Dave Canales Acknowledges His Huge Learning Curve

July 18th, 2023

Great candor from the Bucs’ new playcaller.

Joe’s a big fan of new Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales. Great vision, great energy, great communicator, great approach.

But can he succeed as a playcaller in eight weeks?

Speaking last month to the 2 B’s In A Pod podcast, Canales exuded confidence but candidly acknowledged he’s a major work in progress.

The first-time coordinator responded to a question about how he has jumped into coaching roles over the years without being well versed in those position groups.

“Here I am again, right?” Canales replied. “Doing something that I don’t have a clue how to do other than watching a bunch of guys that have done it really well.”

…”With each position that I went into to learn, I went in with the understanding that somebody knows it better. A coach knows it better, a veteran tight end, Greg Olsen [with the Seahawks in 2020] knows it far better than I could have ever known it. Just gravitating [to them].”

Canales went on to say he treasures his mentality of feeling like a 25-year-old junior college coach going to a clinic and listening to a football legend talk about the spread passing game.

It seems he gets that vibe working with the Buccaneers’ co-offensive line coaches, Harold Goodwin (interior linemen) and Joe Gilbert (tackles).

“And even here [in Tampa], just like with the offensive line coaches who have done it forever, they start talking about runs and I’m just like, ‘Ok, so then what goes with this?” Canales said. “Alright, then we run this off this play.’ So I hope I never learn that wonder as far as [my] career goes, that I’m always around people who just know something better about something than I do.”

Joe loves the candor from Canales and respects it. He’s not saying he doesn’t know his new job. But Joe also realizes a lot of Bucs fans will be twitching violently after reading this, especially the part about how Canales appears to be learning to scheme the run game from two coaches tied to the failed effort of last season.

28 Responses to “Dave Canales Acknowledges His Huge Learning Curve”

  1. Buccos Says:

    He will be just fine. Be nice if we signed another vet RB though

  2. Esteban85 Says:

    Complete 180 from the bumbling idiot we had calling plays last year. Lefty was a pompous know it all and Canales seems to be a humble experienced coach who knows when to listen and when to speak up.

  3. Crickett Baker Says:

    Y. I twitched when I read and agreed with that last sentence, Joe, but not violently as I also agreed with the rest of that article. We shall see. I hope Canales realizes how bad our run game was with the probable input of (esp.) Gilbert.

  4. A Bucs Fan Says:

    It makes sense that Canales’s would be impressionable at this stage of his career. He’s unproven and it’s great to see him be humble and use all his resources available as he learns what works and what doesn’t in his new role. I just hope the man can call plays and his scheme maximizes the Bucs talented skill positions on offense.

  5. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Joe

    “Great vision, great energy, great communicator, great approach.”

    You mean to tell me this guy is a better communicator than Captain Flat Bill Sponge Pants?

    No way!

    Wow – all the Bucs need now is another solid free agent running back.

    Right Dooley?

  6. Lt. Dan Says:

    Anyone remember taking drivers ed in high school? For me it was 1979 King High School. I had a JV basketball coach and a shop teacher as my driving instructors. There was a foot brake on the passenger side of the car as well as on the drivers side. I kind of knew how to drive but was learning from a couple of guys seasoned in the craft. I only got better with time and experience.

    Kinda reminds me of what Canales is saying about leaning on and learning from someone more experienced, even though he understand the concept.

  7. K2 Says:

    Buccos-In response to people wanting a vet RB. Sometimes teams miss keeping a young guy to make room for an over the hill guy. Example Wes Welker was with the Bucs during training camp, but was cut to keep all the vets. The Bucs RBs are ok, but I think both Sean Tucker and Ronnie Brown can be special. Let’s see what we have before we replace it. If they don’t develop…I’m with you.

  8. SlyPirate Says:

    Put him up at the Holiday Inn the night before game day.

  9. Dooley Says:


    Nope, because Canales served on staffs that got production out of lesser known guys like Thomas Rawls & Chris Carson as well as having success with RBs who are more household names. You know what Seattle didn’t do to their RB room in Canales time there? Sign RBs coming off their worst years as professional football players lol

  10. Dooley Says:

    “Feeding play ideas for the last three coordinators at different times in my career has allowed me to cut my teeth a little bit on what that looks like,” Canales said. “Just having a mastery of the call sheet comes with the role of being the quarterbacks coach, which is why it’s important.”

    Canales gets the benefit of the doubt from this Buc fan

  11. captivajim Says:

    hope he’s more than a Rah-Rah guy like Pete Carroll

  12. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Dooley

    I hope Vaughn and Edmonds can prove me wrong.

    You are correct about Canales. I’m looking forward to seeing this new offense.

    I still disagree about our running back group. If we can add Fournette, Hunt, Elliot or Cook for the right price I would do it.

    I guess time will tell. One week until training camp begins…

    Go Bucs!

  13. D-Rok Says:

    As a scientist, the smartest people I’ve ever worked with ALWAYS were quick to admit what they did not know, in order to improve. Love this mindset from Canales.

  14. Since76 Says:

    It is impossible to be worse than last year’s oc. It can only be better

  15. Jack Clark Says:

    It’s a copy cat league, no excuses for not knowing what plays to call. Play calling is subjective and all made up by the play caller. The only objective measurement there is to the plays called is the outcome (i.e. yards, touchdowns, wins). Designing plays is where creativity is required to distinguish coordinators, but gambling on whether to call a run or pass play or even to go for it on fourth down is just a guessing game.

  16. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I’m not holding anything against him at present…but I’m also not giving him credit for any coaching yet. He’s got a clean slate, and I hope he’s great.

    Because there is a chance, if he does well, that he will replace Bowles next year…

  17. Dooley Says:

    “Because there is a chance, if he does well, that he will replace Bowles next year…“

    Make this statement makes sense, if Canales does well I’d like to think the team overall is doing we’ll; but apparently there’s a way Canales can be good year 1, have our offense looking competent, but Bowles still gets fired? How?

  18. Nybuccguy Says:

    I think he will falter a little in the first few games, but will hopefully develop into atleast a competent coordinator. I’m cautiously optimistic.

  19. Fred McNeil Says:

    Odds are if Canales does well Bowles will get to keep his job. Unless Canales runs a top 5 offense and Bowles runs a bottom 5 defense.

  20. Fred McNeil Says:

    SpongeBob set the bar mighty low. Canales almost cannot lelp but be an improvement.

  21. Pelsbuc61 Says:

    The key issue will be can he make in game adjustments, something that was impossible with SpongeBob. BTW p, whatever happened to the the RB we signed that had a heart issue?

  22. stpetebucfan Says:


    “Because there is a chance, if he does well, that he will replace Bowles next year…”

    Not really. Nobody yet has claimed Bowles can’t coach defense. If Canales does well that means the Bucs do well. Bowles is easily capable of getting ten wins out of his defensive personnel IF the offense can top the paltry 18.4 ppg.

    IMHO it’s hard to imagine Canales doing really well without the Bucs also doing well.

    This guy “gets it”. 75 years of experience tells me to always approach life with wonder and energy. Never believe you know it all. Always be willing to eat your ego and learn from whomever has the answers.

  23. Mike Johnson Says:

    I am laughing so hard right now. I cannot stop it. You are an OC in the NFL and facing a learning curve? The world of NFL Jurassic park is waiting for you buddy. Lunch will be served every Sunday during the football season And you, Mr Canales will be the main menu. And his opposing coaches are sayin, hope you learned something in this lost. Whats for desert? I’ve got my head bag pressed and ready.

  24. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Can-do Canales says all the right things…including some corporate buzzwords. Time will tell if it leads to some results.

    I prefer Bucco Bruce myself…but I’m older and dubious. Winny was a whisker away from a 100 million dollar extension in 2019 but trotted out some explosive diarrhea the final three games ( thank God ) with an assist from Matt Gay-Blade…who is been the best kicker in football since then more or less. Football Gods giveth and taketh away it seems.

  25. garro Says:

    Lots and Lots of media exposure for Coach Dave.
    Lots and lots of talk.
    Hope he is putting in as much time doing actual OC stuff.

    Go Bucs!

  26. Joker's Paradigm Says:

    Can’t be any worse than Lefty. He definitely has more upside.

  27. Buc4evr Says:

    Perhaps Uncle Bruce can help him from the Coach’s Box? Not sure how Canales could do worse than Leftwurst? Think the biggest challenge will be the players learning the new offense and clock management.

  28. bucsfaninva Says:

    What surprises me is that no one has mentioned…perhaps the OC line coach, etc. were overridden by Spongebob last year and THAT was what led to all of the crap/predictability. For all of you poo poo’ing Canales’s approach, I feel for you. Being responsible/in charge of something does not necessarily mean that you have the most knowledge, and in fact, the really smart leaders understand that there is ALWAYS going to be someone smarter. What surprises me is that so few people here seem to understand that and still cling to the “I have to know more than everyone else in order to win.” mentality. Look where that got Spongebob. While I am not expecting a stellar season, I at least am giving him/them a chance. I guess like everyone else, we’ll have ot wait till the season starts to see if he/they sink or swim.