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Panthers retain defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, name Brad Idzik offensive coordinator 

Dave Canales' coaching staff is taking shape in Carolina.

The Panthers on Thursday announced they have retained defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero and have agreed to terms with Brad Idzik to be the new offensive coordinator and Tracy Smith as the new special teams coordinator to round out the rookie head coach's staff.

During his introductory press conference last week, Canales said it was his hope to retain Evero, who went through several head-coaching interviews during this year's cycle. Canales will be pleased to have some continuity entering his first season. 

"Oh my gosh, I mean, just the respect factor that I have going against them," Canales said of Evero last week, via the team's official website. "I know this scheme going against it. I'm really excited to learn more about the ins and outs as far as how the calls come in, the adjustments, and all that. I just know it was really difficult on me for years, whether it was in Seattle going against the Rams in that family or this year just going against EJ twice.

"So, and this is really important for me, especially as a first-time head coach. I'm here to make sure we get our football right, especially on the offensive side, that we have that continuity with the players, with EJ, just being able to have the mentality that I saw that was really challenging to play against.

"I mean, this is, for me, what a huge piece of what we're doing."

Evero led a Panthers defense ranked fourth in the league allowing 293.9 yards per game despite Carolina owning the league's worst offense and record in 2023. Without the benefit of playing with a lead for much of the season, Carolina struggled to force sacks (27) and takeaways (11), ranking last in both categories.

During his one season in Tampa Bay as offensive coordinator, Canales' offense struggled to put up points against Evero's scheme, scoring just 30 combined points in two games.

Canales rounded out his coordinating staff with faces familiar to the 42-year-old head coach

Idzik served as an assistant wide receivers coach and offensive quality control/assistant quarterbacks coach in Tampa Bay last season, and enters his first year as an OC in the NFL. However, Canales did announce last week he will be the offensive play-caller next season.

Smith was the assistant special teams coach the past three seasons in Seattle, where Canales spent 12 years before the Buccaneers hired him as OC last year.

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