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Brad Idzik settles into his new OC role as players return 

Brad Idzik

CHARLOTTE— For the first time in his coaching career, Brad Idzik has been forced to delegate.

It's an aspect of being offensive coordinator that the 32-year-old (the youngest OC currently in the league) hasn't had to experience before.

"The delegation for me, that part is, it's difficult. It really is," Idzik laughed.

The longtime position coach was tapped to lead Dave Canales' offense with the Panthers this offseason. And the transition from roles such as assistant quarterbacks coach or wide receivers coach, to wearing the coordinator hat, has come with changes, like letting go of the nitty gritty details of specific areas of the offense.

"I'm used to like really diving into my project and diving into my little like sphere of influence if you will," Idzik said. "Like last year, I was so excited because I had all these ideas of like technique and fundamentals for receiver play. Well, now this year it's, it's more broad, right? It's making sure we don't skip steps of like fundamental teaching and then trusting the coaches to go, they get to dive deeper."

Adam Thielen, Brad Idzik

Idzik has worked on a staff with Canales his entire career, starting his trajectory in the NFL as the assistant wide receivers coach with the Seahawks in 2019. The two worked in Seattle together through 2022, then both went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2023. Canales compiled an offensive staff in Carolina largely with coaches he and Idzik had worked with before, in either Seattle or Tampa, or both. That familiarity and trust has made the process of trusting the coaching to "dive deeper" easier for the OC, even if letting go of the classroom has been tough.

"We have such good guys on staff like you know they're going to do it right. But to let go of that is, that's been a tough one for me," Idzik admitted. "You want to leave skin on the bone when you're up in front of the whole offense saying like, ok, here's a certain play, the coaches will cover the details in their rooms or else you're, you're really kind of stripping them of their ability to explain things further to the players and earn their respect."

As Panthers players returned last week to begin the voluntary offseason program, Idzik took all of these lessons, and began to put them into practice. As with any new job, especially one that comes with increased responsibility, there are butterflies that predictably arise at the precipice of a new challenge.

"I think good nerves like I just want it to be here already. I want to get in the flow. I want to see what the rhythm of the days is like," Idzik mused.

The first two weeks are really just about introducing players to new coaches, getting back into the groove and more. As such, when Idzik and Canales talked about what they wanted to present to the room these first few meetings, the message they landed on was simple: "Dave and I were joking about it and it's like, you're not going to get in front of a player and wow them with like, all right the last 20 years of my life… we're going to keep it simple about football. And attacking this off season with the best mentality we can."

Next week will bring their first voluntary veteran mini-camp, and with it, the football aspect ramps up. Until then, Idzik will continue to test out all the aspects of his new title, from delegating to leading. With every step, he hopes the players he's been charged to lead can feel the energy from this new crop of offensive coaches.

View photos from the weight room as the Panthers' players went through their second week of voluntary offseason workouts on April 15, 2024.

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