Panthers are working on a deal to hire Buccaneers OC Dave Canales as coach, per source: Can he help Bryce Young?

The Carolina Panthers are close to reaching an agreement to hire Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales as their coach, a league source said.

Canales, 42, led Tampa Bay's offense to a strong season by working with quarterback Baker Mayfield after being the Bucs' starter for one season. This complements the Panthers' underlying mental confidence on the field following the firing of coach Frank Reich and general manager Scott Fitterer.

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

Canales joins the Buccaneers for the 2023 season after spending the past 13 seasons with the Seahawks (2010-22), where he served a variety of roles: offensive quality control coach (2010-12) before being promoted to assistant quarterbacks coach (2013-14); And beyond. Wide receivers coach (2015–17), quarterbacks coach (2018–19, 2022) and passing game coordinator (2020–21).

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Why Canalys?

In a recruiting cycle when several well-known coaches — and future Hall of Famers — were available, the Panthers hired a coach who called the plays for one season. But Canales has impressed the past two seasons by reviving quarterbacks Geno Smith and Mayfield. He also has a strong relationship with Morgan, who was promoted to general manager/president of football operations on Monday. The two were together for eight seasons in Seattle, and that background certainly helped Canales set himself apart from the other 10 candidates. — Joseph Person, Panthers beat writer

What can Canales do for Bryce Young?

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

What does this mean for the rest of the staff?

The Panthers are hoping to keep their defensive staff healthy after Carolina ranked fourth in the league in total defense. This was the second year in a row that defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, who was in Denver in 2022, oversaw a top-10 defense on a bad team. Evero interviewed for three head coaching jobs, including the Carolina job. But he is under contract with the Panthers if he doesn't land one of the remaining coaching positions. Offensively, look for Canales to bring Bucs receivers coach Brad Idzik to Charlotte after Idzik followed him from Seattle to Tampa last year. Panthers special teams coordinator Chris Tabor and offensive line coach James Campen were remnants of Matt Rhule's staff and could be retained again. — person

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