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Panthers columnist: Jimmy Clausen will “almost certainly” open season as starter

Cam Newton, Jimmy Clausen AP

We’ve covered Cam Newton’s first offseason extensively at PFT and the kid seems to be preparing hard.

The presumption, at least from us, was that he was preparing for a starting job.  (Won in a competition in camp.) Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer, who knows the team’s dynamics better than us, sees things differently.

“The Carolina Panthers almost certainly will entrust Clausen with their offense when they go to the road to play Arizona on opening weekend,” Sorensen wrote over the weekend.

Sorensen makes the case that Clausen can and still will be a quality starter in the NFL. Putting that question aside, we’re more interested in his prediction about the opener.

Is this something Sorensen has heard from the coaching staff or front office?  Is it a way to motivate Newton or possibly a way to let Clausen know he has a shot?

In the long run, it probably doesn’t matter if Newton makes his first start against the Cardinals in Week One or sometime around Week Five. He’s going to start.

In the meantime, it appears Clausen at least has a chance to start a few more games before the Newton era begins.

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45 Responses to “Panthers columnist: Jimmy Clausen will “almost certainly” open season as starter”
  1. krow101 says: Jul 12, 2011 10:53 AM

    For 15 minutes. Hope he enjoys it.

  2. dgforreal says: Jul 12, 2011 11:00 AM

    Looks like Clausen is trying to trip Newton in the photo. That’s how he’ll be the starter.

  3. drgfri says: Jul 12, 2011 11:06 AM

    Poor guy. That line isn’t exactly strong….

  4. firejimcadwell says: Jul 12, 2011 11:06 AM

    In the end Matt Moore would still be the better options, if he’s even on the roster.

    Good luck with that Carolina.

  5. jroneputt says: Jul 12, 2011 11:19 AM

    If the CBA passes and there is a rookie cap like they are talking about, newton will not be in uniform on opening day imo.
    He and his dad will hold out and try to sue for more money.

  6. realitypolice says: Jul 12, 2011 11:20 AM

    If Newton is your starter, make him the starter week one.

    If you are completely convinced that the future of your franchise lies with him, then don’t take the risk of putting Clausen in and then having him play well enough that you look stupid pulling him. However small that risk may be.

    Newton is bound to struggle at least a little coming out of the gate. Virtually all QB’s do, including Peyton Manning.

    Let him start getting his legs under him week one, because if he comes in week 4 or 5, and plays worse initially than Clausen, you’ve created a situation you could have avoided.

    By the way- If you showed that picture to 100 people that don’t follow football, how many would guess that those two guys play the same position?

  7. tmac48 says: Jul 12, 2011 11:22 AM

    I hope he gets his shot. At least make the decision to insert Newton at starter a tough one Jimmy…for the sake of entertainment.

  8. t16rich says: Jul 12, 2011 11:24 AM

    Draft a qb with the first overall pick and start the other qb to ensure you get another first overall pick. Smart move.

  9. hobartbaker says: Jul 12, 2011 11:26 AM

    You can’t make a judgement on Clausen based on his last season. Pretty much all the top QBs in the league either sat or sucked in their rookie season. Clausen’s numbers weren’t much different from Josh Freeman’s first year totals, and Jimmy probably had less support.

  10. schmitty2 says: Jul 12, 2011 11:26 AM

    More like opening the first quarter of the first game

  11. panther17 says: Jul 12, 2011 11:45 AM

    Actually the line is strong, when healthy. Injuries destroyed the unit before the season even started.

    Also sometimes the QB’s inability to read a defensive coverage, the blitz, where the pressure is at, and scared to actually release the ball unless the WR is completely open has an effect on how good the line looks. Of course he was only a rookie playing with a young team.

  12. wicky888 says: Jul 12, 2011 11:45 AM

    Does it really matter who they start? What were they, 2-14 last year? Cant do much worse. Anything will be an improvement.

  13. dafranchize says: Jul 12, 2011 11:51 AM

    Hobartbaker – you’re clueless

    Sam Bradford didn’t have to sit and he had one of the best seasons ever for a rookie. Matt Ryan didn’t have to sit, niether did Peyton Manning.

    Bradford came in day 1 and was the starter and took every single snap for the Rams last while winning the ORoY by a landslide, while breaking quite a few records on the way and having the best QB rating for a #1 overall pick in the last 30 years. Also 2nd all time for rookie passing yards and only the 3rd player in history to pass for over a 3,000 yards in his rookie season. Set completion and attempts season rookie records as well as single game attempts and completions rookie records which happaned in his very first NFL game week 1. Also had the longest completion streak without throwing an INT for a rookie while going on a 11-1 TD/INT ratio through 5 games. Only rookie QB to ever go on the road and throw for 300 yards, 3 TD’s, 0 INT’s and win. Took a 1-15 team and almost got them into the playoffs and won more games than the franchise did the 3 previous years combined. Oh and by the way, did this with easily 1 of the 3 worst receiving corps in the entire NFL and a young offensive line with zero chemistry.

    So no, not all elite QB’s sit, just ones who aren’t accustomed to the NFL game, the elite QB’s start day 1 and never look back.

    From what I’m reading the excuses are already being prepared.

    Oh and remember, Jamarcus Russell had fantastic OTA’s and the coahes raved about how quickly he was picking up the offense too.

  14. goawayeverybody says: Jul 12, 2011 11:59 AM

    Actually panther17, that O-line is horrible. One of the worst in the NFL.

  15. comeonnowguys says: Jul 12, 2011 12:14 PM

    An overloved QB from an overloved college. Carolina made a way bigger reach for him last year than they did with Newton this year.

  16. flapjackdaddy says: Jul 12, 2011 12:21 PM

    For those who don’t read the Charlotte newspaper (probably most), Tom Sorenson has been a Jimmy guy from day one.

    The fact is: Jimmy Clausen got progressively worse from start to start. I don’t know how you can put him back out there. If Carolina wanted to put him back out there they wouldn’t have drafted Newton 1st overall.

    Sorenson is still working on basic deductive logic.

  17. lgbarn says: Jul 12, 2011 12:24 PM

    hobartbaker says:
    Jul 12, 2011 11:26 AM
    You can’t make a judgement on Clausen based on his last season. Pretty much all the top QBs in the league either sat or sucked in their rookie season. Clausen’s numbers weren’t much different from Josh Freeman’s first year totals, and Jimmy probably had less support.

    ————————————————-

    The Bucs were on their way to 0-16 when Josh was inserted in the lineup. He proceeded to win his first start against Greenbay of all teams. He won 2 more games before the season was over. So the Bucs were just as terrible as Carolina. Josh was to difference.

  18. panther74 says: Jul 12, 2011 12:27 PM

    I love this!!! Any REAL PANTHER fan knows that Fox screwed the pooch on the QB position for a long time…now we hav e potential QB controversy!? If you have to have a problem on your team…this is the one to have! Cam is our future..is what it is…

    BUT with Clausen, if he comes in with a chip on his shoulder that makes him play well …GREAT..Cam gets more time to learn… and we got great trade bait later on ( look at Kolb and Vick)… if he sux, Marty looks like a genius for getting Cam, and clausen plays a “servicable” back up role, and STILL could be traded later!

    My only question is…WHO GETS TO WEAR THE “DEUCE” ON GAMEDAY?

  19. thevikes85 says: Jul 12, 2011 12:28 PM

    i bet my d!ck that this doesn’t happen.

  20. brdnc says: Jul 12, 2011 12:31 PM

    No, goawayeverybody, you’re wrong about the line. Probably silly to get into an argument, and you may not even know who’s on the line, but Gross is one of the best LTs in the league (I think ESPN rated him 3rd or 4th), Tim Ryan says Kalil is the best center in the NFL and he’s certainly up there. Otah was injured but when healthy is a very good RT, Wharton is a strong guard and actually a pretty decent tackle when called upon. One guard spot is up for grabs, but this is the same line that had 2 1100 yd running backs 2 years ago. Otah’s injury hurt them a bit, but the bigger problem is that Fox’s call playing was beyond predictable and the QB play was horrible, in and of itself, and the horribleness was enhanced by the pathetic play calling and design.

  21. panther74 says: Jul 12, 2011 12:38 PM

    @ drgfri and @ goawayeverybody…PANTHER 17 is correct! our line is NOT horrible, but when healthy…its one of the best in the league…D’LO and STEW are household names with a rushing record as a tandem behind that line! Again,….WHEN HEALTHY! Gross, Khalil, Wharton, Otah…Goodson shine a little behind a patchwork line last season…so when the starters come back this season…and now the addition of those PATCHWORK guys that are NOW SEASONED… gives us depth.

  22. djp141 says: Jul 12, 2011 12:45 PM

    Typical Sorenson. Stick your finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing, then go the opposite direction. Nothing to see here.

  23. thephantomstranger says: Jul 12, 2011 1:00 PM

    If they start the season with Clausen, they’re going to be in a real pickle.

  24. BroncoNick says: Jul 12, 2011 1:08 PM

    Who was the last QB taken #1 overall that didn’t start the first game of the season for their team??
    Honestly… I don’t know…. Tim Couch maybe? Alex Smith?
    Either way… if that’s the case then pretty much Carolina made the wrong pick, or things aren’t looking good.
    Clausen over Newton? Good job Carolina. lol

  25. helloiamthebest says: Jul 12, 2011 1:10 PM

    fig newtons?

    sorry do not like them.

  26. We'reFineThere says: Jul 12, 2011 1:39 PM

    AJ Feeley was the Rams starter at this point last year.

  27. We'reFineThere says: Jul 12, 2011 1:44 PM

    BroncoNick… Eli didn’t start his first game… Carson Palmer didn’t start his first season.

  28. tformation says: Jul 12, 2011 1:48 PM

    I think starting Claussen is a good move by the Panthers. With *THIS* offseason, there’s no way Cam will be up to speed by week one. Let Cam hold a clipboard for at least a couple games. Let him show some humility, shut up and be a rookie.

    Plus, if Claussen doesn’t suck, having a QB controversy would be a welcome “problem” for the Panthers to have. Let Claussen see if he can inflate his trade value for the Panthers. Claussen gets a fresh new team, and the Panthers get something in return for a change.

    Win-Win, IF Claussen can win.

    If not, well, what have you lost? A couple games without Cam? He’ll be in Carolina for years. This is a rebuilding year… the Panthers are not going to the playoffs with a new head coach, new QB & at least a truncated offseason. No way. Let Claussen see if he can win a job somewhere else.

  29. cassrangers says: Jul 12, 2011 1:50 PM

    this comment is based on the intelligence of the Carolina Panthers based on recent trends in managerial decisions that have been made: “With the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers select… Andrew Luck QB Stanford” Good Job guys!!

  30. canadianvikingfaniii says: Jul 12, 2011 1:51 PM

    realitypolice says:
    Jul 12, 2011 11:20 AM
    If Newton is your starter, make him the starter week one.

    If you are completely convinced that the future of your franchise lies with him, then don’t take the risk of putting Clausen in and then having him play well enough that you look stupid pulling him. However small that risk may be.
    ————————-
    Yeah, but I believe that if they made Clausen the week one starter against a mediocre/sub-par team and he plays well that they may get more value out of a possible trade. Use him sparingly against bad teams to build up his image for more value, make him look good when he isn’t what he is lead on to be.

  31. MVQB7 says: Jul 12, 2011 1:53 PM

    One Newton + One Moore = One Jimmy on the bench or his way to Washington lol

  32. montsta says: Jul 12, 2011 1:53 PM

    For those of you here that do not watch every single snap (probably 99.9% of you) of every single Panthers game like I do, I can assure you that Jimmy Clausen single-handedly made an offensive line that has two top 5ers (LT Gross & C Kalil), another really solid starting guard in Wharton, and two positions with solid rotational guys (due to RT Otah’s injury), look like a revolving door.

    Jimmy would get the ball, drop back 3 steps, see his #1 option covered and immediately checkdown or tuck it. And he got progressively worse with each game, not better. Not to mention that the fact he can’t see over his o-linemen at all and must of set some sort of NFL record for balls batted down at the line, which also can’t really be put on the O-line.

  33. Spencer says: Jul 12, 2011 2:10 PM

    It says everything that the #1 pick in the draft isn’t ready to play day one. Amazing pick, Carolina.

  34. hobartbaker says: Jul 12, 2011 2:35 PM

    Lol at the guy pimping Sideways Sam Bradford above. He didn’t even have the top passer rating among the rookie QBs last year, Tebow. Bradford wasn’t asked to throw a forward pass all year. Ryan had a good first season, but Manning’s was awful, and that is going back 15 years or something. The only one of the current top 5 in the league who started as a rookie, he threw more picks than TDs, and the team had a losing season. Brady, Brees, Rodgers, Rivers all sat for anywhere from one to three years. I think John Elway had a worse completion percentage and passer rating than Clausen in his rookie season.

  35. rcali says: Jul 12, 2011 3:36 PM

    Cam’s dad will buy out the coaching staff and have his son starting week 1.

  36. sterilizecromartie says: Jul 12, 2011 4:01 PM

    Everyone here is getting carried away. Just because Cam won’t be able to start week one it doesn’t mean he is a bust or that Carolina made a bad pick. This lockout kills all the rookies potential this year, especially the ones that play the QB position. It is nearly impossible for a rookie QB to start week one if they aren’t allowed to even speak with their coaches until late July (target for end of lockout).

    That being said, Cam will start eventually during the season. Clausen sucks. Forget about his completion percentage, or passer rating, or all the stats. Just look at his body language last year. After every three-and-out he would act like “meh, whatever”. I would have loved to see him drop an F-bomb or get in one of his players faces or just show any type of emotion that would lead me to believe that he cared about being a leader or a winner at all.

    Many have brought up Peyton Manning’s rookie year. Yes, the stats were pretty poor. But, you could tell he was a leader. You could tell he hated losing. You could tell he cared. I can’t tell any of those things after watching Clausen last year.

  37. corvusrex96 says: Jul 12, 2011 4:32 PM

    I follow college football and I do not know how it was possible that Carolina drafted Claussen that high. Should have been a 3rd rounder. He has “back up QB” written all over him. Might as well start Newton on day 1 since he will be the starter by the end of the year anyway. It will give him a leg up on the 2012 season.

  38. BroncoNick says: Jul 12, 2011 4:45 PM

    @We’reFineThere
    Thanks for informing me, I guess I just assummed that those guys started. But I guess I know what happens when I assume…
    But this is a different situation, Carolina is starting a year 2 QB who played horrible in the few games he did start last season if they go with Clausen.
    Carson Palmer sat behind Jon Kitna, and Eli Manning sat behind Kurt Warner.
    So I could understand how you would want a rookie learning from a veteran. In this case it seems like a wasted #1 overall pick to me.

  39. BroncoNick says: Jul 12, 2011 4:49 PM

    I’m guessing because of the shortened off season where Cam would be learning the playbook and going through it in camps and stuff they probably don’t want to make him look like an idiot when he tries to go out there in week 1 and make people think they made a bust pick.
    Instead they’ll just make Clausen look bad with the short preparation time…

  40. schmitty2 says: Jul 12, 2011 5:54 PM

    hobartbaker says:
    Jul 12, 2011 2:35 PM
    Lol at the guy pimping Sideways Sam Bradford above. He didn’t even have the top passer rating among the rookie QBs last year, Tebow. Bradford wasn’t asked to throw a forward pass all year.

    Way to compare passer ratings on a qb who played EVERY snap last year while setting many rookie passing records and winning Rookie of the Year to a qb who played 3 whole games!

  41. awelter23 says: Jul 12, 2011 5:56 PM

    Jimmy Clausen = Just another highly touted, terrible quarterback from Notre Dame.

    Good luck Panthers… another year of being horrid.

  42. mdnittlion says: Jul 12, 2011 10:02 PM

    In Future Head Line News:

    Panthers 0-6 fans blame Clausen demand Newton

    In More Future Head Line News:

    For the 2021 Season the Detroit depth takes a hit because third string QB Jimmy Clausen retires, Lions down to Stafford and Brady Quinn

  43. djp141 says: Jul 12, 2011 10:58 PM

    I can’t believe anybody is taking this seriously. Tom Sorenson isn’t a beat writer, he’s a columnist who gets paid to stir things up. Looks like it worked.

  44. chazatlas says: Jul 13, 2011 3:15 AM

    Everyone knows Clausen had serious issues with his game play last year. But I think his biggest problem was his relationship or lack thereof with his teammates. Did he ever once for a moment command the respect of the team? He never seemed to vibe with the other players. It always felt like he was a substitute teacher going through the motions of a lesson plan but never getting the respect or results of the teacher who was out on leave.

    Starting Clausen doesn’t make sense. Just as soon as he fumbles, throws an interception, even the first loss – there will be immediate and constant questions of will Newton replace him week 2.

    No OTA’s, Newton has only spent about a day with a brand new coaching staff. The Panthers have the absolute toughest team schedule this year. They don’t need to just write the season off but this is truly a rebuilding year.

    Neither Clausen nor Newton should start. What’s so wrong with bringing in a 2 year stop gap veteran QB that will start this year and mentor & back up next year? I don’t think Cam should just sit though. Let the vet start but have Cam play several situational downs each game, a la McNabb-Vick in Philly 2009. Cam doesn’t start but doesn’t sit. He gets acclimated to the speed and mental toughness of the game, learns from a vet QB but doesn’t have the burden of starting under truly handicapping circumstances.

  45. joshsmith199065 says: Jul 13, 2011 4:49 PM

    “What’s so wrong with bringing in a 2 year stop gap veteran QB that will start this year and mentor & back up next year?”

    Will the stop gap Qb learn the playbook on time before the season starts? He will be behind knowing the playbook/terminology as well if the lockout continues missing pre-season games etc.

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