- David Newton, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman is as anxious as anybody to see how changes he made to the roster pan out when training camp begins on Friday.
Gettleman shared his thoughts with ESPN.com on position battles, philosophy and what he's learned in two and a half years as a general manager.
Here's the third and final installment of Monday's interview:
What position battles are you most excited to watch unfold in camp?
Gettleman: It'll be really interesting to watch that defensive end spot. It'll be interesting to see how the wide receivers shake out. We have a heck of a group. It's a little different from last year. Those two spots are going to be exciting.
Gettleman: Yeah, I do. It's funny, when the year ended everybody talked about how we've got no pass rush. We did an analysis on it. Two years ago, when we had the 60 sacks, 37 came from the D-line. Last year we dropped down to 41 and 34 came from the D-line. So you only had a drop of three. The big drop was in the secondary.
Ernie Accorsi had a great quote. Don't quit on talent. In our eyes, if we feel a guy is talented enough to play in this league and making progress, I'm not going to go out and buy a guy just to buy a guy. The salary cap doesn't allow you to it. I'm comfortable with where we're at.
Some have been critical about the way you have addressed the left tackle position by adding Michael Oher instead of a top free agent or draft pick. How do you respond?
Gettleman: After the '14 draft, I got obliterated on an Internet site for not drafting a left tackle. Five posts later, the same guy who killed me gives [Baltimore GM] Ozzie Newsome [credit] because he didn't reach for a left tackle. The one thing I run into is sometimes you can only improve incrementally. A lot of that is because of the cap. If you have a position need, and you make a change and the guy you bring in is better than the guy you had before, you improve. In our spots where we were, there was not a left tackle at that point worthy of being drafted.
The biggest thing is thinking it's not getting addressed because you didn't get a guy. ...Everybody was screaming about that tackle [Anthony Collins] we didn't sign last year. [Tampa Bay] ended up giving a big chunk of change to him and ended up cutting him. C'mon. It is what it is.
In June you quickly said the debate on wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and how his weight may or may not have impacted his hamstring injuries was much to do about nothing. Why?
Gettleman: I felt strongly about it because it was much to do about nothing. We play in September. The Super Bowl is not played until February. It was June and you would have thought the world was coming to an end. Can everybody take [a breath] and relax?
I got to that mentality in the winter of 2000. Washington signed Deion [Sanders], Bruce Smith ... five veteran players. Everybody gave them the NFC East. Everybody had then going deep into the playoffs. So I'm at Washington for a preseason game, and there's a young pro guy from another NFC East team sitting next to me. He looks at me and says, 'I guess we're all playing for second place.' I said, 'Maybe you are, but the last time I checked this game gets started playing in September.'"
(Note: Washington finished 8-8 in 2000. Gettleman and his New York Giants club went 12-4 and lost to Baltimore in the Super Bowl.)