The news just keeps getting worse for the Carolina Panthers. Coach John Fox said Monday that quarterback Matt Moore and middle linebacker Dan Connor will miss the rest of the season after both were injured in Sunday’s loss to New Orleans. The Panthers have decided not to activate linebacker Thomas Davis off the physically unable to perform list and he also will be added to the injured reserve list.
With Moore out, Fox isn’t saying if he’ll start Jimmy Clausen or Tony Pike on Sunday in Tampa Bay. Neither rookie is a particularly attractive option. Clausen hasn’t been a Fox favorite and Pike got his first NFL action with some mop-up duty against New Orleans.
Fox said the Panthers likely will sign a quarterback. But I wouldn’t expect it to be a situation like 2007, when the Panthers brought Vinny Testaverde out of retirement. Fox’s hands are tied on this one because ownership and management have committed to a youth movement. The Panthers are likely to sign a relatively young quarterback.
Although it’s highly unlikely Fox will be coaching this team next year, he’s probably going to get some pressure from above to play Clausen the rest of the way. The Panthers need to find out what they have in Clausen because they might have to draft a quarterback early next year.
The Connor injury is a blow to a linebacker corps that has been a bright spot. Jon Beason will have to move back to the middle after playing the first half of the season on the weak side. The Panthers will try Nic Harris and Jordan Senn on the weak side.
The decision to shut down Davis is a wise one. Davis wanted to come back from his second major knee injury in less than a year. Although he’s not under contract for next season, he’s a talented player and still could be in Carolina’s plans. There’s no sense in risking the rest of his career in this dismal season.