Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman blamed a disappointing 2016 season on a rash of injuries, but also wanted to make sure he pointed the finger at himself.
Despite his unwillingness to get into the Josh Norman situation outside of noting that he felt the 2016 draft class was deep in cornerbacks, Gettleman was open and honest during his season-ending press conference.
The main takeaway?
The Panthers (6-10) had just finished with a 15-1 regular season this time last year and would coast into a Super Bowl matchup with the Denver Broncos. The deep step backward set off many alarm bells for those outside the Panthers' facility, but Gettleman mentioned everything from a lack of success in close games to a lack of fluidity on offense for the decline. He did not sound like a person ready to thunderously shake up an otherwise successful organization.
"The whole offense was just out of whack," Gettleman said. "We just couldn't get rhythm."
Gettleman backed coach Ron Rivera, who hinted that changes could be coming to Carolina offensively. As Cam Newton (27 and soon to be 28) gets older and takes more hits, the scheme may take on a different look. In the past, it revolved around Newton's willingness to be a powerful interior runner.
"We're going to take a hard look at what's going on," Gettleman said.
This will be an interesting offseason in Carolina. After many of their talented assistants missed chances to immerse themselves in the interview process for potential head coaching jobs last season, teams with vacancies are just catching up. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport mentioned both defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and assistant head coach Steve Wilks as candidates who have received requests to interview.
Gettleman said that staff didn't get "stupid" in the year since going 17-2, but did they get deep enough to implement the minor changes he wants to see in 2017?