Bucs’ Canales has heavy lifting to do

by Gary Shelton on February 23, 2023

in general

Thursday, 4 a.m.

He did not reveal the cure for third-and-one. He did not hint that he has come up with a shortcut to the end zone. He did not suggest that his offensive line would be better off it was a tad more offensive.

On the other hand, there was only so much that new Bucs' offensive coordinator Dave Canales can do as he said hello on Wednesday.

Canales has never called a play, never fashioned a game plan and never replaced a legend before. With the Bucs, he'll have to do all three.

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Soon would be nice.

Canales had his opening press conference, and to be honest, he didn't reveal a lot. When the only quarterback on your roster has thrown all of nine NFL passes, when your running game is last in the league, when your offensive line is a collection of matadors, what do you expect?

"From a football standpoint, they’ve done some great things – a world championship – so I want to respect that and the players that got us to that point, first and foremost. And then there’s just a lot of really awesome people on the staff that I can pull and draw from," Canales said.

For Canales, it starts with quarterback Kyle Trask, a mostly unused player whose only action came late in last season’s loss to Atlanta.

"The way that I’ve been trained is, ‘They’re ours until they’re not.’" Canales said. "So, right now, I’ve got one Buccaneers’ quarterback – it’s Kyle Trask. I can talk about Kyle for a second here. I really liked him coming out [of college]. If you look at some of the skill position players that he had there: Kyle Pitts, Kadarius Toney – he had the big return in the Super Bowl – and then you have Dameon Pierce [who] was another guy, right?

"Well, he was able to distribute. The thing that we’re going to help Kyle continue to build on here is to just be a point guard. Point guards don’t have to be the one to score all the points – you just distribute. Play on time, get the ball out of your hands, life is better that way when you do that. You’ve got these bears chasing you and if you don’t like bears chasing you, get rid of the ham – and that’s the football, right? So just teaching him those principles, allowing him to be a distributor. The other part, too, about quarterback philosophy and play – coming from a junior college background and high school and all that, we really didn’t care if the guy was 5’10” or 6’4”. I had a 6’6” quarterback – the one thing we were looking for is can this guy play catch? "

Trask will have solid receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

"I would say, specifically, they just do so many good things outside the numbers with the one-on-one matchups," Canales said. "That will definitely be a part of what we do. And then, moving the receivers to gain access – you can release easier if you move your receivers around, so we have a simple system that allows us to be able to do that, to give them access into the secondary. And when you get a big sucker like those guys with a free run, where they're not having to face press all the time – and they're both magnificent versus press, that's the cool part.

"Anytime you reduce football to just being mano-y-mano ball, it's just not smart football. So, anything you can do to get a matchup, an advantageous matchup or to move a gain to gain access, we'll do those things. And we definitely use our receivers in the run game, so having two big guys who can do that is awesome. And actually Russell [Gage Jr.] is fantastic in there, too. He's really tough. So that's another guy we'll be able to use."

One thing Canales will have to do is stop the slide. This wasn't a good offense last season.

This year? Who knows?

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