The Carolina Panthers are hiring Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales as their next head coach, per Adam Schefter. Canales has an uphill battle taking over a squad that finished dead last in the NFL with a 2-15 record last season. The Panthers also notably don’t have a first-round pick, so Canales will be tasked with turning around the rookie season of quarterback Bryce Young.
The 42-year-old Canales began coaching high school football in 2004 in California. He moved his way up the collegiate ranks from 2006 to 2009 before jumping to the NFL in 2010. Canales was the wide receivers coach of the Seattle Seahawks from 2010-2017, was promoted to the QB coach in 2018 and the passing game coordinator in 2020. He was the QB coach last year when Geno Smith won Comeback Player of the Year and helped to revitalize QB Baker Mayfield’s career this year in Tampa Bay.
Canales does have experience working with new Panthers GM Dan Morgan. He was a scout with the Seahawks in 2020, the Assistant Director of Pro Personnel from 2011-2014, and the Director of Pro Personnel from 2015-2017. Canales hasn’t overlapped with team owner David Tepper but made enough of an impression with Smith in 2022 and Mayfield in 2023. The latter struggled as the quarterback for Carolina in 2022, and it feels like one of those “if you can’t beat them, hire them” situations.