Panthers working on deal to hire Buccaneers OC Dave Canales as coach: Can he help Bryce Young?

The Carolina Panthers have finalized a deal to hire Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales as their coach, according to a league source.

Canales, 42, guided Tampa Bay's offense to a strong season alongside quarterback Baker Mayfield after one season as the Bucks' play caller. It completes the Panthers' primary on-field brain trust after the firing of coach Frank Reich and general manager Scott Fitter.

Canales and new Panthers general manager Don Morgan worked with the Seattle Seahawks from 2010 to 2017. Canales served as the wide receivers coach while Morgan worked in the scouting department.

After spending the past 13 seasons with the Seahawks (2010-22), Canales joined the Buccaneers for the 2023 season, serving in several roles: offensive line coach (2010-12) wide receivers coach (2015-17) before and after being promoted to assistant quarterbacks coach (2013-14). ), quarterbacks coach (2018-19, 2022) and pass game coordinator (2020-21).

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Why canals?

In a hiring cycle where several established coaches — and a future Hall of Famer — were available, the Panthers hired a coach who called the plays for one season. But Canales has impressed with the resurgence of Geno Smith and Mayfield over the past two seasons. He has a strong connection with Morgan, who was promoted to general manager/president of football operations on Monday. The two were together in Seattle for eight seasons, and that background certainly helped differentiate itself from Canales 10 candidates. — Joseph Burson, author of Panther's Beat

What can Canales do for Bryce Young?

While the Panthers interviewed several candidates from a defensive background, the feeling in league circles is that owner David Tepper will hire an offensive-minded coach to work with Young, the No. 1 pick who endured a rocky rookie season. Ben Johnson was believed to be Tepper's first choice, but the Detroit Lions offensive coordinator is expected to end up in Washington. So the Panthers moved forward to Canales, the 42-year-old who has done a good job with Mayfield this season plotting against pressure and blitz packages. That will help Young, who has been sacked 62 times in 2023 — more than any other rookie except David Carr (76). — person

What this means for the rest of the staff

After Carolina ranked fourth in the league in total defense, the Panthers hope to keep their defensive personnel intact. Defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero in Denver in 2022 has overseen a top-10 defense on a bad team for the second year in a row. Evero has interviewed for three head coaching jobs, including in Carolina. But he remains under contract with the Panthers unless one of the remaining head coaching positions is filled. Look for Canales to bring Bucs receivers coach Brad Itzik to Charlotte after Itzik followed him from Seattle to Tampa last year. Panthers special teams coordinator Chris Tabor and offensive line coach James Campen were holdovers from Matt Rule's staff and could be retained again. — person

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