Colts offensive coordinator Marcus Brady took full advantage of his opportunity to be a head coach for a week earlier in February.
Brady served as the head coach of the West team in the 2022 East-West Shrine Bowl, the annual scouting showcase for collegiate players held this year at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. While the practices and game were an opportunity for draft prospects like Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan and UNC running back Ty Chandler to make an impression on NFL scouts, it also was an opportunity for Brady to gain a greater appreciation for what goes in to being a head coach.
“That was a great experience for all of us,” Brady, who’s followed an uncommon path to success as an NFL coach, said. “And for me particularly just dealing with other issues as a head coach managing everything on both sides of the ball, special teams. So it was good.”
Brady’s offensive coordinator in this year’s Shrine Bowl was Colts tight ends coach Klayton Adams, so he wasn’t the only coach adding responsibilities from his usual day-to-day duties in the NFL. And while the game had limitations beyond working with players for only a few days before kickoff – only 2×2 formations were allowed, players could not go in motion and there were no coaches challenges – the decision-making experience was valuable for Brady.
Especially since he was faced on his team’s first drive with the kind of high-leverage situation that head coaches deal with on a weekly basis.
“We drove down the field and got into a decision, it was fourth and goal on the two-yard line, what are you doing? Of course, went for it,” Brady said. “Didn’t get it, but defense went out there and got three-and-out, they punted, it gave us great field position, we drove right back down and scored a touchdown. So that felt good.”
Brady also had to decide to trust his kicker in the game after he missed a field goal attempt. But he also said things like that were hardly overwhelming because of the discussions he has with Colts head coach Frank Reich.
“Even as a coordinator now, I’m putting myself in those positions, right — what would I do here,” Brady said. “At the same time, Frank and I do have those conversations before the game starts so you’re preparing yourself that if we do get in situations, that way it’s not a knee-jerk reaction, we’ve had these discussions.”