Here we are again folks. The Panthers went to the University of Phoenix Stadium to play a vulnerable Arizona Cardinals team and left without a win. The loss was made all the worse by the undisciplined and disjointed effort that the Panthers proffered. The fact that the Panthers were thoroughly outcoached could not be more evident. Assuredly, the Panther’s front office can no longer believe that Ron Rivera shows any reason to extend his tenure. Phoenix Stadium shall be remembered as the place where a swan song was performed for the entire Panther Nation.
All this being said, maybe Phoenix Stadium is an apt place to begin a rebirth of a franchise. As a phoenix rises from the ashes, Panther’s General Manager Dave Gettleman must be certain that his job for next offseason is the total remaking of the product that is put on the field. This will not be a reworking of staff or players, this will be a demolishing of the existing structure and a rebuilding of the franchise, starting with coaches and ending with the last player on the practice squad. Our GM has been given the jobs of both architect and builder. The final product will end up being forever known as Dave Gettleman’s Taj Mahal or possibly his Leaning Tower of Pisa.
I’ve said in the past that Dave Gettleman is one sharp cookie. If you look at where the Panthers are, you have to think that Mr. Gettleman was already way ahead of the curve on what needs to happen to be successful in a total rebuild. He has taken a cap strapped team and cleaned it up to the point that it now has a modicum of cap space available. While reworking this season’s roster, he signed several players to one year deals that will allow for a major overhaul of the roster in the offseason. In fact, he has 23 of 53 players on the roster in either UFA/RFA/ERFA status. Even 4 of 9 players on IR fit into this category. This will be very helpful in recruiting a new head coach because cleaning house to transition to players that are wanted by a new coaching cadre will never be easier.
A specific area for in-depth discussion will be the “New Head Coach/New Quarterback” truism. Is Cam Newton an asset or a liability in bringing in a new coach. For that matter, should we even wait until next season to make a move with Cam? Would the Houston Texans offer two first round picks for Cam right now? I’m willing to bet they would. Here again, Dave Gettleman is going to have to determine what is best to facilitate a reborn Panthers franchise.
Dave Gettleman was hired as General Manager of the Carolina Panthers in January 2013. Having served in several NFL staff positions over the years, he has said he had to wait longer than he thought he would to ever get a General Manager position for an NFL franchise. Now he has the opportunity to see if it was worth the long wait. Now he has the chance to thumb his nose at all those owners who passed him over. Dave, we give you our Carolina Panthers. Now all we want is a winner!