Blog Entry

Newton named starter, Clausen could be no. 3

Posted on: September 2, 2011 9:37 am
Edited on: September 2, 2011 9:38 am

Posted by Ryan Wilson

We've spent much of the preseason focused on the the battle for the backup job in Denver. It became clear early on that Kyle Orton would be the starter, despite offseason speculation that 2010 first-round pick Tim Tebow could ascend to the role. Instead,the storyline was Tebow vs. Brady Quinn with the winner getting the earpiece and clipboard on game days.

Meanwhile a more interesting backup quarterback competition was unfolding in Charlotte, where Cam Newton has been the unofficial starter since the moment he was taken with the first-overall pick in April. (The news became official Thursday night when it was printed on team letterhead and announced publicly by coach Ron Rivera.)

The contestants: Jimmy Clausen, the team's second-round pick a year ago who had about as rough a rookie season as could be dreamed up, and Derek Anderson, a 2007 Pro Bowler who fell on hard times in recent years with the Browns and the Cardinals.

In the Panthers' final preseason game against the Steelers, Anderson got the second-team snaps and took advantage of the opportunity. He finished the night 11 of 19 for 192 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown pass to David Clowney. Clausen, on the other hand, had a forgettable effort. Details via Rapid Reporter and Carolina Growl writer Steve Reed:
Clausen had a disastrous night, throwing an interception on his first pass of the game and then fumbling a snap from center leading to a Steelers touchdown in the fourth quarter. He threw another pass that should have been picked off and was also sacked three times, including once on fourth down while the Panthers were in the red zone. He looked particularly slow moving around in the pocket after injuring his thigh last Thursday night against Cincinnati.

It was the first time this preseason that Anderson was the second quarterback into the game and could signal the Panthers are more comfortable with him being Newton's primary backup since he's more familiar with (offensive coordinator) Rob Chudzinski's offense.
Anderson came to Carolina from Arizona, but he has experience in Chudzinski's offense during their time together in Cleveland.

"The thing about that is Derek is a guy that doesn't need a lot of reps in this offense," Rivera said, via Reed. "At the same time, if something were to happen, he's a guy that because he doesn't need a lot of reps in this offense could probably help us. So we are most certainly going to take a look at that and see where that fits with what we want to do offensively."

As for the news that Newton will be under center when the Panthers take the field on September 11 at Arizona, Rivera sounded optimistic.

"We are looking forward to him being our starter," Rivera said. "He's going to grow as our starter and we're going to grow as a football team. The thing that has to happen is that we as a football team have to grow and it's not just about him. It's about the rest of growing with our system... I want to make this clear again: We didn't draft Cam to be our savior, we drafted him to help lead this football team. He will be our starter on opening day."

Pretty sure the fans don't see it this way, but that's what happens when the team struggles to go 2-14 the year before. For his part, Newton said all the right things about winning the job.

"That's a big opportunity and a big responsibility," he said. "To be a starter in this league there is so much that goes into it behind the scenes and I've got to be ready for that."

It turned out to be a dreadful night for former Notre Dame quarterbacks trying to climb NFL depth charts. In Denver, Quinn got the start and went 4 for 12 for 26 yards and an interception. If there's a silver lining it's this: because of the new game-day roster rules, teams no longer have to name an emergency third quarterback.

So should Rivera replace Newton, he could use either Anderson or Clausen at any point during the game. In theory, both players are co-backups. The reality -- at least after Clausen's performance against the Steelers -- is that he has the No. 3 job sewn up.

But, hey, the regular season hasn't even started. A lot can change in the coming weeks and months.  After all, the Browns drafted Quinn as their franchise quarterback in 2007 and that season Anderson led the team to 10 wins and he made the Pro Bowl. This game is crazy like that.

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Since: Aug 31, 2011
Posted on: September 2, 2011 10:23 am

Newton named starter, Clausen could be no. 3

I think this falls under the catagory of Duh!  It isn't the best place to bring in a young qb with no QB's to mentor him but I do think that is why it is so obvious that they need to have Newton starting and learning as he goes.  Might as well take what you can get this year, build for the future and try to unload Classen.

Since: Nov 24, 2009
Posted on: September 2, 2011 10:20 am

Newton named starter, Clausen could be no. 3

Good point.  Reminds me of Jake Delhomme--he was blind to anyone else on the field and if it meant he would throw into triple coverage to hit Steve Smith while everyone else was jumping up and down waving to get his attention--then so be it.  I wonder if it's a fear of keeping the ball too long?  You can tell the QBs who don't just read the field--but study it--Tom Brady/Peyton Manning will sit in the pocket for quite a while and you can see their heads check and double check the receivers.  Let's hope Newton doens't make a habit of his tunnel vision.

Since: Mar 6, 2010
Posted on: September 2, 2011 10:20 am

Newton named starter, Clausen could be no. 3

Its good for the Panthers to find out sooner rather than later that they made a huge mistake in drafting Scammy Boy. He doesn't look off receivers because he can't. He never had to in college. It was look at one guy, then run. He is as sure to be a bust as any player I have ever seen drafted. Carolina will be the laughing stock of the league for years because they took yet another SEC spread formation QB that can't read defenses.

Since: Nov 10, 2006
Posted on: September 2, 2011 10:15 am

Newton named starter, Clausen could be no. 3

Raiderduck said it perfectly. The kid has a lot of growing/maturing to do. for the Panthers, it sucks someone like Jake Delhomme isn't around to at least mentor the kid, but all he's left with is Derek Anderson.  Seems like Newton will try and make plays with his feet when he can, I'm not wishing anything bad on anyone, but I see him getting injured at some point this year. I still think he has a bright future, just A LOT needs to be learned on his part.

Since: Feb 23, 2011
Posted on: September 2, 2011 10:14 am

Newton named starter, Clausen could be no. 3

Cam's still got a looong way to go on the passing side of things...first pass last night was nearly a pick-six.  But there's just no denying those legs, and his speed and strength will help make up for some things.  It got him outta two sacks last night alone in one drive.

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: September 2, 2011 10:01 am

Newton named starter, Clausen could be no. 3

Derek Anderson will be the starter week 4 but won't be winning 10 games or going to the pro bowl. What a sad team the panthers are. Steve Smith should have got the fug out while he still had a chance.

Since: Jan 20, 2008
Posted on: September 2, 2011 9:50 am

Newton named starter, Clausen could be no. 3

For the Panthers' sake, I hope Newton learns to look off his receivers. During the preseason, I never saw him go through his reads even once. EVERY SINGLE PASSING PLAY, from the moment the ball was snapped, he'd just stare straight at the guy he was going to throw it to. Dude's gonna get eaten alive in the regular season if he doesn't cut that out.

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