Tampa Bay is counting on Dave Canales to help the Buccaneers remain relevant following Tom Brady’s retirement.
The former Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks coach was hired as the Bucs’ offensive coordinator Thursday, replacing Byron Leftwich.
Leftwich was fired last month after four seasons — the last three working with Brady, who announced his retirement Feb. 1 after leading the Bucs to a Super Bowl title two years ago, three playoff berths and a pair of NFC South division titles.
With Brady setting records for passing attempts and completions in a season at age 45, the Bucs (8-10) earned a postseason berth this past season despite the seven-time Super Bowl winner finishing with a losing record for the first time in more than two decades as an NFL starting quarterback.
Although Brady ranked third in the league behind Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert with 4,643 yards passing, Tampa Bay scored 198 fewer points than the previous season while averaging 18.4 points per game — down from over 30 in both 2020 and 2021.
Canales, 41, was among 10 candidates interviewed for the position that opened when Leftwich and five other members of coach Todd Bowles’ staff were fired on Jan. 19. Three other assistants announced their retirements in a major shakeup that followed a lopsided playoff loss to Dallas in the NFC wild-card round.
“Dave has done a great job in a variety of roles with Seattle the past 13 years and he brings a passion for coaching and an energy level that players just seem to respond to,” Bowles said. “He has played a significant part in the development and growth of many Seahawks players who have contributed to their offensive success over the past decade, and I look forward to seeing what he will do with our players on offense.”
Bowles said he discovered during the interview process that he and Canales share a similar approach to the game.
“I am confident that he will find a way to maximize our strengths on offense,” Bowles said.
Canales accompanied Pete Carroll to Seattle in 2010 after the Seahawks coach’s highly successful stint in the college ranks at USC. He was the quarterbacks coach three of the past five seasons, and in 2022 played a key role in helping NFL Comeback Player of the Year Geno Smith jumpstart his career.
Smith, who struggled early in his career as a second-round draft pick of the New York Jets, threw for 4,282 yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions to help the Seahawks make the playoffs before losing to San Francisco in the opening round.
Tampa Bay, which is currently about $55 million over the salary cap, only has one quarterback on the roster who’s under contract for next season: Kyle Trask. And although Bowles has spoken highly of Trask’s development, the 2021 second-round draft pick has yet to appear in a regular season game.
In addition, to working with whoever winds up succeeding Brady, Canales will also be expected to help resurrect a rushing attack that gained a NFL-low 1,308 yards while averaging just 3.4 yards per carry and 76.9 yards per game in 2022.
Seattle, by comparison, averaged 4.8 yards per attempt and ran for 120.1 yards per game, ranking 18th among the league’s 32 teams in rushing.
The other candidates for the job included former Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken, hired earlier this week for the same position with the Baltimore Ravens; Jacksonville Jaguars passing game coordinator Jim Bob Cooter; Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks coach Dan Pitcher, and Rams assistant head coach/tight ends coach Thomas Brown.
Minnesota Vikings wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell, Denver Broncos passing game coordinator Klint Kubiak, New Orleans Saints passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ronald Curry, New York Giants quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney, and Lions assistant head coach/running backs coach Scottie Montgomery also interviewed.
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