Excerpts from a conversation with interim general manager Marty Hurney shortly after the Panthers released their 53-man roster Saturday afternoon.
Bill Voth: Let's go through some positions groups, starting with quarterbacks. Was the decision to keep just two a sign of how much confidence you have in Cam Newton's shoulder?
MH: "I think we do have confidence where Cam's at right now. But that was one of the hardest, if not the hardest decision we had to make because of Joe Webb and what he brings to the football team, not only as a quarterback but as a special teams player. Joe's going to play in this league. He's going to be on a team very soon. It just came down to a numbers decision."
BV: Webb outplayed Derek Anderson this preseason, so does this decision take more into account than just the preseason?
MH: "Again, any time you have a player that brings you what Joe Webb does, it's a very difficult decision. I think the fact that Derek has been here and started games in the past and won games, the decision was made he would be the backup."
BV: Final rosters are never final, and since this roster has just one backup safety, that must mean there's still work to be done there?
MH: "Yes, that's what the next 24, 48 hours is for. You start looking at players to see if there's anybody out there that can help your roster. There's not a lot of times you go with three safeties. We can; it's just a question of trying to find somebody who can upgrade. Some of those young guys (we cut) did a really good job; I just think it comes down to numbers in all these cases."
BV: You have two kickers right now. Guessing that's something else we should expect to change?
MH: "Well, that's a matter of having a solid veteran but also a promising young kicker. So we'll see how that goes."
BV: So you're just buying some time?
MH: "Not necessarily. It's a critical position. How many times does that position decide games for you? So when you have a talented young kid that has a bright future ahead of him – I think if it were any other spot, we wouldn't be talking about it. But it was the decision that we made to keep both of them right now."
BV: Alex Armah is still raw, but he's on the 53-man roster. Is that because you like him that much or was there a worry he'd be picked up by another team if you tried to sneak him onto the practice squad?
MH: "Both. He's a very athletic fullback with good size and he's going to get better and better."
BV: Cornerback Cole Luke is the lone undrafted guy you've kept on the roster. What has he done to stand out?
MH: "Very good instincts. Very smart player. He's a very tough and physical player who fits our scheme well. He's going to get better with reps, time and experience."
Take a look back at how some current Panthers looked earlier in their careers.