- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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You might have already read my thoughts on this topic here and here. So I won’t run through that again. I’ll just summarize and say Fox made the only choice he really could have and let’s all be thankful he announced it today, instead of dragging it out all week.
Now, a few more thoughts on Clausen and the Panthers. Don’t expect Clausen to just come in and make everything better in Carolina. That doesn’t happen with rookie quarterbacks. Besides, the Panthers have lots of other issues that have to be fixed and we’ll touch on a few of those a bit later.
But it’s the right move to go ahead and get Clausen on the field, because the Panthers are in an all-out youth movement and it’s time to find out if he’s the guy they want to build around. Honestly, if you told me to name one person who will be in Carolina’s building next year (and I’m talking coaches, players and front-office workers), I’m thinking Clausen is the safest bet. Go ahead and roll him out there and see what you’ve got.
However, it might be nice to give the kid some help, and that goes to the other issues I mentioned above. Did you happen to notice Carolina had only three receivers active in Sunday’s loss to Tampa Bay? One of them was Steve Smith, who is an elite receiver. The other starter was rookie David Gettis, a sixth-round draft pick. The third receiver was Dwayne Jarrett and "active"’ is a relative term for one of the biggest busts in Carolina draft history.
Jarrett actually played, but the Panthers didn’t even throw a pass his way -– and I’m not disagreeing with that choice. But now that the Panthers are fully into this youth movement, they might as well go ahead and throw rookie Armanti Edwards on the game-day roster. Yeah, I know Edwards is a project because he was a college quarterback at this time a year ago. But let’s face it, this whole team is a project.
Speaking of other issues, how about the running game? It hasn’t been horrid, but it has been far from dominant. Has the absence of injured right tackle Jeff Otah or the departure of veteran fullback Brad Hoover really made that much of a difference?
Oh, and that defensive line that was so stellar in the preseason? It still hasn’t produced a sack. The Panthers have only one sack, and that came from linebacker Dan Connor in the opener.