This year’s head-coaching search has been heating up for the Carolina Panthers.
According to ESPN senior NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler, the organization may be zeroing in on a handful of favorites. He wrote the following about the latest league-wide buzz on Thursday:
I’m hearing the Panthers have four or five candidates they are really high on. One is Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales, who interviewed Wednesday afternoon in Charlotte. Canales’ offense caught fire late in the season, his work with quarterbacks is strong, and he learned under Carroll for 13 years. The word is owner David Tepper is also intrigued by Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who is eligible to interview after this week. Evero — the in-house candidate — interviewed twice, and Carolina has long targeted Ben Johnson, though I haven’t heard much momentum there at this point. He’s going to have options.
Canales and Evero reportedly both received second, in-person interviews this week. Monken, meanwhile, has had one known interview and Johnson, whose Detroit Lions are prepping for the NFC title game, cannot speak with the team again until Jan. 29.
Fowler also notes that former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, who is expected to meet with the Panthers today, could be a “wild card” candidate given how much owner David Tepper values leadership. Vrabel was dismissed after a six-year run in Tennessee, one that resulted in a 54-45 record and three playoff appearances.