3 ambitious Carolina Panthers goals under Dave Canales in 2024

Dave Canales has ambitious plans for the Carolina Panthers.
Dave Canales
Dave Canales / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages
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Carolina Panthers become a top-five rushing team

Dave Canales has one primary goal in mind for the Carolina Panthers' offense in 2024. He wants his team to run the football effectively and frequently. He wants them to be physical and take the heat off quarterback Bryce Young. The moves made throughout his first offseason suggest this goal can be achieved.

The Panthers spent lavish sums to land Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis in free agency. They'll become the team's starting offensive guard tandem, bringing a level of aggression and nastiness that was sorely lacking during the previous campaign.

Carolina added to the running back room despite the presence of Chuba Hubbard and Miles Sanders on the roster. Raheem Blackshear re-signed. Rashaad Penny reunited with Canales after the pair formed a relationship with the Seattle Seahawks. The Panthers also traded up to secure the services of Jonathon Brooks at No. 46 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft.

This is a lot of firepower. Not everyone will make the team, but raising competition and heightening standards should lead to improved production when competitive action commences.

Canales' improved blocking concepts can also help the offensive line. Ikem Ekwonu looks set to benefit more than most after the left tackle went through severe complications in Year 2 of his professional career. Most of them were his doing, but the Panthers are confident he can galvanize his performance levels under more progressive coaches.

Fans are approaching these changes with cautious optimism. The pieces are in place. Whether they can come together quickly will ultimately determine their fate.

The Panthers ranked No. 20 in rushing yards per game last season with 104.1. Given the improvements and run-first mentality under Canales' guidance, it would be extremely disappointing if things didn't improve drastically next time around.

If Canales' plans bear fruit, perhaps becoming a top-five rushing attack isn't out of the realm of possibility. That's ambitious - especially considering the Buffalo Bills ranked No. 5 last season with 135.4 rushing yards per game. But it's something the head coach will be striving to achieve as part of his more expansive scheme.