Rivera pauses on naming QB

August, 21, 2011
8/21/11
3:14
PM ET
Carolina coach Ron Rivera did not name his starting quarterback for the regular season Sunday. You don’t even have to read between the lines to figure this one out.

Rivera is pausing a bit before deciding if he wants to take a huge leap of faith and go with rookie Cam Newton over second-year pro Jimmy Clausen. Although Rivera initially said he’d name a starter before the third preseason game, you can’t blame him for waiting a bit.

Newton and Clausen haven’t stepped forward in the first two preseason contests. There’s nothing wrong with waiting to see how Newton and Clausen fare in this week’s preseason game at Cincinnati.

Newton is expected to get his second straight preseason start against the Bengals. Clausen started the preseason opener.

I still think the Panthers would like to have Newton as their starter when they open Sept. 11 at Arizona. But they’re wise to wait and hope they see something out of the rookie this week. The plan is to play Newton with the starters for about three quarters, which is somewhat telling.

Turning back to Clausen remains a possibility, but that’s only going to happen if Newton really stumbles or Clausen comes in and lights it up.

If it’s still a draw after Cincinnati, the Panthers probably will go ahead and take the leap on Newton. The feeling is he might have rough edges, but he has much more upside than Clausen.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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