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Q&A with general manager Dave Gettleman


CHARLOTTE – Like the draft process several months ago, Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman wanted an inclusive decision-making effort when it came to finalizing the 53-man roster.

That's what he got, and he was satisfied with the end result.

"Everybody had their say," Gettleman said, sitting at his desk at Bank of America Stadium. "We sat together as a group and had a number of meetings. We kept going over it. Saturday morning, (head coach) Ron (Rivera) and I got together very quickly and we moved on.

"It was the same process as the draft – inclusive, looked at the big picture, discussed everything very thoroughly and I'm pleased with what we got to."

Gettleman discussed several position groups that made for difficult roster decisions, and below is a Q&A with Carolina's first-year general manager with some additional commentary.

Was the intention always to keep two quarterbacks?

"We are in a situation where you want to maximize every roster spot. And we are in a position where we have an emergency third quarterback who happens to be one of our wide receivers. That was part of the decision. But really, the whole thing was moot once we found out how serious Jimmy (Clausen's) injury was."

Gettleman, of course, is referring to wide receiver Armanti Edwards as the emergency third quarterback. Edwards, a record-setting quarterback at Appalachian State, was one of the team's standout performers in training camp, displaying marked improvement and an increased comfort level at wide receiver in his fourth season.

Clausen – the team's second round draft choice in 2010 – injured his throwing shoulder in the preseason finale. He had served as Carolina's third-string quarterback for the past two seasons.

What was the decision-making process at wide receiver, specifically with David Gettis who was waived/injured?

"That was a fluid decision. I always believe you keep the best 53. I don't believe you have to have four of these, five of these, six of these. I don't believe in that. I believe in the best 53 players.

"Really and truly, David Gettis had a very encouraging preseason. He was definitely in the mix. The fact that he had the (hamstring) injury was a part of it. But you have to realize, when you start the season you want to give the coach 53 healthy players. Injuries do play a part of the process."

Gettis had put together a solid preseason (11 catches for 164 yards) before suffering the hamstring injury prior to the preseason finale. Injuries have made things difficult for the fourth-year wideout, who missed the entire 2011 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and the majority of 2012 with an injured hamstring.

With Drayton Florence's release, how confident are you in the young cornerbacks like Josh Norman and Josh Thomas?

"We are very encouraged by those two and (undrafted rookie) Melvin White. What all three of those guys give you is length and ball skills. And those are two things you can't teach. With JT and Josh, it's really about continuing improvement. Melvin came on very strong at the end, and we feel very good about those three young kids."

Rivera mentioned the desire for length at cornerback at his press conference Monday. "In our division," Rivera said, "you need long, rangy guys because of who you are going to face each week."

Norman's preseason (league-leading four interceptions) turned heads, and Rivera added that he hopes Norman and Thomas can eventually develop into full-time starters. The Panthers opted for youth at cornerback with Norman, Thomas and White boasting four combined years of experience. Florence, who was a first-team cornerback throughout the preseason, was entering his 11th season.

How do you feel about the offensive line entering Week 1?

"What a lot of people have to understand is that the offensive line, more than anything, is a process. Those guys have to play together, have to get comfortable with each other, have to trust each other. That comes in time.

"I was very spoiled up in New York with that group of five guys that really played together for about four and a half, five years. You get spoiled and you realize how important it is for them to play together. But it will come. It takes time. That doesn't happen overnight. But they are smart, very competitive and very determined. I feel good about that group."

What do you take away from a 3-1 record in the preseason? The first winning preseason for the Panthers since 2006.

"Ron made a great statement after the fourth preseason game – winning begets winning. That's true. And part of what winning in the preseason does is it gives you encouragement about your depth. In three of the four games, your backups are playing the majority of the snaps. That's what's encouraging about winning in the preseason – your backup guys were theoretically better than the other team's backups."

What's your excitement level with the start of the regular season just days away?

"Obviously, you are excited. It's eight months of work and, hopefully, the fruits of it will come starting Sunday. One of the things people have to understand is we are constantly going to work on upgrading the roster. It doesn't end when the seasons starts. You want to be proactive in making roster adjustments. That part of the process never ends.

"We feel good about where we are at. Now it's just a matter of teeing it up and kicking it off."

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