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Why Dave Canales is the right hire for Bryce Young and the Panthers

The Carolina Panthers dropped a bit of a surprise on Thursday. But surprises aren’t always a bad thing, even in an NFL head-coaching search.

Dave Canales, a relative unknown in the grand scheme of this year’s hiring cycle, was officially named the seventh full-time head coach of the Panthers last night. He had spent just one season as an offensive coordinator and his previous 13 nestled away in Seattle. (Oh, and the Panthers were the only team to request an interview with him.)

The Harbor City, Calif. native, nonetheless, has stacked up an impressive track record to this point. He served as the Seahawks’ wide receivers coach for eight years, then worked his way into a more prominent role in the offensive attack as a quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator.

Although it took him a bit to finally prove his talents as a play-caller, which were rather evident in 2023, Canales was behind the scenes of some career ball from the likes Russell Willson and Geno Smith. The same happened for Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield, who just hit bests in completion percentage (64.3), passing yards (4,044) and passing touchdowns (28).

Canales’ hand in the resurrections of Smith’s and Mayfield’s careers was likely one of many draws for the Panthers, who are trying to get last year’s No. 1 overall pick kickstarted. He brings the right style of a West Coast offense and the right style of coaching, inspired by mentor Pete Carroll, to extract the very best out of soon-to-be second-year passer Bryce Young.

Now, it is imperative that owner David Tepper exercises a new level of patience with that pairing. If he allow his new general manager to manage, his new head coach to coach and his young quarterback to quarterback, Canales can prove to be exactly what these Panthers need from here on out.

Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire