Biggest takeaways from Panthers’ introductory press conference for Dan Morgan, Dave Canales

For the second time in as many years, the Carolina Panthers formally introduced their new head coach. But this time, he had a buddy by his side.

Here are the biggest takeaways from Thursday’s introductory press conference of president of football operations/general manager Dan Morgan and head coach Dave Canales:

Alignment is the standard

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The buzzword of today’s presser was “alignment.”

As opposed to the previous regime, this duo wants their staff on the same page and working towards the same goal. And Morgan, who hopes that buzzword becomes the standard throughout the building, said this about rebuilding from a messy 2023 season:

“I think it has to do everything with just movin’ forward. We’re not lookin’ back, we’re lookin’ ahead. We all wanna be aligned—the business side, the football side, the locker room, the weight room. Everybody on the same page, same mission, same vision. That’s what I’m talkin’ about when I talk about alignment.”

Morgan also added the following in regards to communication:

“I think it’s gonna be a strong bond. It’s gonna be a daily communication between the front office, between ownership, between the head coach. And it’s just alignment on the roster. It’s alignment on just everyday thinking. What are we about? What’s the vision? Are we doing the best things to reach that vision and that mission every single day? So it’s just constant communication and it’s just being aligned about everything we do down to the detail.”

Dave Canales is absolutely in on Bryce Young

Grant Halverson/Getty Images
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

It’s no surprise that Canales believes Young is all that and a bag of chips. He wouldn’t have been hired as the head coach otherwise.

Canales spoke about how he can get the No. 1 overall pick to start looking like a No. 1 overall pick:

“Attention to the details, first and foremost. It all starts off with relationship, Bryce and I just getting to know each other. I want him to know I have his best interests at heart. I want him to be the best possible version of himself. That’s the same approach that I’ve taken since I’ve been coaching positions in the NFL and that’s really the approach I wanna take with him.”

He also praised Young as a franchise guy:

“In Seattle, like, we never we anywhere close to touching the first overall pick. And the more that I got ready for this interview and started watching Bryce, lookin’ at my notes from his eval—that’s just a year ago. We’re evaluating him as a player, as a person. And with all the information that we could, I just got more and more fired up about the opportunity to have this amazing talent. And he’s the guy. He’s the right guy that we all talk about when we have that quarterback—that face of the franchise type of player.”

. . . but he does acknowledge the challenges of having a shorter QB

Grant Halverson/Getty Images
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

It’s no secret that Young is, well, a tad short. But Canales has a successful track record with multiple undersized quarterbacks.

He admitted that there is a different approach when size becomes a factor:

“I think there are certain challenges. I’m not gonna go and tell the whole NFC South what those advantages are. That’s kind of a proprietary deal that we’re gonna own here. But I will say that there are just certain things you can do to help. There are ways to find what that quarterback’s comfortable seeing.

“You got a guy like Drew Brees—who’s about my height, which is still short in terms of a 6-foot-7 tackle. So whether you’re 5-11 or whether you’re 6-1, you can’t really see over any of the linemen. So, there’s an approach to it.”

Ejiro Evero is expected back

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

While Canales has already started to reshape Carolina’s offensive coaching staff, he and Morgan have yet to touch the other side of the ball. That’s probably because they hope to retain defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, whom Canales provided the following praise for:

“Oh my gosh, just the respect factor that I have goin’ against him—I know the scheme goin’ against it, I’m really excited to learn more about the ins and outs as far as how the calls come in, the adjustments and all that. I just know it was really difficult on me for years—whether it was in Seattle goin’ against the Rams and that family, or this year goin’ against EJ twice.

“And this is really important for me, especially as a first-time head coach. I’m here to make sure we get our football right, especially on the offensive side. That we have that continuity with the players. With EJ, just bein’ able to have the mentality that I saw that was really challenging to play against.”

He was then asked if he excepts Evero, who may be drawing some outside interest, to remain on staff:

“Yes. A huge piece of what we’re doin’.”

Don't expect the Panthers to move up into the first round of the draft

David Jensen/Getty Images
David Jensen/Getty Images

In case you weren’t aware, the Panthers do not own a first-round pick in the upcoming draft. That’s really a darn shame considering it’d be the No. 1 overall pick.

So, Morgan was asked if trading up somewhere into the first 32 selections is a high priority for April.

“It’s not really high. We have the 33rd pick, which is essentially a late first-round pick. We’re just gonna draft good players. And hopefully at 33, I think there’ll be a good player there. If you chose to move back, if we chose to move up—that’s to be seen. But we’re gonna plan, we’re gonna have a plan and we’re gonna execute on that plan.”

Hold Coach Canales accountable!

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Canales has unleashed the hounds . . . on himself.

The 42-year-old has been notably active on social media since being hired as the team’s head coach. He said he hopes that activity cultivates a healthy line of communication between himself and the fans:

“What’s important to me is that we all grow to have a relationship. And as we have a chance to get into more detail about what we’re lookin’ for from a football standpoint, my hope is that I can show you what to look for in what we’re trying to become.

“My hope is that if I put this out there and I say, ‘This is who we’re gonna be,’ that we’re able to have this relationship where, like, you keep me accountable. ‘You said we’re gonna play this brand of football, you guys are crazy about the ball—we had three turnovers last week. We were -2 or we were -3.’ And I’ll be able to say, ‘That’s a great point. That’s not the kind of football we wanna play.’ So my hope is that we can kinda grow in that relationship as we have that expectation of who we’re gonna become.”

David Tepper takes a backseat

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Owner David Tepper, who is suspected to have been heavily involved in the football operations to a fault, wasn’t involved much this morning. He helped set the stage for Morgan and Canales with a prepared statement:

“Let me tell ya a little bit about Dan and Dave. They are tremendous people, well respected and they are both connectors. Dan has 14 years of front-office experience throughout the league. When Dan was a player, he kept the defense connected and on the same page. And I’ve seen those traits with him translate throughout this building with everyone—including scouts, players and coaches. He keeps everybody moving in the right direction. As a player, he had a relentless pursuit of excellence, which he’ll bring to this organization.

“Dave Canales brings that same quality to players and coaches, and on the field every day. He has a track record of bringing the best out of players. He is a connector. He takes the time to work with players to create an environment that will earn their trust and maximize their ability.

“Each of them brings experience from winning programs. They share the same vision for our organization and are aligned on how they’ll get there.”

Then, at the conclusion of the presser, Tepper was asked if he’d be taking questions:

Is Tepper finally taking the hint?

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Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire