Friday morning, Carolina Panthers team owner David Tepper officially welcomed and introduced Scott Fitterer as the team's new general manager. Fitterer spent 20 years with the Seattle Seahawks and most recently held the title of VP of Football Operations.
Statement from David Tepper:
"We basically talked to 13 outside people and two inside people - a pretty exhaustive search. When we settled on Scott, there were a few different reasons why. One was just the breadth of experience and how he matched up. He was in the draft room with [John] Schneider and [Pete] Carroll, had exposure to agents, very knowledgeable about the salary cap, involved with analytics. Also, just the way the structure there in Seattle was sort of a class structure which is something we're trying to do in Carolina with information running between departments and all sides inside the building. So what he came from and what he's done there was just such a great match for us."
Opening statement from Scott Fitterer
"I'm really looking forward to building a great organization here in collaboration with Coach Rhule. We're going to make use of a lot of different technology to make smarter, more efficient decisions in the football process without losing our way. We're going to look for every competitive advantage we can find. Whatever it is, we're going to take the information and make the most informed decision that's best for the Carolina Panthers organization. I can't wait to get started. I want to get with Coach Rhule, I want to get with the coaching staff down here in Mobile next week and really get to know them to get to really know what they're looking for in football players."
RE: When he knew the Panthers were the right match
"Immediately on the phone call on Sunday night, I thought it would be a good fit. The virtual interview, it's hard to get a feel for people over Zoom. Just that dynamic is missing with the interaction of people and there were a lot of tough questions. Like I said, it wasn't a whole lot of football it was more about analytics and salary cap and different things. Once I met them in person on Wednesday, in just the first few minutes of meeting them it just took off and it just felt right."
RE: If he would consider getting involved in trade talks with Houston about Deshaun Watson
"I'm not going to get into hypotheticals but what I will tell you is that we will be in on every deal. We're going to find out where things are going, what the landscape is but before we do anything, I need to find out who's here. I need to figure out this roster. I need to figure out who is on our offensive line, who's on our defensive line. I know them from a 30,000-foot view but I need to know them from a coach's standpoint. I need to know from a personnel standpoint and meet these guys and see what they're made up of. So, there's a lot of things that we're going to be involved with going forward. We're going to be very aggressive in our acquisition process but it starts with getting to know our team and just being here for just a few days, I'm just starting that process."
RE: Plan/vision with QB position moving forward
"I do believe in competition in all positions and we're going to look to raise the level at all positions. We're never satisfied with our roster, so we're always going to look and I know we're talking about the quarterback position. That's something I believe in drafting every year or acquiring at some point just philosophically. So overall, I just need to get here first, figure out the players on our roster and that's how we're going to go about it."
RE: His definition of a franchise quarterback
"Someone that can lift the players around them. Somebody that gives you an opportunity to win when the game is on the line in the fourth quarter. Someone that just has the leadership qualities that when they walk in the building, they know that's the person that's in charge - those are the most important things. Then you get into the position specifics, the processing, the decision-making, the intelligence, the arm strength, accuracy but what it really comes down to is the leadership and the ability to compete and win when the game is on the line."
RE: Draft strategy/philosophy
"As far as the draft philosophy, in Seattle, we've historically picked mid-20s-late 20s over the last ten years. When you look at the draft when you build the board, there's a certain level of player that stops at about 16, 17, or 18. So, once we're picking at 25, we know we're not going to get those guys that are going to come in and be impact players. We don't see a big difference between 25 and 40 at that point, so we can move back, acquire picks and still get the same caliber of player that fits our team. This year, it's going to be a little bit different. We're picking at eight this year and so we're in that mix of players. That gives us the opportunity to move up, we can move back, it gives us a lot of flexibility in the draft."
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