Marcus Brady understands the historical significance of being an offensive co-ordinator in the NFL.
The Indianapolis Colts promoted Brady to the position Monday, just three years after the former CFL player/coach came aboard as an assistant quarterback coach. Brady becomes just the third current Black offensive co-ordinator in the NFL after Kansas City's Eric Bieniemy and Tampa Bay's Byron Leftwich.
Kansas City and Tampa Bay meet in the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium.
"I understand my position, I understand what's going on in the media because it's a topic of discussion," Brady told reporters on a videoconference Tuesday. "I understand I've got to go out there and do a great job.
"It's my responsibility . . . to go out and produce so others get the same opportunities that I've been blessed with here."
Indianapolis promoted Brady from quarterback coach to replace Nick Sirianni, who left to become the Philadelphia Eagles' head coach. The Colts are expected to name Scott Milanovich, who resigned Monday as head coach of the CFL's Edmonton Football Team, as their new quarterback coach although Brady wouldn't confirm that Tuesday.
It's been a meteoric rise in Indianapolis for Brady, a 41-year-old San Diego native entering his 13th year as a pro coach. Brady began as a receivers coach in 2009 with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes under head coach Marc Trestman after seven seasons as a quarterback with Toronto (2002-03), the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2004-05) and Alouettes (2006-08).
Milanovich was Montreal's offensive co-ordinator before becoming Toronto's head coach in 2012. Brady replaced Milanovich as the Alouettes' offensive co-ordinator, then reunited with Milanovich as the Argos offensive co-ordinator (2013-17) before joining the Colts.
Brady and Milanovich won two Grey Cups together in Montreal under Trestman (2009-10). Milanovich added another with Toronto in 2012 while Brady secured a third CFL title with the Argos in 2017, again under Trestman after Milanovich left to become quarterback coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"I started in coaching at a young age, I believe I was 28 at the time, and I felt like I could still play," Brady said. "I love the mental aspect of football and being a coach, you still get the rush of preparing and going out and competing.
"Once I got into that aspect of coaching, I set my goals on what I wanted to accomplish and just continue to work on."
Brady said his time in Canada helped shape him as a coach.
"There are different rules, there's an extra guy on the field, there's three downs, different clock-management going on but it's an exciting game," Brady said. "The pace is a little bit faster, all the movements and the motions, there's a bit more variety there in that aspect so you can get very creative offensively.
"Some of the RPO (run-pass option plays employed by several NFL teams) people say it came from college, which I'm sure a lot of it has, but we were doing a lot of that as well up in the CFL. I've learned a lot from the CFL and have been able to bring it here, just little nuances of the game there."
Trestman enjoyed much success in Canada, compiling a 60-48 regular-season record while winning Grey Cups with Montreal and Toronto. A veteran NFL offensive co-ordinator, Trestman also served as a head coach with the Chicago Bears (2013-14).
"He (Trestman) is a great culture setter . . . just the foundation he set," Brady said. "He comes more from a West Coast (offence) background so that was my initial start as far as an offensive system, which I love and we had a ton of success.
"A lot of it was just the detail in the assignments and making sure everybody's on the same page working together. I learned quite a bit from (Trestman) there."
Brady called plays during his time as a CFL offensive co-ordinator but Colts head coach Frank Reich — a former NFL quarterback — already handles those duties. However, Brady will still be very busy each Sunday.
"Just being another voice and help him (Reich) out between series," Brady said. "Give him ideas of what we're seeing, communicate with the other staff whether it's run plays, other pass plays.
"It's a collective group effort there and then relaying that back to Frank because he's got to pay attention to what's going on while the defence is going. We kind of brainstorm together and then communicate with Frank so he's ready to go the next series."
Indianapolis (11-5) finished second in the AFC South this season before suffering a 27-24 road playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills. But the Colts will have two huge holes to fill offensively with the retirements of veteran quarterback Philip Rivers and left tackle Anthony Castonzo.
Rivers signed a one-year deal with Indianapolis after mutually agreeing with the L.A. Chargers to part ways. The Colts could again be a landing spot for a veteran quarterback amid reports Matthew Stafford — who has reached a similar agreement with Detroit to part ways — has a preference to play in Indiana next season.
"Obviously quarterback is a very important position, left tackle is a very important position and so we've got to address those issues,' Brady said. "We'll put our heads together as an entire group and staff and put the best roster out there.
"You could go young (at quarterback), you could go with a veteran. We've got to put our minds together and figure out who's out there, who can we get to put into this situation. Until we know who we can get you can't really make that decision yet."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press