3 Carolina Panthers players showing signs of life under Dave Canales

Dave Canales
Dave Canales / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages
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Dave Canales re-energized the Carolina Panthers quickly. The new head coach came in with a clear vision for the franchise that was shared by general manager Dan Morgan. This aligned thought process and improved teachings made a considerable impact in a relatively short space of time over early off-season workouts.

Canales doesn't believe there is much to fix. The defensive continuity is intact after Ejiro Evero opted to stick around. This allows the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator to work on enhancing the offense and improving fundamentals across the board.

There are plenty of concerns surrounding the Panthers. Not unexpected for a team that attained just two wins last season. But there's a sense Canales has the progressive thinking to turn things around if David Tepper approaches this project with a sense of patience.

With that being said, here are three Panthers players who are showing signs of life with Canales leading the charge.

Ian Thomas - Carolina Panthers TE

It's been a steady decline to irrelevancy for Ian Thomas following a promising rookie campaign in 2018. The tight end constantly failed to meet expectations when opportunities came his way. The Carolina Panthers thought he'd be the heir apparent to Greg Olsen. Things didn't work out that way.

Thomas took another pay cut this offseason to fight for his place this spring. The former fourth-round selection got off to a promising start over early workouts. He's benefitting greatly from Dave Canales' system within a scheme that looks friendlier to tight ends. Nobody is getting carried away, but his chances look a lot better now than when the 2023 campaign concluded.

Fans aren't putting much merit into Thomas' mini-resurgence. They've seen this before without any substance attached when competitive games commence. But if the same trend continues throughout Carolina's training camp and when targets come his way during the preseason, don't be surprised if he becomes part of Canales' plans next season.