CHARLOTTE – The Panthers have begun the process of selecting the general manager that will lead the organization into next season and beyond, starting with a nearly three-hour interview Wednesday evening between interim general manager Marty Hurney and the team's decision makers.
Hurney, Carolina's GM from 2002-12, has new perspective the second time around and shared his perspective on how to build the Panthers roster moving forward.
"We certainly have needs," Hurney said. "I think when you're on a team with a quarterback like Cam Newton - and we have some veteran players - we have a foundation here. So now we have to find the complimentary guys around that.
"We've talked about addressing the skills positions on both sides of the ball with more speed and more athleticism. We want to keep the offensive and defensive lines very strong and deep like they have been here in recent years. I think that's been a big advantage and we need to continue to do that. There are several positions of need in our mind that we'll try to address in free agency, in the draft or trade or cuts or whatever avenues we can pursue."
When Hurney mentions keeping the Panthers strong along both lines of scrimmage, the names of pending free agents Andrew Norwell at left guard and defensive tackle Star Lotulelei immediately spring to mind. It goes without saying that Hurney or any other candidate sitting in the GM chair would be wise to explore the option of re-signing those guys, but Hurney said he's learned from his first stint that answers can be found in multiple forms.
"When it comes to personnel decisions, you really do have to be patient, not rush, not overreact and have options," Hurney said. "That probably is the biggest difference in my thinking right now, knowing that there is a solution out there. And if we're just thorough – which we are in our evaluation process – we're going to get to the right place.
"'Be patient' is a phase that I keep telling myself. You have to have other options, and Plan B and Plan C aren't always bad for you."