Dave Canales isn’t the only former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach who is going to be an NFC South head coach next season.
The Carolina Panthers stunned the football world on Thursday by making the surprising move to hire Canales away from the Bucs. A year ago he was a relatively unknown quantity, but stints spent reviving the careers of Geno Smith and Baker Mayfield have the Panthers hoping he can do the same for the development of Bryce Young.
It’s a blow for Tampa Bay, as the team must now replace Canales while Baker is forced to adapt to the eighth different coordinator in his six year career.
It wasn’t the only head coaching vacancy filled on Thursday, nor was it the only NFC South vacancy, nor was Canales to only former Buccaneers coach to fill the void.
Not long after Carolina hired Canales, the Atlanta Falcons hired Raheem Morris as head coach.
NFC South now has two former Buccaneers coaches as head coaches
Bucs fans know that name well. Morris was the coach of his replaced Jon Gruden, and became one of the youngest coaches in NFL history in the process. It was also a pretty disastrous tenure, as Morris had all the right swagger with none of the results. He was a miserable 17-31 in three seasons as head coach, with his greatest contribution coining his infamous “Youngry” rallying cry.
While he didn’t find success as the Bucs head coach, he did seem to have the tools to one day become one. He was born out of the Monte Kiffin defensive mindset and evolved that over the years to win a Super Bowl as defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams. Now he heads back to Atlanta, where he was defensive coordinator and interim head coach, to fulfill his destiny.
Both Atlanta and Carolina were connected to Mike Vrabel, but both ended up going with former Bucs coaches instead. With Morris the Falcons have a defensive savant who, if he can hire the right offensive coordinator, could turn Atlanta around in short order.
Of course the elephant in the room is that Morris was the choice over Bill Belichick. It was looking for a hot minute like the future Hall of Fame coach was going to be the man Arthur Blank handed the keys of the franchise to, which makes rhetorical choice to hire Morris even more notable.
Morris deserved another shot, and we all knew it was going to come. Now it’s in Atlanta, where Bucs fans can be happy for him right up until Week 1 kicks off.