Joe Brady LSU offense: Revisiting the record-breaking 2019 Tigers season that launched Bills OC’s career

The Bills’ midseason decision to fire offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey seemed like a desperate move to some, with turnovers piling up and Buffalo’s season falling by the wayside.

It wouldn’t be fair to say the Bills’ offense has been night-and-day since Dorsey’s firing, but it’s not exactly a coincidence the wins have started to pile up under new offensive play-caller Joe Brady. Brady has shifted to a more run-based approach, taking some pressure off Allen’s arm. Meanwhile, a reduction of Stefon Diggs’ role has allowed other pass-catchers such as Dalton Kincaid and Khalil Shakir to become more involved in the offense.

Having a handful of talented weapons certainly helps make things easier for Brady, who showed exactly how to utilize elite talent when he powered LSU’s historic offense in 2019.

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Here’s a look back at Brady’s LSU offense and the players he had at his disposal.

Joe Brady’s LSU offense, by the numbers

  • 48.4 points per game
  • 6,024 passing yards
  • 2,537 rushing yards
  • 93 total touchdowns
  • 568.9 yards per game

The image of beloved coach Ed Orgeron lifting the College Football Playoff trophy will forever be one of the most iconic images from LSU’s title run in 2019, but it took a group effort for the Tigers to become one of the most dominant teams in the sport’s history.

Brady was a key part of that. Just 29 years old when the season kicked off, Brady was hired as LSU’s passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach before 2019. He had been an offensive assistant with the Saints from 2017-18, when New Orleans returned to relevance in the NFC. The team went 24-8 during that two-year stretch.

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Steve Ensminger remained LSU’s offensive coordinator, but Brady was credited with helping to revolutionize the offense, and won the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach. The Tigers’ talented defense, meanwhile, was led by eventual Baylor coach Dave Aranda. 

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Here’s a look back at some of the weapons Brady had at his disposal at LSU.

  • Joe Burrow, QB
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB
  • Justin Jefferson, WR
  • Ja’Marr Chase, WR
  • Terrace Marshall Jr., WR
  • Thaddeus Moss, TE
  • Damien Lewis, OL
  • Lloyd Cushenberry, OL

Brady worked with an ultra-talented group in Baton Rouge, but it takes numerous factors — including coaching — for a quarterback to go from 16 touchdowns passes one season to 60 the next. That’s precisely what Burrow did, and it got him drafted No. 1 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Joe Brady coaching timeline

So, how did Brady find his way to Buffalo? He didn’t waste time returning to the NFL, joining Matt Rhule’s staff as the Panthers’ offensive coordinator days after LSU won the national championship.

Brady’s rapid ascent hit a speed bump there. He was fired by Carolina late in the 2021 season after a Panthers’ offense that hoped for improvement with Sam Darnold and later Cam Newton struggled to gain traction. 

In hindsight, Brady might deserve more credit than he was given for his work in Carolina. The Panthers only won five games in 2020, but Teddy Bridgewater threw for 3,733 yards in 15 starts while RB Mike Davis racked up more than 1,000 scrimmage yards in place of an injured Christian McCaffrey. Both D.J. Moore and Robbie Chosen, then known as Robby Anderson, also exceeded 1,000 yards.

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Brady latched on with the Bills in 2022 as the team’s quarterbacks coach. He worked under Dorsey, who was hired to replace OC Brian Daboll after he left for the Giants. Dorsey’s firing in November opened the door for Brady to take the reins of a talented offense once again. So far, the results are exactly what the Bills were looking for.

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