CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman stopped during Tuesday’s practice to answer a few questions about the roster and where the team stands heading into the final preseason game at Pittsburgh.
Here are the highlights:
What about the roster are you most pleased with after offseason moves?
Gettleman: The preseason is not over, but I can say the thing I am most pleased with is [left tackle] Michael Oher. He’s been solid. It’s a heck of an upgrade. We’re really pleased with the progress that [right defensive end] Kony Ealy has made.
Quarterback Cam Newton entering Year 5, what are you looking for?
Gettleman: He’ll continue to improve. Friday night against the [New England] Patriots he really played well. Seventeen for 28 with five drops. That’s where he’s going. He’s progressing there and we’re very pleased with him.
What part of the roster still needs an upgrade?
Gettleman: We’ve got to get through Thursday night. We made the move for Kevin Norwood because we thought it was a good move for us. We really liked him coming out of college. Guys fit some places and don’t fit other places. Teddy Ginn is obviously a perfect example of that. We’ll get a looksee. Like I told you guys before, it’s about creating competition, continually upgrading the back end of the roster and getting as good as you can get.
Kevin Norwood has a reputation for having strong hands? How much was that a part of the decision to acquire him?
Gettleman: That’s part of it. We watched when he came out [of Alabama in 2014]. We did a private workout with him and [wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl] was in there with him. The kid has exceptional hands. He’s a big, strong wide receiver. We feel he’s talented and it was a chance to get him and work with him. He’s really smart. He’s a very smart kid. He’s going to be able to learn all three [positions]. A lot of the pass-game verbiage that Alabama uses we use as well. ... It’s an easier fit.
You haven’t traded for a player until now. Why now?
Gettleman: Because you’ve got a million avenues to improve your roster. And shame on you if you don’t explore every avenue.
What is your level of comfort that defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (foot) will play Week 1 at Jacksonville?
Gettleman: We’ve been told there’s a good chance. Nothing has changed.
How concerning have the drops been (6 by Corey Brown in the last two games)?
Gettleman: There’s a reason they call the position receiver. It’s disconcerting for everybody. We’ll keep working.
How have injuries impacted your roster thus far?
Gettleman: Obviously it has an impact when you lose Kelvin Benjamin. Now it’s up to adjust.