Dave Gettleman building the Panthers for the long haul


Carolina's new GM is bringing a blue-collar work ethic to rebuild, and manage a billion-dollar organization.

Still in the 'getting to know you' phase of the relationship, Carolina Panthers' fans don't know a lot about Dave Gettleman. Sure, we know he's relaxed with the media, has been described as a 'grinder', and have access to his resume -- we also know that he wants to build the team for the long-haul, rather than splashing around money in free agency. However, there's still not a lot to know about the new GM. This morning Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe ran a fantastic piece on the Bostonian who now calls himself a Carolinian, and what his vision is for the future.

If you're hoping for a quick turnaround in the Panthers' fortunes, you should probably think again.

"You have to build a foundation, and everything is a process. The ones that get to the mountaintop are the ones that don't shortcut the process, and who understand all the things involved in the process.

"What you want is sustained success - that's what you're looking for. Any one team in any given year can go to the playoffs where everything just breaks right. But it's really about sustained success.

"If that's what you want, you must go through the process. You can't take shortcuts. You have to do the work and build it right."

While not directly referring to the Panthers' past, what Gettleman is saying rings true. If we're truly introspective on the team's successes in the last ten years, was it really about having that solid foundation, or were the few playoff runs a by-product of simply having things break right? More often than not the latter seemed to be true, and inconsistency became what Carolina are known for today.

The names he's worked with en route to becoming Panthers' GM is staggering.

"I've watched some of the best put teams together and win," Gettleman said. "Bill Polian, Bob Ferguson, Mike Shanahan, Ernie (Accorsi) . . . I've seen some of the best.

"And, obviously, from afar, I tried to see what Bill Walsh was doing and how he was thinking, and, of course, Bill Belichick. You pay attention to all this stuff. What you do is you kind of put yourself in those positions mentally."

If nothing else, Gettleman is a student. Whether it's watching film, or looking at other organizations, the Panthers have gotten themselves someone who understands how successful organizations operate, or (hopefully) will use that to build this team into one of them.

Despite wanting to do things his way, he also acknowledges that there are some things to build on. This isn't the dumpster fire other GMs this off-season have inherited, and as such the same slow, methodical approach to team building will carry over to the coaching staff and front office.

"You don't win five out of your last six games like we did last year and not have quality people. It doesn't happen. This team didn't mail it in. That speaks a lot to the people in this building."

It will be fascinating moving forward to see how Dave Gettleman molds the Panthers in his image, and what his breaking point will be with the people in the building he believes in, should the team falter in 2013. Regardless of what happens, Gettleman is the person the Panthers need right now -- to build that foundation, and put them on the right road. Like a draft pick that's safe but might lack upside -- his hiring may not have moved the needle, but then again, neither did the drafting of Luke Kuechly.

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