Dave Canales on Panthers’ crowded RB room: ‘We need all the backs’

Carolina Panthers head coach Dave Canales wasn’t lying when he said he was excited to show how stubborn his offense can be in running the rock.

Canales spoke with reporters following his first outing of rookie minicamp on Friday morning. He was asked about his current expectations for 2024 second-round pick Jonathon Brooks, who is still healing up from a torn ACL.

While Brooks wasn’t able to participate in on-field work, Canales said it’s still important the rookie knows that intent of the offense is to “run the ball.” Canales also said that having a crowded running back room is more of a necessity than a problem.

“In my experience, we need all the backs,” he stated. “We need all of ’em to contribute at some point in the season. Knock on wood. But they get nicked, or it’s in a game and then he busts a shoestring and they’re switchin’ his shoes out to get him back ready and those other backs have to be ready to play. So for me, this is just adding another great player to really challenge our roster.”

Brooks is joining a depth chart that also includes 2023’s leading rusher in Chuba Hubbard and Miles Sanders, who signed a four-year $25.4 million deal last offseason. Those three will soon be joined by recent free-agent addition Rashaad Penny, who Canales spoke a bit on as well.

“Rashaad’s another guy that can return kicks,” he said. “Bringing him in to really push the group, but also he knows the language. He knows how to run certain run types. So I think that as he gets his reps in there, the guys will be able to see the pace that we’re looking for and all those things—even from a pass protection standpoint.

“So I love having that experience—the same thing on defense with some guys who have been in our defensive scheme. It really does elevate the intelligence of the whole group.”

And that whole group, as Canales again expressed, is needed.

“I think it’s a great thing for us,” he replied when asked about the quantity of rushers. “And I think it’s our approach is to not let good players get out of here in terms of that room. As we come along and as we challenge them to compete, we’re gonna see some great effort out of the backs in this camp and I’m really excited about it.”

Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire