CHARLOTTE – Sunday's game at the New York Giants will be a special one for Dave Gettleman. The Carolina general manager spent 15 seasons with the Giants, 13 as director of pro personnel, and this will be his first trip back since joining the Panthers in 2013.
In the lead-up to the game, several key figures on both teams shared their thoughts on Gettleman's style and success.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera:
"Dave is a Northeastern guy. He's got the accent and all the sayings. He's got the 'My Cousin Vinny' way about him. He's gregarious. He's emotional. He's very convicted in what he believes in. He's great to work with."
"In the three years Dave has been here, he's solidified things. He's asked us what we need, what we want, and Dave went out and got it. And then there were things that he felt we really needed. How many of you guys thought we were going to draft two defensive tackles (Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short in 2013)? And look at those defensive tackles now. Those are things that Dave did, standing firm to that, that, 'Hey, this is the way we're going to do things, and this is how we're going to do it.' "
"He constantly harasses me. He and I are constantly talking. I'll come upstairs and he'll say, 'Hey, did you see this? What do you think about that?' I listen to him, and he listen to me. We've got good synergy."
"He believes in the hog mollies. One of the things we first talked about was protecting the quarterback. … He loves the hog mollies. He can't collect enough of them. We worked out some guys the other day for futures, and he brought in gigantic guys – 315, 325, 340. To him, it's the bigger, the better."
"He's done the things that we needed and has given us the push we needed. That's important, when you have a guy like that that doesn't have a filter. There are no strings attached. He came in with no connections, so he could look at things with jaded eyes. He was able to help us that way with his unfiltered opinion on things. It gave us a new set of eyes."
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton:
"I know he had a long stint with the New York Giants. He's a great human being, a fair human being at that. I don't think he gets enough credit for that. He's an unbelievable person who searches for talent – not just talent, but morally talented (players). He finds guys that fit the mold that will mesh pretty well in the locker room – guys that uphold their end of the bargain. He holds people to a standard. He knows that in this league you have to produce, whether you are a player, coach or even a GM in his position."
"I know and we all know that he always hasn't been a fan favorite, so for him to be mentally tough throughout those stages and understanding that it's a plan in place has been great to see."
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin:
"Terrific job. I mean, Dave's a football guy. Give him a screen and a projector - whatever we call it today - and give him players to evaluate and he's exceptional. He's done an outstanding job, and they have certainly picked the right man as the general manager."
"I see what he's done up front, and Dave's done an outstanding job at that and the way in which philosophically they ball is run. And they play outstanding defense, and that's what the Giants teams had always done."
Giants quarterback Eli Manning:
"He's done a great job with the personnel. From the defensive standpoint, the only thing I've studied, they've got a lot of good players. They've got a big, good front where they can get pressure just bringing four guys and just good players all around. Linebackers play outstanding, good DBs, they have some veteran guys, some great leadership, so it seems like he's done a great job of putting a good squad together, and obviously they're playing great football."