"James I strongly urge you to consider my suggestion for MMO No one died. The End." - adamwanderer (as Matt Moore throws an INT intended for Armanti Edwards)
It was a good suggestion Adam, and I couldn't help but wonder what the reaction would be if I made it my sole post for this Monday, but ultimately I decided to revert to what I wrote this column for originally, to highlight the few positives we could take out of yesterday's loss that put as at 0-5 in the 2010 season.
It's times like this I wish I were a beat writer, not a fan. I'll clue you in on a little secret: None of the beat writers care about the team they cover, and even more aren't even fans of the sport they cover. They do this so they can maintain journalistic integrity and not be swayed by any emotions. That would be the easy thing for me to do: Remain numb, separate myself from the team and write like an omniscient figure watching the team run around like ants on the earth, sadly I don't have that ability to separate myself from the team because my fandom is ever present. Right now I see a whole lot of misdirected anger, and I couldn't be more glad that the bye week is upon us not just for the Panthers, but for the fanbase to chill out on this ever present, Twilight-esque "Team Moore vs. Team Clausen" crap. Are things bad? Absolutely... but yelling at each other isn't going to magically make us 5-0, and at the same time we're all just wasting our breathe on who should play because none of us call the shots, and I highly doubt anyone of influence is reading what we write.
So, without further ado I suggest we crack a cold one (yeah, I know it's Monday morning but after that crap we deserve it) and see what happened on Sunday.
ALERT.... ALERT.... QB CONVERSATION ABOUT TO COMMENCE
Jimmy Clausen- Extremely Pessimistic
Matt Moore- Extremely Pessimistic
There.... 'nuff said, right? Not quite. Indeed there is no doubt Jimmy Clausen had his worst start in the NFL yesterday, but at least part of that has to be attributed to a laughable receiving corps on Sunday. They'll get their turn, but I think a performance as specially terrible as Brandon LaFell's deserves to be mentioned twice: 4 drops, 1 offensive pass interference, 1 out of bounds catch that should have been in bounds and a false start while Clausen was adjusting the offense at the line of scrimmage... pathetic game.
Jimmy doesn't escape blame either. I didn't need a FloTV to see him miss receivers in the final drive before he was benched, or bobble snaps (again). That being said, I still preach a measure of patience with Clausen. Joking I said out loud "There's only one person who can enter this game and look worse than Jimmy" and sure enough Matt Moore enters the game and does exactly that.
I really don't want to hear about how Moore came in at a bad time. Because it's hypocritical of those who said Clausen's success week two was based solely on running the hurry up in garbage time, well... we hurried up and the time was just as garbage and Moore finished with a QB rating of 18.8, hilariously 10 points less than Jimmy Clausen. Okay, so Moore's 1st INT was not on him, it was on Edwards, but to me that just cancels out Clausen's first one caused by a comically bad cut block by Geoff Schwartz that put Julius Peppers is Clausen's face, and I might even give a break for Moore's second INT due to it being a Hail Mary.
In the end: "If all the ifs and buts were candy and nuts, what a wonderful Christmas it would be"
So, that being said: What's the over-under on us getting our first win by Christmas? I kid, I kid.... wait, do I?
What do we do from here?
A) Stick with Clausen?
B) Change it again, which I believe is worse than A.
I feel this way simply because there is only one good way to screw up a rebuilding year, and that's to lame duck as many positions as you can and make sure there is no learning experience to had from this abomination. I believe it's important for better or for worse to keep letting Jimmy Clausen, who is the future of the position like it or not to take him lumps and continue to learn under center. Does he look as "NFL ready" as advertised? Probably not... but lets not forget that it wasn't really the plan for him to start this year. It was #3's ineptitude that forced the coaching staff's hand into making a change.
At this point it would take a Charlie Brown Christmas Miracle (yeah, I'm on that kick) to believe Matt Moore will be a Carolina Panther next year, as its far more likely a new coach will want to have a reliable veteran as a backup rather than Moore. So what do you gain in starting him? All you do is delay the inevitable, and personally I'd rather us go 2-14 with Clausen getting as much experience as possible than going 4-12 with Matt Moore, and that's still assuming Moore is better than Clausen which hasn't been proven in 2010. So unless the offensive line look like they could physically endanger the future of the rookie QB I think you stick with him regardless. If nothing else it gives him some humility heading into next season, and serves for some valuable team building.
This is a terrible situation caused by mismanagement and bad assumptions, and if I had my druthers John Fox would be fired today and we'd name a interim to at least change things up. Why? Because Fox has mentally checked out. Sure he's yelling at the refs like he cares, but it's the little things like taking players words for it on challenges, or uninspired playcalling (which at this point you need to think is partly on Fox) that shows he's playing for 2011 and a new season. At what point is it no longer the players faults? Bench Moore for Clausen, bench Clausen for Moore... how about we bench John Fox?
Okay, well enough ranting... but really the rankings are going to be pretty short this week. Normally I like my readers to consider that anyone who isn't mentioned is just neutral... but this week I'd like you to think of everyone who's not mentioned as some shade of pessimistic.
Nick Hayden- Extremely Optimistic: Where has this guy been? 5 tackles, half a sack and a pass defended in limited time Hayden was constantly busy up front and he played great.
Dan Connor- Extremely Optimistic: The only linebacker who didn't play like hot garbage. A solid 11 tackle game from Connor.
Greg Hardy- Extremely Optimistic: He needs to be starting, it's as simple as that. He's the best pass rusher we have at this point.
Everette Brown- Somewhat Optimistic: Didn't get enough penetration, but quietly had a very solid game in relief.
Jordan Pugh- Somewhat Optimistic: The kid did very well his first game out. A few rookie mistakes, but they were erased by the interception.
David Gettis- Somewhat Optimistic: Expected a bigger day, but he did well when he had chances.
Brandon LaFell- Extremely Pessimistic: Terrible, terrible, terrible. You can't drop easy passes, you can't erase good deep balls with pointless pass interference (especially when you have 6 inches of height on the CB, yes... he was covered by 5'8" Tim Jennings). LaFell is getting overshot by David Gettis by a country mile... no excuse, none. Is he a rookie? Absolutely. But I'm pretty sure they have to catch passes and know where the sideline is in college.
Jimmy Clausen- Extremely Pessimistic: See Above
Matt Moore- Extremely Pessimistic: See Above
What a joke of a game, especially after showing life the week before. It's a good way to tease the fans before kicking them in the nuts.
100% Optimistic there's bye week and I get a reprieve from this crap. 10% optimistic there will be the significant changes needed at a coaching level.
Guys and gals... on another note can we please just get off each other's cases a bit. We're all passionate fans but the conversations on Clausen v. Moore are absolutely out of control. The off week will do us well, and I hope you prove my predicition wrong.
0% optimistic we can stop attacking each other when talking about the QBs.