NFL Combine 2013: Panthers GM Dave Gettleman Transcript

USA TODAY Sports

New Panthers GM Dave Gettleman addressed the media today at the combine. The Panthers are a team with multiple holes in their roster, but Gettleman is excited about the direction in which the Panthers are headed.

Opening statement:

Be kind to me. Today’s my birthday.

Q: How much have you enjoyed having Keuchly on the team?

A: Obviously I’m new to this and having watched defensive film its certainly fun to watch Luke play. He’s a very talented very gifted young player. When you’ve got a three-down Mike its huge. Never comes off the field, lines everybody up. He was a great draft choice by Marty Hurney.

Q: Where do you think the offseason goals need to be?

A: I’ve had a chance to watch analyze and look, and the first thing we have to do is make March 12 and get there. It’s interesting. It’s a puzzle. What you think you may look for in the draft you may fill in free agency. So to say now what way we’ll go, it all depends on what’s available and if they’re the right fit. Like I said the biggest thing is we’ve got to get to March 12 first.

Q: Inaudible, regarding untouchable players on the roster.

A: Right now we’re in the evaluation process in terms of the whole program. We’re working towards making those decisions and very frankly haven’t made any yet.

Q: How do you get to March 12?

A: Obviously there’s going to have to be some work done. It’s no secret, bottom line is everybody knows we’re over the cap and we’ve got to get there. So we’re spending time being as thoughtful as we can. Because it’s not just about getting to March 12, 2013. It’s getting to March 12, 2014, 2015. The biggest responsibility I have is to think long term. I can’t get narrowed in.

Q: What is it like working for an owner who actually played in the NFL?

A: It’s absolutely terrific. It’s truly a blessing. Because No. 1, Mr. Richardson understands the game. He knows what it takes. He knows what’s required. He understands the sacrifice and he understands there are a lot of moving parts. So that really is a huge plus for me.

Q: Is the read option here to stay?

A: 10 of the 12 teams in the playoffs this year had true pocket passers. At the end of the day, the quarterback has to make plays from the pocket. I think the read option is an option, exactly what you called it. But at the end of the day your quarterback has got to make plays from the pocket and if he can’t you’re going to struggle.

Q: Are you confident that you can get veterans to restructure rather than cutting a number of guys?

A: We haven’t gotten completely that far. You can’t just think about 2013. You’ve got to get beyond that. We’ve got to be thoughtful about this. With it being as flat as its been the last couple of years and people are talking it’s going to be that way for a couple more years, you’ve got to try to climb out of the hole. The only way you’re gonna do that is if you’re thoughtful.

Q: What changes can we expect to see in the offense?

A: I don’t think you’ll see a lot of change. I think the offense you saw at the end of the year is gonna be where we’re at. The team closed awful strong. It won five of the last six, six of the last 10. It really speaks volumes about Ron his staff and his players. I think once they get back to the downhill run game and throwing vertical, play action, that’s what you’re going to see. It’s basically going to be similar to what we did in New York and I think that worked out pretty well.

Q: What has the last month been like and what’s the biggest thing you’ll take from the Giants experience?

A: The first couple things were quite hectic to say the least, People lined up outside you door. So that’s been a change. It’s been a change living in the hotel room and not going home to momma and the babies. That’s different. It’s starting to slow down now. I’m starting to get comfortable with the people and they’re starting to get comfortable with me. A lot of it is really just getting everyone on the same page. Understanding what we need to do and how we need to get there and understanding that it’s about the Carolina Panthers and it’s not about any one individual.

Q: Do you think you’ll retain the same amount of zone read?

A: I think that’s a Ron question. I really do. We’ve talked about it and I think it’s better suited being answered by him.

Q: How many interviews did you do in New York. You seem comfortable with the media?

A: First of all, none. That first press conference was my first one. I got baptized. I feel comfortable. Charlie Dayton and Steve Drummond did a great job getting me ready. And I’m a natural yacker. I like to talk to people and go back and forth. I feel comfortable. I’m glad it comes out that way.

Q: What’s your take on Joe Adams’ progression?

A: That’s a question I can’t address. I’ve looked at the people I feel we need to think about and I haven’t really studied Joe.

Q: How much is a WR next to Steve Smith a need?

A: I don’t know, I think Steve Smith and Brandon Lafell are pretty darn good. Obviously the more depth you have the better off you’re going to be. It’s funny, I learned a great lesson from Marv Levy when I was in Buffalo. He said, often times the answer’s on your roster. And that goes for all phases of football. With the players, the staff, the scouting. He’s a young talented guy and he needs to play. Last time I checked you’re not getting better standing on the sidelines. He needs to play.

Q: With the roster in the shape it’s in, can this team compete this season?

A: I don’t see why not. Nobody’s out of it in this league. Every year there’s a team that comes out… Indianapolis. There wasn’t anybody on the face of the earth who thought Indianapolis would go to the playoffs. So the bottom line is, everybody’s in play. We’re all 0-0.

Q: Draft philosophy?

A: The way I look at the whole picture is, Free agency is the opportunity to set your draft up. You want to be in a position where you can take the best player. Nine times out of 10 you get in trouble when you draft for need. It’s a problem. You can have a top 10 pick and make up your mind you’re going to draft for need, and if he’s not there, then what do you do. It’s all part of it. You want as much competition at every position as possible. With the giants people thought we were crazy for drafting defensive ends. We drafted Kiwanuka and we drafted JPP and everyone’s saying my God when’s it going to stop? If that’s the best player available you take him. Nothing like competition.

Q: How important is a player’s ability to deal with the media?

A: It’s part of it. It’s really just another piece. Bottom line is what’s he doing between the white lines?

Q: Were you ever thinking at this stage, maybe I’m not going to be a GM?

A: Yes, and that’s what’s got me so excited right now. It was a long time coming and I feel like I’m ready. Maybe that’s why I feel so comfortable up here.

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