Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Panthers Need a QB....Badly.

When I heard that the Carolina Panthers had selected Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen in the second round of the draft last April, I couldn't help but be excited.  I had never really liked Clausen but I felt he could be a decent player in the league.  He had been projected as highly as the top five picks and the Panthers chose him at the 48th spot, so he appeared to be a steal any way you slice it.  At any rate, Matt Moore would be the starter so as long as he played up to par and stayed healthy, Clausen would be able to watch and learn.

Well, Moore neither played up to par nor stayed healthy.  After being benched in Week 3, he did come back and play very well in a win against the 49ers, only to get hurt and knocked out for the rest of the season.  So, back to Clausen it was.  Now, Jimmy did have some moments - he looked particularly calm and collected under pressure in a potential game-winning drive against the Saints at the Superdome, a drive that included some tough throws and ended with a fumble by DeAngelo Williams.  And he played fairly well in a win over the Arizona Cardinals and in a close loss to the Cleveland Browns.  But really, that was about it.

Clausen isn't tiny, but he's not very big, either.  He doesn't appear to have a very strong arm - he underthrew wide-open receivers on deep patterns countless times this season - and often takes too long to make his reads and get rid of the football.  His best asset is his confidence, which has enabled him not to be shaken by ardent booing in the stands or dogged criticism in the press.  On the other hand, I can't help but wonder if Jimmy Clausen really gets it.  During the Panthers bye week, at a time when the team was 0-5 and Clausen was coming off three horrendous starting performances, he made various posts on Twitter relating to a trip to South Bend to see old friends and watch the Irish play.  Call me crazy, but I think the bye weekend could have been better spent staying in Charlotte, watching film, and working to fix what was wrong.  Clausen came back from his weekend getaway to find out that he was no longer the starter; this was the week Moore led the Panthers to a victory over San Francisco before getting hurt.

A veteran like Billy Volek could be a good fit.

The Panthers need to bring in someone to help and to compete with Clausen, and they have said that they will, without giving any hints as to whom that could be.  We have the top pick, but as of now there don't appear to be any passers worthy of being chosen number one.  If the Panthers keep the pick, they would be wise to choose Auburn DT Nick Fairley.  The team would be better served by trading down a bit if they want to take another young quarterback. 

Regardless, the team needs to bring in a veteran, and I nominate San Diego's Billy Volek, a free agent this year.  Of course, a new CBA will have to be in place for the Panthers to sign anyone, but Volek would seem to be a good fit here.  He was most recently Philip Rivers' backup in San Diego, has been in the league a long time, and always played well when forced to start.  More importantly, he knows Ron Rivera and Rob Chudzinski from the Chargers days, so there would immediately be some familiarity with the coaching staff here.  A guy like Volek could truly do wonders for a young quarterback like Clausen or any young gunner we take in the draft, and he's still good enough to lead the team to some wins on the field in the meantime.

If the Panthers want to give a young player a fresh start, they can also look at guys like Brady Quinn, Trent Edwards, Tarvaris Jackson, and Alex Smith.  Matt Hasselbeck is another veteran that will be available, but he's likely to be overpaid by someone else.  Hopefully the labor process will gain some traction and the Panthers can make some moves to help what is by far the team's most glaring weakness.


  1. All your quarterback options are terrible. It's that kind of mentality that the Panthers have been following for years. What we need is a franchise type quarterback. A quarterback that we could build an offense around. I've had enough of these second rate QB's that we've been starting. We need to make a sacrifice and get a good QB in here. Without that we're going to be a mediocre team at usual.

  2. Well if you read the post you would see that those options were short-term, for whenever Clausen or whomever we take in the draft is ready to play.