Dave Canales is in place as the new head coach of the Panthers, and his choice to fill the offensive coordinator role comes as no surprise. Carolina is set to hire Buccaneers receivers coach Brad Idzik as OC, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Canales and Idzik have a history with each other dating back to their Seattle days, and for that reason it was reported over the weekend that the latter was the likeliest candidate for Carolina’s OC post. Canales will likely take on play-calling duties with the Panthers after he did the same during his time with the Buccaneers in 2023, but Idzik will be a central figure on Carolina’s staff.
The Panthers were again all-in with respect to their pursuit of Lions OC Ben Johnson. While that did not materialize, it remained the expectation that an offensive candidate would be tapped as head coach. Canales will be tasked with overseeing quarterback Bryce Young‘s development after a poor rookie season. Idzik will assist in that regard as both staffers take on their respective new titles for the first time.
Idzik, 32, began his coaching career in 2019 with the Seahawks. During much of his time in Seattle, he worked with the team’s wide receivers, though he also had one year as an assistant QBs coach with the added title of offensive quality control coach. His first year with the Bucs came in 2023 as he followed Canales from Seattle to Tampa Bay, and their relationship will now continue in a new environment once again.
The fate of incumbent Panthers OC Thomas Brown has remained uncertain through the hiring cycle, but it had been expected that a new face would be added once the team’s next head coach was in place. Brown drew praise upon arrival on Frank Reich‘s staff, but he struggled in a play-calling capacity as the Panthers underwhelmed on offense both before and after Reich’s firing. Today’s news means Brown (who has been connected to multiple outside OC openings) will be free to pursue other options.
Carolina ranked at or near the bottom of several offensive categories in 2023, and improvement from Young, along with developments along the O-line and at the skill positions will be needed moving forward. Plenty of attention will be on Canales to deliver that, but Idzik will remain a key confidant along the way as his rise through the NFL coaching ranks continues.