Panthers interim general manager Marty Hurney took questions from reporters on Sunday – including The Observer’s Joseph Person and Scott Fowler – after Carolina made a number of roster moves over the previous 48 hours to get down to the 53-player NFL roster limit. Some excerpts from the conversation:
Q. How was the process of cutting your roster down to 53 active players?
A. It’s been a long weekend. It has. We feel like we’ve made some progress. … This is a continuing process at this point.
Q. What did you like about the two guys you claimed off waivers?
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A. In Demetrious Cox, we have a young safety who can play basically free and strong (safety). We thought he had a very good preseason. We had some good grades on him in college and I think he’ll help our depth chart.
(Quarterback) Brad (Kaaya) is a guy who our scouts liked him, our coaches like him. He’s a guy who’s got really good intangibles.
A quick release, a very professional approach to the position. He had a good preseason and shows promise just like Garrett Gilbert does. With those two guys we have two good young quarterbacks.
Q. Why is important for you to add a developmental quarterback option?
A. I think you’re always trying to keep one or two quarterbacks in the pipeline. Ron Wolf, one of the best general managers and evaluators in a long time – his approach was in the draft you always try to pick one because of the value at that position.
It does take time at that position. To have two young guys that you feel you can work on and develop I feel is important.
Q. How about the decision to move on from Joe Webb as your third quarterback?
A. Yeah, that’s hard. Joe meant so much to the locker room, the versatility he brought, not only at quarterback but on special teams. That was a very hard decision. But I think that third spot, we felt like with Garrett and now with Brad we have a chance to develop a young guy and move forward as far as that development process.
Q. Why do you have two kickers on your roster in Graham Gano and Harrison Butker?
A. It’s a fluid process. We’re fortunate enough to have two kickers that we really like, that I think are very good kickers. We’ll just see how that develops.
Q. If they are still both on your roster Sunday at San Francisco, who kicks?
A. I would say if we go into Sunday with both, you would think Graham Gano would be the kicker at this point.
Q. How long can you afford to keep two kickers?
A. That’s a hard question to answer. You see how it goes. Right now we feel like we have been able to do it. It could be a long time or a short time.
Q. Why did you pick punter Michael Palardy over veteran Andy Lee?
A. Another hard one, because we had two good ones. Mike’s hang time and his consistency was something he showed last year. Andy was consistent as well. It was a hard decision, but the final decision was to keep Mike.
Q. With Demetrious Cox as your fourth safety, is that enough?
A. Usually you try to go five corners and four safeties. Colin Jones obviously is the third/fourth. He’s a guy who’s been there. He can play the big nickel. He’s played safety. He’s a core special teamer, so we feel very good about him.
(We have) our two starters, obviously (in Kurt Coleman and Mike Adams). And then Demetrious, a young guy who has some upside.
Q. What is your level of confidence in Cam Newton and his return from injury?
A. We have been on a plan since training camp. I think we feel very confident. We do feel very confident. ... Every week, he takes more and more work. He’s looked good. He’s felt good. We have a lot of confidence in him.
Q. Where do you think this roster is particularly strong?
A. In the preseason the offensive line has played well – not only in the front but the depth that we have. That really jumps out. At linebacker, we’re very good and very deep. That’s what jumps out about this roster is there is depth pretty much everywhere.
Q. What about the new corner you traded for from Buffalo over the weekend – Kevon Seymour?
A. He’s experienced, he started three games for them last year. He’s a pretty good-sized corner (6-0, 185) with really good speed. Really good man cover guy. And he can play both nickel and outside, so we think he can help us.