Panthers HC Matt Rhule: Decision to fire OC Joe Brady 'purely football' related

Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said Monday that firing offensive coordinator Joe Brady midseason came from a desire to jumpstart a struggling offense.

"I wish him the best and am very grateful for his time here," Rhule said. "He's done a lot to get us moving in the right direction. But this was something that I felt like, from a football perspective, we needed to do now. As we move forward, I'm going to count on our offensive staff to be very focused day by day, week by week. Everyone's kind of assigned an area previously third down, red zone to game plan. They'll continue to be in those areas. Jeff Nixon will assume responsibility, the duties of the offensive coordinator position. He'll call the plays in conjunction with those guys. Obviously, as with everything in the organization, I'll oversee those guys, and hope that we can play our best football as we move forward."

The Panthers parted ways with Brady on Sunday. Rhule told reporters he planned to meet with the former OC Saturday, but Brady wasn't available.

Rhule said the decision was "purely football" related and believes Brady is an excellent young coach.

"The decision was made. So I didn't see any reason to wait," he explained on the timing of the move. "I felt that this was the right move. It was just purely football. This was in the best interest of us moving forward. I feel like we can play better on offense. That's not about any one person or any one thing. But I just feel like this was the best way that I can help us move this forward offensively."

"We've got to coach our best and play our best these coming weeks. But I thought that with the bye week this was the appropriate time."

The Panthers hired Brady, a rising star, after he received accolades helping LSU's offense pile up yards and points en route to a 2019 championship run.

Rhule said he doesn't regret choosing Brady, noting he wanted to get out of his comfort zone.

"When I took the job, I decided to be bold and step outside my comfort zone," he said. "I certainly don't look at that as a mistake."

In naming senior offensive assistant/running backs coach Jeff Nixon the new coordinator, Rhule alluded to running the ball more moving forward. The Panthers coach wouldn't say the job was Nixon's to win moving forward.

"This is for him to do right now, and the future will be the future," he said. "I want Jeff and the offensive staff to help us score points. We've got to score more points on offense. Starts with the coaches and the players have to go out there and execute it."

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