The Argument: Matt Moore vs Jimmy Clausen

Because I couldn't find a picture with both QB's.

John Fox, through a short press statement, name Matt Moore the starter this past Monday. Whether we like it or not, this is the direction we are heading. We can debate if this is the right decision until pigs fly, but on game day, we will all be pulling for the Panthers, our Panthers. If they win or lose, it will be as a team. It takes a lot more than the QB for a team to win.

At this point in the season what do we know, here are the facts that are undisputable.

Fact 1: Panthers are 0-5

Fact 2: Matt Moore stats have been terrible this year

Fact 3: Jimmy Clausen stats have been terrible this year

When discussing how we exactly arrived at this point and how we should proceed becomes a bit gray. There was the offseason purge that we have theories as to why it happened, offensive line issues, WR injuries, bad play calling, and bad execution. Trying to pin the sole reason we are at 0-5 on the QB's is a big mistake. On Monday we had an extremely long debate about this going around and around but during the discussion BigDavis provided a good summary of the arguments for and against which QB should be starting. These questions are really the starting point on why each person believes a particular QB should start.

Which QB past performance has been better?

Does past performance include 2009 for Moore, and/or college, for Clausen?

Is latest game performance more important than past performance?

Which of the two stands the best chance of becoming a/our franchise QB?

How much can the 0-5 start be directly attributable to the two QBs in question and how much of the situation was caused by: Management decisions; Play calling; Poor blocking; Poor receiving; Poor coaching in general

So how do you answer these questions? My take after the jump...

Which QB's past performance has been better? Does past performance include 2009 for Moore, and/or college, for Clausen?

Matt Moore at Oregon State

YEAR

CMP

ATT

YDS

CMP%

YPA

LNG

TD

INT

SACK

RAT

2005

211

355

2711

59.4

7.64

63

11

19

27

123.11

2006

229

378

3022

60.6

8.00

80

18

7

33

139.75

Jimmy Clausen at Notre Dame

YEAR

CMP

ATT

YDS

CMP%

YPA

LNG

TD

INT

SACK

RAT

2007

138

245

1254

56.3

5.12

44

7

6

35

103.85

2008

268

440

3172

60.9

7.21

69

25

17

21

132.49

2009

289

425

3722

68.0

8.76

88

28

4

24

161.43

 

Year

Player

G

Att

Comp

Pct

Att/G

Yds

Avg

Yds/G

TD

TD%

Int

Int%

Lng

20+

40+

Sck

SckY

Rate

2009

Matt Moore

7

138

85

61.6

19.7

1,053

7.6

150.4

8

5.8

2

1.4

66

14

6

9

78

98.5

2008

Matt Moore

0

--

--

--

0.0

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

0.0

2007

Matt Moore

9

111

63

56.8

12.3

730

6.6

81.1

3

2.7

5

4.5

57

7

4

6

40

67.0

TOTAL

19

308

173

56.2

16.2

2,125

6.9

111.8

13

4.2

13

4.2

66

26

10

23

177

74.1

I think everyone can agree that college performance has less meaning than NFL performance. There have been plenty of college QB that have failed in the NFL. However, at some point every team is looking for new quarterback and has to decide if they want to go with an unproven rookie or unproven veteran over the long haul. The typical line of thought is for any rookie to be brought along slowly but in reality it's extremely hard for any team to actually pull off. There is usually a reason a team drafts a rookie QB, because the current one hasn't fulfilled expectations or, if they have a proven vet, they are on the downside of their careers. The grass is always looks greener on the other side of the fence when it comes to NFL quarterbacks and most fans don't have the patience to find out, everyone thinks the other guy can do a better job. Take Armanti Edwards, I have no idea if he would be a quality NFL quarterback, nobody, not even the diehard Edwards fans know this. Sure many speculate he would, but the fact remains we don't know, yet many are calling for him to be our QB despite the fact he was drafted to play WR. Heck even the Observers poll had Pike in the lead on who should start. Bottom line you have to give a player time and giving a quarterback only start a few games is not enough to accurately judge a QB.

With that said you can't ignore a players history, it has to be considered. Based purely off history at this point Moore should be starting, he had the stats last year and the wins, but this isn't the end of the argument.

Is latest game performance more important than past performance?

Passing

Rushing

Sacks

G

Rating

Comp

Att

Pct

Yds

Y/G

Y/A

TD

INT

Rush

Yds

Y/G

Avg

TD

Sack

YdsL

2010 - Matt Moore

3

33.3

25

59

42.4

342

114

5.8

2

6

3

17

5.7

5.7

0

8

59

2010 - Jimmy Clausen

5

52.2

43

91

47.3

454

90.8

5

1

3

11

21

4.2

1.9

0

9

55

 

The argument isn't over because Moore had two horrible games raising the question, does current performance trump past performance? The Giants game was a mess with Moore throwing into triple coverage multiple times and being picked off in the red zone. When it comes down to pure QB rating Clausen clearly has the edge for this season (33.3 vs 52.2). However, I do think we were more successful in moving the ball under Moore than under Clausen overall. Take our first down stats as example; you're not going to win if you can't move the ball.

Game

Panthers 1st down

Panthers 3rd down Eff

Opp 1st downs

Opp 3rd down Eff

Panthers vs Giants

14

47%

21

36%

Panthers vs Bucs

16

37%

14

43%

Panthers vs Bengals

17

18%

21

29%

Panthers vs Saints

10

33%

27

57%

Panthers vs Bears

8

17%

13

20%

Also, consider turnovers, Clausen has less int but also has more fumbles. Sure not all the fumbles were lost, but they did lose yardage again putting us in 2nd and long and 3rd and long situations. I'm sure there are stats that show that Clausen has been more effective well (interception ratio), but combined with past performance Moore appears to have the edge.

Which of the two stands the best chance of becoming a/our franchise QB?

Beside all the stats that can be listed, this is the one area were personal opinion really shines and the most of the debates stems. Moore has been in the league for four years and if he's going to be a QB in this league this is this last chance to prove it. If Clausen's performance wasn't so horrible as well it would be an easy answer but alas he had to put up some really horrible games. Because Clausen is so new to the league, he has a higher ceiling than Moore. However, the league has been littered by quarterbacks that had loads of potential but failed to perform. But if you are going to draft a rookie QB as your first pick in the draft (even if Clausen was a 2nd round), at some point he will have to get his chance to prove he is the franchise QB we are looking for. Based on the thought that Moore has shown everything he's is going to, Clausen easily should be the starter because future potential.

How much can the 0-5 start be directly attributable to the two QBs in question and how much of the situation was caused by: Management decisions; Play calling; Poor blocking; Poor receiving; Poor coaching in general

All of the these items definitely play a role, yet as Vince Lombard would say football is the perfect team game except for one glaring imbalance---the quarterback was too important.

There is no doubt the Panthers have talent on the offense despite the number of players that were release or not resigned during the offense. However, when a defense put 8-9 or sometimes 10 in the box with no regard to the passing game the running game is going to have issues. Stop the run and stop the Panthers is currently the league motto. We often question the play calling but in 2008 the same coaching staff was able win out of similar play calling, so do the results fall to failed execution?

I think the biggest disappointment is the performance of the offensive line which affects both the passing and running game. However, when looking at the running game not having a proven WR that can block has also been a problem. How much does no Moose and no Hoover play into the running game issues.

Then finally do all of these issues just fall on the coaching staff for not being able to coach their players. These is no simple answer to this, yet both QB's have had to deal with the same OL, play calling, and receivers, it really becomes more of a wash between the two. The thing that really muddies the water is when you see Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy come out and play decently, heck better than decent considering their situation. 

 

Finally, the answer to "Who should be starting for the Panthers" comes down to which of the above questions you put more weight behind. Currently, I feel Moore gives a better chance to win now, while Clausen is more likely to be the future of the franchise (as being a rookie he has more upside). Combine this with the questions above and we ultimately get the reasons why each one of us has a different opinion of which QB should be named the starter. I've tried to take a fairly objective look at the situation but I have no doubt some of my bias has filtered in.

 

As far as my personal feelings, I don't mind Moore getting another opportunity. It was his team starting the season and in my personal opinion felt there was better production overall out of the team when he was playing. In addition, I think Clausen could benefit from sitting out a few more games to watch and learn. How do you balance a season that is now about the future with the desire to still make each game competitive? Personally I don't think Fox is making a selfish move, his resume has already been built over the course of his career. Fox is a competitor and wants to win, just like everyone on the team wants to win, and the fans want them to win. Clausen will get his chance, but this is Moore's final opportunity to prove, not just to us, but to the league that he should stay around. While I'm not going hold my breath, I would love to see the Matt Moore from 2009.

 

With all of that said, when it come to game day, it doesn't matter who is starting and I think the best attitude to take is, as our resident optimist James said on Monday, "I'll support whoever is starting." It's about the Panthers not an individual.

Go PANTHERS!!!

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