- The first-time coordinator has worked with QBs Baker Mayfield and Geno Smith
- The Bucs’ won yet another NFC South title before losing in the Divisional round
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The Carolina Panthers have hired Dave Canales as their new head coach on a six-year contract.
The former offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers becomes the fourth head coach under the ownership of billionaire David Tepper.
In November, Frank Reich became the third Panthers coach to be fired by Tepper – who bought the team for $2.2billion in 2018 – after Matt Rhule and Ron Rivera.
Canales will be tasked with getting young quarterback Bryce Young going after a brutal rookie season.
Canales may’ve had an advantage on other candidates for the Panthers job, knowing that Carolina hired Dan Morgan – one of its former linebackers – as their president of football operations/general manager, earlier this month.
The Carolina Panthers have hired Buccaneers OC Dave Canales as their new head coach
He and Canales spent eight seasons together on the Seahawks and are believed to have a close relationship.
Prior to Thursday’s update on the head coaching vacancy on the Panthers, Canales, who had interviewed in person on Wednesday in Charlotte after holding talks online last week, told The Tampa Bay Times: ‘This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.
‘I have some stuff prepared that I’ve been thinking about for a couple of years.’
The 42-year-old, California native worked under Pete Carroll, first at USC for a year as assistant strength coach in 2009, then in Seattle from 2010 until last season (2022).
On the Seahawks, he was first hired as the the team’s wide receiver coach before being promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2018.
That’s when his work with Russell Wilson, who’s now with the Denver Broncos, showed, as Seattle made it to the NFC Wild Card round.
Canales then became the team’s passing coordinator for a season (2020-2021) prior to going back to his old job as quarterback coach in 2022.
That was Geno Smith’s first season as the Seahawks’ starting signal-caller, leading Seattle to another NFC wild card spot.
Smith was awarded the NFL’s Comeback Player of the season that year after spending much of his professional tenure as a backup for multiple teams.
Canales guided Baker Mayfield to his most productive season ever as Bucs’ QB with Tampa Bay winning the NFC South title for a third-year straight
This season, Carroll was fired by Seattle while Canales helped Baker Mayfield rebuild his reputation and the Bucs returned to the playoffs after winning a third straight NFC South title.
Tampa Bay’s playoff journey ended in a NFC division-round loss (31-23) to the Lions, this past Sunday.
Under Canales, however, Mayfield was as productive as he has ever been in his six-year NFL career, so far, posting career highs in passing yards (4,044), touchdowns (28) and completion percentage (64.3).
Rams defensive coordinator and ex-Bucs head coach Raheem Morris – who was hired by Atlanta on Thursday – was also in the running for the Panthers job. Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero was also taken into consideration.
Additionally, the Panthers held interest in Texans OC Bobby Slowik, who helped QB C.J. Stroud get to the AFC Divisional round.
Ravens OC Todd Monken and defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald also had virtual interviews with the Panthers, even though Baltimore is still in Super Bowl contention with an NFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.