Carolina Panthers

Is Dave Gettleman really to blame?

Carolina Panthers Dave Gettleman

There is a popular article floating around currently from Yahoo Sports that seems to have lit a fire under the collective butts of Carolina Panthers fans. All of a sudden Panthers GM Dave Gettleman has gone from a man who saved the Panthers from salary cap hell and delivered a NFC Championship to a guy that is to blame for all of Carolina’s problems. All of this, in a matter of weeks. That seems rather harsh. Let us inspect the article by Charles Robinson and see if it rings true.

“In the eyes of the Panthers, Norman was an imperfect match. He lacked elite speed. He had a colorful disposition and attitude. He was expensive. At the end of the day, the argument was they couldn’t give a player like that a franchise cornerback deal.”

In the eyes of the Carolina Panthers, Norman was a perfect match. Norman was well liked in the locker room and front office, despite what this article implies. In fact, the Carolina Panthers did franchise Josh Norman. However, when the Panthers could not get close to a long term contract agreement and a holdout was looming, Dave Gettleman decided to rip the band aid off of the situation before the draft.

“They tried (and failed) to get a long-term deal done with Kawann Short. Mostly, they planned for the future – 2017, 2018, 2019 – because in Gettleman’s book, you can’t deviate from the long-term outlook.”

While it is true that they tried to get a long term deal done with Short, there was no reason to panic and overpay. Short is now in a contract year and can be franchised for two additional years at could could be a lower price tag that a long term deal would have costed. The Panthers had nothing to lose by waiting another year.

“a 1-3 team that is looking like an inconsistent facsimile of the Super Bowl edition; a pair of subpar offensive tackles; a thin and mediocre set of running backs;”

Everything he just described here went 17-2 just last season. This claim doesn’t come close to holding up.

“and a defensive secondary that is seemingly only as good as the front seven makes it”

Absolutely correct here. However, this has always been the case in Carolina.

“And lest we forget the plan – a roster that is almost $19 million below the salary cap. That’s great for later, but it isn’t paying big dividends right now.”

That 19 million rolls over to next season when Trai Turner, Andrew Norwell, and Kony Ealy are due for contracts, all become unrestricted free agents after next season. The Carolina Panthers had an amazing 2014 draft that has for three seasons given them three starters at minimal salaries. Now it is time to pay up, and that 19 million will be much needed to do so. Without it, there would be no hope of keeping the interior offensive line together and keep Kawann Short long term. Thanks to the CBA, the Panthers have a 5th year option to exercise on Kelvin Benjamin.

“Ask other pro personnel evaluators about Oher, who was out with a concussion Sunday. What they tell you is this: He’s a mediocre player who is viewed by the Panthers as serviceable largely because he doesn’t require an elite left tackle salary. He is cost-efficient. Sound familiar? And right tackle Mike Remmers, who filled in for Oher on Sunday? One personnel evaluator told Yahoo Sports on Sunday that Remmers likely wouldn’t be a starting tackle for most other NFL teams.”

Again, this tackle duo went 17-2 last year in an offense that ranked 1st in scoring. Does a 1-3 record now erase that? Hardly.

The article ends with….

“The Panthers seem to have gotten a little worse since the Super Bowl loss. The cap space is in great shape, but parts of the team aren’t. Surely there’s some kind of lesson inside that.”

I think this is fair, but not for the reasons he is implying. The team has gotten a little worse, but outside of trading Norman for Bradberry, I don’t feel it is a personnel issue. The Panthers’ offense has been anemic this season but has actually improved in talent over the Superbowl squad with the addition of Kelvin Benjamin. If the offense cannot stay on the field, the defense will suffer, and suffer it has.

What is actually wrong with the Panthers? Well, a little bit of everything. Poor execution, poor coaching, lack of enthusiasm. There is plenty of blame to go around here. The good news is that the personnel issues described in the article cited above are largely overblown. The issues remaining are correctable as the season moves on.

 

 

 

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Kenneth Dye

    October 3, 2016 at 10:05 am

    You make some really good points, Jeremy. I’ll share my feelings below:

    My biggest issue is that Oher is the only person with the skill set to play LT, and there is NOBODY in the pipe. Remmers showed how well HE can handle the position — he can’t — and Daryl Williams physically fits the Remmers mold, not the Oher one. Oher played pretty well last year but has been horrible this season. Haven’t gone back to check, but I don’t think Gettleman has even drafted an OT so the cupboard behind Oher is bare.

    THAT, I DO blame on Gettleman. I think perhaps he “got down in the weeds” a bit too much, trying to shore up a position that didn’t need shoring yet — the 3-technique — and did so (IMO) to help keep a lid on Kawann’s contract demands. The reason we’re so solid at the DT spot would be the three very high-round draft picks he has spent there. Fine. Okay. I get it. But the other positions need attention too, and nothin’s free.

    With LT probably the “most” marquee position after QB (then comes edge-rushers not far behind), I know it’s hard to land a great athletic prospect picking in the last third of the first round. Doesn’t mean you can’t take a 2nd-4th-rounder and give him a year or two to learn. We have nobody. Way too much rides on Michael Oher’s health and consistency.

    Don’t forget the 15-1 run was done playing the NFL’s easiest schedule, too, so that was a contributing factor. However, this team is not anywhere NEAR the what, +34 turnover margin it led the NFL with last year? Coleman and Kuechly are still working their magic, but are dropping/just missing 2-3 balls that they were catching last year for every one they do get to this year.

    I certainly haven’t seen the defense play up to par this year in general. They did play a GREAT game against Minnesota, having been put into bad field position with constant turnovers by the offense, and gave up only the one offensive TD, but consider the circumstances….no Adrian Peterson and no Bridgewater. While Sam Bradford may actually be an upgrade at QB, he hadn’t had much time to learn the offense and his own plays were likely at least somewhat limited.

    Otherwise, the D has NOT played as it should. I didn’t hear Luke’s name much in the Atlanta game, for instance. Didn’t see him much either, which was telling me he Atlanta was getting a hat on him way too much. A good part of that issue is that Tre Boston hasn’t progressed as well as no Josh Norman. Against Atlanta, Bene Benwikere got burned worse than Richard Pryor. Nobody on the team can cover Julio (few in NFL can) but I didn’t see any adjusting made. What…173 yards in 1st half, then another 127 in the second half?

    It all goes into the same pot – game outcome – but each greatly affects decisions which in turn limits the number of paths afforded that the team can take. I remember the 1-3 start that became 12-4, and attended the 38-0 thrashing of the NYG in that lone win. This year’s team looks nothing like that one did, and at similar spots in the season. The team I saw beat the Giants was confident, had some swagger, but above all, everyone seemed to know their jobs and they were playing as a team as they should.

    This year, it’s hard to put a finger upon, but the analogy is that this year, they’re playing like a lot of moving parts that just “go” independently of a common goal. The team is not PLAYING like a team but a collection of individuals, and a lot of that falls on the coaching staff.

  2. Kenneth Dye

    October 3, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Well I contradicted myself about the OT…yeah, DG drafted D. Williams, but he’s a RT-only guy. Heck, I thought he’d be kicked inside when he was drafted. Good technician, but lacks the LT skill-set.

  3. kbo

    October 3, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    ohh…someone is butthurt, what happened to it was Gettleman’s system that made them so good? *In Gettleman we trust!* now the sheep are still too blind to see it. I don’t see vernon butler, shaq thompson or devin funchess scoring many touchdowns or helping to protect cam, or really even play much either….”hey guys I let our best secondary player walk so I could sign our DT….oh i change my mind I wont pay that DT more than $15mil annually….so im going to draft another DT in the first because I am smarter than everyone else.” Completely ignores the OL and WR, that worked out real well.

  4. Wendy

    October 3, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    Apparently this author didn’t watch the game against the Falcons this past Sunday. Because, if he had, he would have seen a huge deficit in talent in both our defensive back field and our O line. Who is responsible for the accumulation of talent? Our GM. Certainly, Gettleman is not solely responsible for that mess we have seen on the field this year. Our coaching staff on both sides of the ball appear not to be working as hard as other coaching staffs we have played. Our play calls are predictable and ineffective. Cam needs a better QB coach because his fundamentals are lacking, and We have generated almost no pass rush so even third string QBs look like Tom Brady when we play them. The sad reality is none of these issues are going to be fixed this year so we will suffer through a disappointing season. But know this, the problem lies at the feet of the GM and the coaches. The players are who they are. It isn’t Remmers’ fault that he isn’t as good as his opposing defensive player. It is the GMs fault for not addressing that need in the offseason because the disparity in talent level was obvious by the end of the season last year.

  5. Brian

    October 6, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Ive never liked gettlemans way of business, seems hes selfish and egotistical. Get rid of smitty and the whole corp of wrs one season, let munnerlynn williams and norman go pass up on free agent weddle at safety and chris long at defensive end release johnson resign johnson franchise tag norman remove the franchise tag. Bring in a whole new corp of secondary/rookies clean house again in a corp (after the superbowl) i question is this guy eccentric because it doesnt seem he knows what hes doing or what he wants to do. The Panthers had great players and were good before gettleman and rivera. Our rebuilding mode was final and we just started playing 1 season as a new team our record showed that, now with them releasing everyone we still have a decent team but its a constant rebuild and restructure. Why i do not know. The success should belong to cam, HE turned the franchise around as did smitty and peppers when they came in….

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