Carolina Panthers GM Dave Gettleman and Coach Ron Rivera shed some light on the team's direction during a Tuesday joint press conference, but for the most part decisions are being held at arm's length for a month.
The month timeframe is a self-imposed deadline Gettleman cited while responding to questions involving contracts, to allow the team's front office and coaching staff to remove itself from the disappointment of the playoff one-and-done home loss and conduct more extensive evaluations on players.
Despite the framework of not answering questions about contracts, the two did get into particulars of several situations, and foreshadow some of the larger decisions that will be made later this offseason.
Here's what I took away from the 35-minute interview:
1) Rivera said he anticipates his entire coaching staff to return for 2014. Gettleman was also complimentary of the staff and the job they have done.
2) Cam is the franchise quarterback, and Gettleman didn't need seven seconds to answer that question anymore. He joked about his infamous preseason pregnant pause, as well as regional media's take on "hog mollies," even applying it to a question about Da Kraken. His answer was an unequivocal and immediately offered, "Yes. Yes. Yes. No six-second pause."
3) About Da Kraken, we literally know no more now than we did Monday, but I will note that Gettleman talked more about every team having "let a big dog walk out the door" than he did using the franchise tag on the youthful standout. This could just be posturing, of course, and it is also of note that Gettz explained his team building philosophy as "you identify the core, and then you keep that core. whatever it takes." In the eyes of most fans, Kraken helps to comprise this team's core.
4) We now have a general timeline for the team's extraction from salary cap hell. "God willing and the creek don't rise, we should be out of it in two years," Gettleman told reporters, after earlier explaining "that's not going to change anytime soon." One has to assume he meant two years from now, since there was no follow-up question.
5) There may be no backfield shakeup, as such. Gettleman fumbled for a moment, then said he is comfortable with the investment the team has in the backfield. He even went all John Fox trying to convince us, and perhaps himself, that it's all right to pay that much for this much production. "Look, it is what it is," he said. "We believe in running the ball, and it's an old saying that you can't have too many running backs." I'm not completely convinced, but it sounds like he's ready to roll with it if he has to. He did seem to implicate this into the cap hell situation, so there's that. Also, he talked about Kenjon Barner as being "in a stacked position" and "not able to see the field" for that reason. We'll have to wait and see on Stewie. I'm of the mind we can roll with D-Will and Tolbert, but an injury would make me look dumb real quick for that.
6) Look for more Hog Mollie draft picks. Apparently, the team views the 2014 draft haul as already having one hog mollie. Gettleman referred to Kugbila as a 2014 draft pick, which for all intensive purposes he is since the team has seen no technique from him yet aside from on the stationary bike. I get the sense they knew about an injury issue coming into it. Gettleman dissected the NFC Championship participants as "big, wide-bodied teams" the Panthers need to bulk up against to gain an edge.
7) Gettleman is just as surprised as we are. He said 12-4 and NFC South Champs wistfully, almost like he was trying to convince himself of what he'd just seen. I felt the same way. Rivera, on the other hand, already knows what our record will be in 2015 and nothing seems to surprise him anymore.
8) No contract talk, but Gettleman gave an overall glowing report on Rivera's body of work and abilities. He offered his vote of confidence freely and praised Rivera as being easy to work with "because he's genuinely a good guy." Don't look for Riverboat to shove off anytime soon from Charlotte.
Anyways, they'll probably post it or offer transcripts on the team website. It's raining down east so I'm in the house for the day and had some fun with it. Hope you guys enjoyed the post, and KEEP POUNDING!!!!