Marty Hurney Taking Thought-Out Approach To GM Position
The Panthers have begun the process of looking for their new general manager after Dave Gettleman was let go last summer after he disagreed on player contracts with former owner Jerry Richardson.
General manager could very well be the most important front office position in the NFL. The general manager has a large part in choosing draft picks, giving out player contracts and signing free agents.
The general manager sets the team’s foundation for not only the year of, but the future years to come. The decisions that he makes now could pay off in the future or comeback to hurt them.
Interim GM Marty Hurney was recently interviewed for the permanent GM job.
“We certainly have needs,” Hurney said. “I think when you’re on a team with a quarterback likeCam Newton – and we have some veteran players – we have a foundation here. So now we have to find the complimentary guys around that.
“We’ve talked about addressing the skills positions on both sides of the ball with more speed and more athleticism. We want to keep the offensive and defensive lines very strong and deep like they have been here in recent years. I think that’s been a big advantage and we need to continue to do that. There are several positions of need in our mind that we’ll try to address in free agency, in the draft or trade or cuts or whatever avenues we can pursue.” (h/t Panthers.com)
Maintaining a solid deep line on both sides of the ball is a key to success in the National Football League. It is how the Panthers have been a perennial playoff team the last five years and appeared in a Super Bowl. The Philadelphia Eagles won SBLII on the strengths of their offensive and defensive lines.
It is a philosophy that is key in being a successful football team. Being able to rush the passer and protect the quarterback is a must in today’s NFL.
Whoever takes the permanent GM position will have a huge decision to make this offseason. Andrew Norwell, the Panthers young elite guard is a restricted free agent along with starting nose tackle Star Lotulelei.
The Panthers will not have enough money to resign both, and Lotulelei mentioned that he would like to explore his options and be paid as a top nose guard in the NFL. If Lotulelei leaves, the 2016 first-round pick Vernon Butler would be the one to fill his spot.
Norwell would be a much more difficult player for the Panthers to replace because of his strengths in the run game and in pass protection. Norwell is also very young and has only spent 4 years in the league after the Panthers drafted him in 2014.
According to Pro Football Focus, Norwell was the only offensive lineman in the NFL to log at least 500 pass-blocking snaps without allowing either a sack or a quarterback hit, which makes him one of only four guards who have achieved this fear since PFF started collecting data back in 2006.
That would be some huge production that could not be replaced instantly.
The Panthers also need to keep speed on the field. Curtis Samuel and Damiere Byrd were hugely missed after their seasons were ended on IR. The system the Panthers have on offense needs those speedy players on the field to stretch the defense and make them defend every blade of grass.
Hurney believes that he has learned from his previous stint as GM in that he admits he probably let his “emotions get the best of him.” He understands that it is a business and he is going to have to make tough decisions.
“When it comes to personnel decisions, you really do have to be patient, not rush, not overreact and have options,” Hurney said. “That probably is the biggest difference in my thinking right now, knowing that there is a solution out there. And if we’re just thorough – which we are in our evaluation process – we’re going to get to the right place.
“‘Be patient’ is a phase that I keep telling myself. You have to have other options, and Plan B and Plan C aren’t always bad for you.” (h/t Panthers.com)
If Hurney gets the permanent GM position, he will have plenty of decisions to make on a team that has high expectations.