if you're in the "but, but, he needs to keep his job" camp, because if the owner's coming in and demanding you fire someone who's not actually a problem, you're just not going to succeed, period.

Yes, obviously, it's entirely possible that Reich did this, Irsay said "no," and he's the one who fired him, and told Reich you better support this decision or I'll fire you for cause or something. Completely get that. But usually information like that will leak. Indy's not exactly some giant bulwark of integrity that you never get leaks out of.

Points: 0

#17 by KnotMe // Nov 01, 2022 - 1:18pm

who knows? I feel like coordinator firings are usually from the coach end as would the owner actually interact with them enough to do it?  I suppose he could say "offence sucks, fire that coordinator", but that makes it Reich's job to point out that changing guys probably isn't gonna improve things esp with a rookie QB. Ok, Ellinger has a like .01% chance of bieing the answer or anything but doing this isn't helping. 

 

Points: 0

#31 by Pat // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:38pm

Yup. And I know there are certain people who have a low reputation of Tomlin here, but for me, Tomlin sticking with Canada during the season is exactly the right thing to do. I've said elsewhere, I don't judge coaches based on results - I judge them based on what they do based on the results. Idiot coaches can win with fantastic talent, and great coaches can lose with terrible talent. We know this. We've seen this over, and over, and over. And sometimes, like Belichick in '20, just working with lesser talent is the right option anyway.

GMs bring in talent, coaches try to put it all together. Sometimes it doesn't work, you figure out what does work, and change for the next year until things get better. I don't blame coaches when a player struggles, although in Indy's case where there's a better option on the roster you do get some blame.

Points: 0

#3 by theslothook // Nov 01, 2022 - 11:12am

Who is buying this firing as anything other than straw grasping scapegoating? 

I suppose if the spin allowed, they would prefer to fire the team's personal chef/ball boys.

 

Points: 0

#5 by KnotMe // Nov 01, 2022 - 11:34am

I wonder if this mean Reich is on the hotseat. I never had much of an opinion on him (he seemed decent enough) but curious what the actual fans think. 

Seems pretty obvious to me that coaching isn't the problem.  They are only a game off .500ish, doesn't feel like the results are that bad relative to the situation. 

Points: 0

#6 by Pat // Nov 01, 2022 - 11:46am

 

Seems pretty obvious to me that coaching isn't the problem.

... why? The coaches are the ones that thought that Pryor could handle LT, that Reimann was remotely ready, and that Ryan was a good 1-year option.

Points: 0

#12 by Pat // Nov 01, 2022 - 12:23pm

The GM gets you the guys. You don't have to play them. If the GM's deciding who plays, that's... a very screwed up organization.

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#19 by KnotMe // Nov 01, 2022 - 1:29pm

Doesn't Jerry send in Zeke for Dallas? You can only play the guys you have.  There is no way they could have benched Ryan for Ellinger at the start of the season. Totally impossible. 

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#22 by colonialbob // Nov 01, 2022 - 1:46pm

I'd turn that around... I don't think there's any way Ballard deals for Ryan with the approval of Reich/the staff. Now, Ryan may have been a compromise solution, not Reich's first choice, etc, but equally he could've been the guy Reich stumped for. No real way for us to know until possibly way after the fact. But I very much doubt Ballard acquired Ryan without buy in from the coaching staff first.

Points: 0

#34 by Pat // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:45pm

They could've played Kelly instead of Pryor or Reimann!

Those guys were literally falling on their butts trying to do basic pass sets. There's no way they couldn't have seen that in practice, and Kelly would've been right there, saying "um, guys?" Which he literally was doing on Twitter. And I'm actually using "literally" correctly here, in both cases. And the heavy pass usage is all on Reich as well. It doesn't matter if you're like "but they aren't run blocking well either" - the pass blocking was non-functional.

The blame on Ryan is just as much scapegoating as firing the OC is. Ryan's not that washed, they just built a completely broken offense.

Points: 0

#40 by turbohappy // Nov 01, 2022 - 5:07pm

Agreed on Pryor like wtf who vouched for him? 

The pass-heavy thing depends on the game. Most of those games passing was sort of working some of the time even though the blocking was non-functional, but running was just resigning to never ever scoring. There was a game or two though (the second Titans game comes to mind) where they had somewhat decent run efficiency and yet still stopped running and I don't understand that at all.

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#39 by turbohappy // Nov 01, 2022 - 5:00pm

Reimann looked like a rookie. But whoever said that Pryor was an NFL starter at any position and got him $5.5mil deserves to be fired. He just doesn't move like an NFL player, even at guard his feet are too slow and he can't stay balanced. 

When players have to go to social media to get a chance to play and then prove to be the obvious best answer on the roster, something is VERY dysfunctional. Someone is the root of this dysfunction (or maybe multiple people) and this team has no chance until they are removed. I'm not sure that the root of it is Brady. For example, it feels like the "who gets snaps" decisions are poor on defense (Facyson for example) as well, like the people with bigger contracts get snaps whether they deserve it or not. 

Reich and Ballard both seem for all the world like good and reasonable dudes (unlike someone like Grigson), but something is deeply wrong in the organization somewhere.

Points: 0

#45 by Pat // Nov 02, 2022 - 10:11am

Eh, you're stretching at guard. He's replacement level-ish at guard (with no offseason there and the wrong training!). He's been okay the last three games, considering he's too heavy from trying to put on weight to play tackle. He was literally falling on his butt on something like 30-40% of his pass sets at tackle. It's the most insane thing I've ever seen, and I watched the Winston Justice game.

I think you're just overestimating what $5.5M gets you at OL as a starter. And that's partly the key - if the Colts had offered him like, 2-3M in free agency to be a backup, that's fine. But when they're having you come in and you're expecting him to play 60-70 snaps every game, $5M basically is a minimum salary veteran. It's a contact sport, and players know that. They want more money on the expectation of getting smacked around every snap.

Now, if you're saying "the Colts shouldn't've tried to get a starting left tackle for $5.5M," ab-so-lutely.

When players have to go to social media to get a chance to play and then prove to be the obvious best answer on the roster, something is VERY dysfunctional.

One million percent. When they put Kelly in that game, I was like "what in the actual hell." I mean, you could've seen the difference between Kelly and Pryor/Reimann in ten minutes at practice. And it's not like Kelly was suddenly playing like a super-stud or anything, but he was manageable.

Points: 0

#10 by theslothook // Nov 01, 2022 - 12:15pm

I think Reich is a good coach who has managed to overachieve even in this year. They've been in most of their games in spite of an offense that is among the absolute worst if not the actual worst.

Here's my best summary for why the Colts are where they are. It is very hard to sustain winning when you don't have a true solution at QB. The colts managed to string together enough positive seasons post luck, but that musical chairs was eventually going to end.

If you try your hand at the craps table long enough, you will eventually crap out and that's what happened at last when they grabbed Ryan.

So from the outside, all of this was entirely predictable. Could other coaches do better given this situation? I can name a few but I can name a lot more that would probably be winless with this situation. 

Points: 0

#15 by KnotMe // Nov 01, 2022 - 1:10pm

If Reich got fired I feel he would probably be the top candidate outside Sean Payton (and Payton needs you to work out a deal with the saints, so he might beat him there).  Even if he had input on the Ryan decision, most people like the trade and nobody saw Ryan dropping off the table like he did. It's a risk you take when you go that route. Sometimes it works (Brady), sometimes it does not.  

 

Not sure who you consider the best offensive coach now (Reid, Shanahan, other?), but can't see much improvement. They are 31st in DYAR. I can't see a coach no matter how good they are getting above say 25(and that might be a stretch).. 

Points: 0

#18 by Pat // Nov 01, 2022 - 1:27pm

I just don't understand the Reich love. He's a good schematic guy. He makes good in-game decisions. He's just not a good head coach. Going after Wentz was a huge mistake - you don't vouch hard for a guy that you're not completely confident in, and he couldn't be completely confident in him after 2020.

And then taking 5 games to settle into an offensive line that you had in training camp? And it's not a case of a rookie developing or injuries or anything (although you could argue Kelly was injured during the offseason). They've played Kelly/Nelson/Kelly/Pryor/Smith for three games now, and all of those guys were healthy and veterans in week 1. It was so confusing that Dennis Kelly responded to it on Twitter with a Schitt's Creek reference.

Does Ballard deserve blame for letting the OL decline? Yes, of course. But, I mean... they should've been shuffling the line during the game in week 1. They should've settled on something by week 2.

And then there's the fact that they were using Ryan more than he'd ever been used before. Ever. Even during years when they won 4 games. When their offensive line was making the Keystone Cops look organized. None of this makes sense.

Points: 0

#21 by KnotMe // Nov 01, 2022 - 1:42pm

The Wentz thing seemed like a mandate to "solve this now"(i.e. like the Ryan trade). And of course he's gonna express confidence in him.  No good comes from dissing a player to the media and he had the sense to cut bait on that quickly at least.  You need talent, esp at QB or its not gonna be good no matter who the coach is. 

The o line thing is hard to evaluate without more insight into what was going on. 

Points: 0

#23 by theslothook // Nov 01, 2022 - 1:47pm

I think this is the correct answer and evaluating offensive line play without knowledge of the broader system gets even harder. Guys missing blocks in theory is 100 percent on the offensive linemen, but we've also seen how much scheme and cohesion can improve an offensive line's play and there may have been a broader sense that these were early growing pains.

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#25 by Pat // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:00pm

and evaluating offensive line play without knowledge of the broader system

If the system involved Reimann and Pryor falling flat on their butts and barely laying a hand on the defender, you still fire Frank Reich.

but we've also seen how much scheme and cohesion

which is why I said this should've been done much earlier.

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#41 by turbohappy // Nov 01, 2022 - 5:14pm

Reimann really wasn't whiffing - he got to his spots and made the block just got overpowered and had to hold a lot - and he's a rookie so you expect some growing pains. I'm not sure why they haven't tried a lineup with him at right tackle and Smith at RG. Anything to get Pryor off the field. I don't even care if the team is bad I just can't watch him completely whiff blocks and follow his guy towards the QB any more.

Points: 0

#46 by Pat // Nov 02, 2022 - 10:19am

Reimann really wasn't whiffing

He really had some of the same issues that Pryor did. I could put a cutup of the two of them side by side and you wouldn't notice plenty of the plays. They both had massive balance/footwork issues right at the start. Reimann got himself off balance due to inexperience, Pryor due to athleticism/weight. But neither of them looked like they should be out there at LT.

Pryor at guard's gonna take some time because he put on too much weight for tackle, and also because Ryan Kelly's struggling with the line coordination, I think. Which is understandable considering the shuffling.

I mean... Pryor actually had a block I noticed versus the Commanders. Like, a good one. And then Taylor fumbled 6 yards downfield. Such is the Colts.

Points: 0

#24 by colonialbob // Nov 01, 2022 - 1:56pm

This take on Reich makes sense to me - overrated to some degree because the easily observable/measurable decisions look good, while the indicators of the more hidden but also more important decisions are much more questionable. I think there are several coaches who are the opposite, they get dinged (deservedly) for mediocre or poor decisions on Sundays but are good at getting the most out of the talent on the roster, so it makes sense that there could be a mirror image of that as well.

Points: 0

#26 by Pat // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:02pm

Yup. 1000% agree. If a coach says "whatever, I can't think of a great play right now, they're kicking my butt, just punt" and goes and studies the pics to figure out what's going on instead of worrying about some abstract 1%? Fantastic decision.

Points: 0

#28 by theslothook // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:24pm

No one is saying Frank Reich is a great coach. I think most of us are saying he's a pretty solid coach and you could do a lot worse. Saying he isn't as good as Andy Reid It's very much missing the point.

Also look at Mike Tomlin's reputation right now And it becomes very apparent very quickly. How much inconsistent quarterback play can tank a reputation of a head coach.

Points: 0

#29 by Pat // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:28pm

Also look at Mike Tomlin's reputation right now

The reputation of fickle football fans is not the actual reputation of a head coach. People blame coaches for everything.

Frank Reich had to personally apologize to the owner for Wentz. You don't have to do that if you have the owner's trust.

Points: 0

#32 by coltsandrew // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:41pm

You have to remember that Reich wasn't the owner's first choice. McDaniels was the first choice then backed out, so Reich was hired as a consolation. If you want to say Irsay is a bad owner, that's fine. If you want to say Reich isn't very good, that's fine too. But if you want to say Reich didn't have the owner's trust, that's both obvious and irrelevant to the question of whether Reich is a good head coach. 

Points: 0

#35 by Pat // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:50pm

In reply to by coltsandrew

You have to remember that Reich wasn't the owner's first choice. [..] But if you want to say Reich didn't have the owner's trust, that's both obvious and irrelevant to the question of whether Reich is a good head coach. 

The first part's a good point! I disagree with the last, though. If you don't have the owner's trust, and it becomes obvious you don't have the owner's trust, there's only one thing you can do. Stand up to the owner, defend your decisions, and if he fires you, he fires you. You get paid either way. If you do things to appease the owner's distrust in your decisions, you're toast anyway.

Getting fired isn't exactly a death sentence for a great head coach, and all the other owners know about all the behind-the-scenes stuff anyway. Reid got picked up in five seconds because everyone knew that he just had to move on from Philly because of his son's death. Pederson got picked up quickly afterwards because everyone knew of the bizarre ego meltdown between Roseman/Wentz/Pederson (and Lurie as well).

Points: 0

#36 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 01, 2022 - 3:35pm

You have to do that if you have a bad owner.

\Irsay is better than his dad.
\\The devil is better than Irsay's dad

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#38 by Pat // Nov 01, 2022 - 3:43pm

Once a bad owner starts interfering with you, you need to leave. There's no path to success anyway at that point.

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#47 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 02, 2022 - 10:48am

You have a moral obligation to separate the fool from his money.

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#33 by colonialbob // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:42pm

I never said he wasn't as good as Andy Reid, that was never my point? I think it's fair to think that Reich is probably fine as a coach while also being somewhat overrated. I mean, people have talked about how stacked the Colts roster was outside of the QB position at the beginning of his tenure, which would mean a bit less for him. I think he's basically Pederson; he's fine, but he won't turn your team around. As a point of comparison, I think if the Giants had hired him instead of Daboll this year, they'd be better than they were last year but they wouldn't be 6-2 and playing as well as they have been either. 

Tomlin has received a lot of flak for a long time, as far as I can see. I've never really understood it; he's the classic opposite example to me. His best attributes are the things we can't see/measure very easily.

Points: 0

#14 by coltsandrew // Nov 01, 2022 - 12:44pm

I'll admit that I more or less stopped paying attention when the team goes Wentz, as I figured that was the end of Indy being in serious playoff competition. That said, most of the blame for the team being awful belongs with Andrew Luck, with some blame on Ballard and a little bit on Josh McDaniels. I mean, it's not like you're being primed for success when you're the consolation hire, and then you're franchise QB quits at the end of the preseason, so failure should have been expected because it was highly probable.

 

The truth is that the roster assembled for Luck's return was really good and poised for repeated playoff runs, so when he retired that put Ballard in an unenviable position of choosing between a rebuild or rolling the dice with free agent QBs. To be clear, both options sucked, and success wasn't likely either way. I can't blame Ballard or Reich for their decisions, and frankly the team over performed it's talent, for the most part. I'd place Reich as being somewhere between Tomlin and Arians in skill. Of course, he's had terrible luck (pun very much intended) so he'll probably get fired but I wouldn't be surprised if he went to another team and did well. Of all active coaches, I think only Shanahan and Reid could have done better with the same roster issues.

Points: 0

#16 by Paul R // Nov 01, 2022 - 1:15pm

Reich has always been a good in-game coach. EDJSports and other coach rankings have always had him in the top 5, and often 1 or 2. I've seen a lot of Colts games and have rarely disagreed with a decision he's made on the field. 

Behind the scenes, though, I personally don't know. Reich might give the OCs and DCs a lot of leeway in running their respective teams, or he might be more hands-on. If he trusts the OC to draw up plays and blocking assignments and decide on personnel, and then the whole offense falls apart, well, then the firing is certainly warranted. 

Or it could be just one of those things where the offense is falling apart and the owner wants a head on a platter by five o'clock. Being a sacrificial lamb is part of a coordinator's job description.

Points: 0

#20 by Pat // Nov 01, 2022 - 1:37pm

 EDJSports and other coach rankings have always had him in the top 5, and often 1 or 2.

I think this is why he's got such a positive opinion from so many people. And it's why I detest those rankings.

Those specific decisions have negligible impact. The decision to go for it is often negligible compared to a single play call, for instance. The OL decisions they made this year cost them multiple games. Not a tiny percentage of one game. Multiple games.

As a note: Edj Sports does this weird thing where they add up all the game-winning percentage changes from those decisions over a year and claim it's "total number of wins" the coach cost/gained them. That's completely wrong - the percentages don't add like that. Game winning decisions can swing back and forth way over 100% in a single game. If one decision gains you 50%, say, from 25->75%, and then some other play knocks you back down to 25%, and you make another decision and it goes 25->75, you didn't gain 100%.

Points: 0

#43 by jheidelberg // Nov 01, 2022 - 7:24pm

Yes, the Colts offense is dreadful, last in DVOA by a mile.  With washed up Matt Ryan followed by a 6th round pick as a replacement and a poor offensive line you can expect a bad offense.

I'll bet if Washington does not score 10 4th quarter points that this move does not happen.  The mirage is simply larger at 4-3-1 than at 3-4-1.

The Colts endless QB carousel since the retirement of Andrew Luck continues to spin round and round and downward and downward.  As it turns they could have kept Jacoby Brissett along with the draft capital that they gave up for Wentz and Ryan.  They did recoup some of this back by trading Wentz to WSH.  Giving up a first rounder for Wentz was absurd, I was expecting him to be benched to not reach the threshold of snaps required to give up a number 1 pick.  Instead, a year later, they bench Ryan, with no apparent benefit.

Points: 0

#9 by BigRichie // Nov 01, 2022 - 12:14pm

How do you figure this as Reich's choice rather than Irsay's demand? I just don't see it.

Perhaps Reich should refuse, and accept getting fired himself, along then with Brady. But it's way easy to rationalize that. (I'm sure Brady would say 'no, you stay rather than both of us getting the boot'; undoubtedly Reich tells himself this way he saves all the other coaches)

Points: 0

#13 by Pat // Nov 01, 2022 - 12:25pm

 undoubtedly Reich tells himself this way he saves all the other coaches

How does it save anyone? They're all getting paid no matter what, and if the product on the field sucks due to the owner's influence, it hurts all of their careers.

Points: 0

#27 by BigRichie // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:10pm

Reich just has to convince himself it does. With every person around him chiming in "you bet it will!"

Points: 0

#30 by Pat // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:28pm

I mean, yeah, that's fair. But that's a symptom of a bad coach.

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#37 by BigRichie // Nov 01, 2022 - 3:40pm

I'd posit that's a symptom of a human being. 99.8% of us, anyway.

Points: 0

#42 by Johnny Ocean // Nov 01, 2022 - 5:30pm

The loss of Matt Eberflus Has to be a big part of what has happened to the Colts.  Eberflus took a bottom feeding defense and improved it into a top ten unit.  The Colts defense has been the driver of their success until Eberflus left to coach the Bears.  Of course, their offense has gotten older and they have lost talent too so the sum total of the decline looks really bad but I think if Eberflus was still there, they would be a lot more competitive than they are without him.

Points: 0

#44 by LionInAZ // Nov 02, 2022 - 12:11am

Scapegoat Black coach gets fired, I assume they'll hire a white guy to replace him. 

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#49 by ImNewAroundThe… // Nov 03, 2022 - 10:10am

That looks to be on the edge. Reich is signed through 2026 and his seat is already warm. 

But I'm sure it's the guy that helped improve the teams OSRS from 1.2 in 2020 to 3.3 in 2021. 

Points: 0

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