On Wednesday, NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora cited an unnamed team official in Carolina regarding the notion that rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen drew “rave reviews” at a rookie minicamp, and that he could push Matt Moore for the starting job in 2010.
The unnamed team official probably has a reason for pushing that sentiment. For example, maybe the team official is a “Clausen guy,” or maybe the team official wants to ensure that Moore realizes he needs to keep pushing to improve.
Either way, we’re hearing that the weekend minicamp wasn’t as successful for Clausen as advertised — and that Moore isn’t yet in danger of losing his job.
“The guys on the team believe in [Moore], Steve Smith believes in him . . . and the majority of guys respect him because he’s a scrapper, and [coach John] Fox loves him,” a source with knowledge of the situation said regarding Moore. (Of course, if that’s fully accurate, why pick Clausen?)
We’re told that Clausen already has pissed off multiple receivers and at least one tight end by “barking” at them during minicamp practice, and that receiver Steve Smith “basically thinks Jimmy is a punk.” Though Clausen is regarded as “smart” and unlikely to make mental mistakes, the initial thinking is that he uses excessive confidence (to the point that it’s being perceived by some as arrogance) to compensate for lack of arm strength, size, and overall athleticism.
The other side of the coin — which was pushed heavily prior to the draft in the face of relentless criticism from ESPN’s Todd McShay — is that Clausen was elected a team captain at Notre Dame, that there was no tangible evidence of leadership problems with the Irish (except for the time he blamed a receiver for ignoring a route adjustment), and that he’s a self-described “loving” and “caring” person (which always means that it’s true).
Clausen possibly will develop into a great NFL quarterback. But his first weekend was rougher than advertised, and based on what we’re hearing he’s got a long way to go become the starter.
It’s not impossible that he’ll be the starter at some point in 2010, but it won’t be a cakewalk, either.