The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have hired Dave Canales as their new offensive coordinator.
Canales most recently served as the quarterbacks coach for the Seattle Seahawks, helping Geno Smith fashion a breakout season and earn NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors. Canales spent a total of 13 seasons on Pete Carroll's staff in Seattle, alternately tutoring receivers and quarterbacks and also serving as the passing game coordinator in 2020 and 2021.
"We are excited to announce Dave Canales as our new offensive coordinator," said Buccaneers Head Coach Todd Bowles. "I want to thank the various candidates that we interviewed throughout this very thorough process. 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. 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. The more we talked, the more it became apparent that we are very similar in how we approach the game, and I am confident that he will find a way to maximize our strengths on offense."
Canales replaces Byron Leftwich, who had spent the previous four seasons as the Buccaneers' offensive coordinator, including in 2022 under new Head Coach Todd Bowles. Tampa Bay's offense, which led the NFL in scoring and passing yards over the 2020-21 campaigns, dipped to 15th in total yards and 25th in scoring this past season. The 2022 Buccaneers also finished last in the NFL in rushing yards.
The hiring of Canales concludes a wide-ranging search for a new coordinator that included interviews with 10 different candidates. Now the Buccaneers will seek to fill other openings on Bowles' staff, including several that will work closely with Canales tutoring the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers.
Smith had a remarkable season under Canales' tutelage after the Seahawks traded away Russell Wilson, their long-time franchise quarterback, in the offseason. Smith, who had started just five games over the previous six NFL seasons – including three in Seattle in 2021 – opened all 17 games for the Seahawks in 2022 and helped them compile a 9-8 record and make the playoffs as a Wild Card team. Smith led the NFL with a 69.8% completion rate while throwing for 4,282 yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His passer rating of 100.9 ranked fifth in the NFL and was significantly better than his overall career mark of 84.8. Smith also had a 5-1 TD-INT ratio and a 103.0 passer rating in relief of Wilson in 2021.
Canales will be involved in a similar process in Tampa as the Buccaneers will also be replacing a legend under center following the February 1 retirement of Tom Brady. The team currently only has one quarterback under contract for 2023, 2021 second-round pick Kyle Trask, who has thrown a total of nine regular-season passes in the NFL. In addition to Brady's departure, top reserve Blaine Gabbert is due to become an unrestricted free agent in March.
Of course, Canales will also have plenty of talent to work with as he builds his offense in Tampa. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin – like Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf in Seattle – remain one of the NFL's most productive wide receiver tandems and the offensive line features recent Pro Bowlers Tristan Wirfs and Ryan Jensen. While the Bucs' ground game struggled in 2022, both Leonard Fournette and Rachaad White are versatile backs who can produce in both the rushing and passing attacks. Tight end Cade Otton led all rookie tight ends in receptions and receiving yards in 2022.
Canales first joined Pete Carroll's staff in 2010, initially coming aboard as a quality control/offense coach, a role in which he worked with the Seahawks' receivers and quarterbacks. After three seasons in that post, he served two years as the assistant quarterbacks coach, including the 2013 campaign in which the Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII. Canales then took over as the team's wide receivers coach from 2015-17, during which he worked with the likes of Pro Bowlers Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin. Canales transitioned to quarterbacks coach for the 2018 and 2019 season and then served as the Seahawks' offensive passing game coordinator for the following two campaigns.
In Canales' first two seasons as the Seahawks' quarterbacks coach, Wilson earned a pair of Pro Bowl berths and threw for 7,558 yards and 66 touchdowns against just 12 interceptions. In 2018, Wilson recorded a career-high 8.2 yards per pass attempt while compiling a passer rating of 110.9.
Canales played wide receiver at Azusa Pacific University before going into coaching at the high school level in 2004. He later spent three seasons coaching at El Camino College, during which he also worked as a part-time coach at Carroll's annual football camps. In 2009, he served on the USC staff as an assistant strength coach and video assistant while also working with the Trojans' quarterbacks. He is a native of Carson, California.