Panthers Paw Prints: Jimmy Clausen finally out of the national limelight.

Good Tuesday afternoon, Carolina Panthers fans. Sorry for the late posting today. It was a late night last night (still loading software on new computer + preparing for a move). Most of the news on the Carolina Panthers today surrounds Jimmy Clausen. Sounds like he's trying to adapt to the NFL as quickly as possible and keep his head down and mouth shut. I hope his on-the-field play continues to improve as a result. It sounds like he's been very accurate in practice so far. The biggest hurdle will be the high level of talent already on the team. There's no such thing as too much talent at the QB position. Here are your links for Tuesday June 15, 2010:

Here's an article about Clausen slowing down his trajectory a little and getting used to the NFL:

Carolina Panthers rookie QB Jimmy Clausen taking it down a notch. (CharlotteObserver.com)
He does benefit from the similarities in style to his offense at Notre Dame. No matter how complicated the Charlie Weis system was, any NFL team probably has as many red zone plays as college teams have total. The fact that Panthers offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson is a former Weis assistant helps, but Clausen is still in the early stages of picking things up here. "It's like learning Spanish, a whole different language," Clausen said of the adjustment. "Being in the system with coach Weis, coach Davidson coaching with him in New England, it's the same terms and everything. It definitely helps me a lot." Of course, he's finding out in the pass-heavy practices of the past month that corners and safeties close faster on routes, and the pass rush might not allow him as much time. Privately, coaches sound encouraged by his progress, though he's still at the stage where he'll take safer options rather than risk downfield mistakes.

The biggest challenge is utilizing the playbook, reading coverage, and playing all at NFL speeds:

Improving Clausen catching up with the tempo of the NFL game. (CarolinaGrowl.com)
Most notably, he said, getting used to the tempo of the game. That includes the tempo of his drop-back, the speed of the pass rush and the speed of the receivers. Everything, he said, is faster than most folks realize. "It’s a step up from college and I just have to get used to that," Clausen said. But Clausen, who is confident by nature, believes he’ll be just fine. So do his teammates. "He's still young and still has a lot to go, but he looks good back there in the pocket," said Panthers veteran cornerback Chris Gamble. "He gets the ball out there quickly. He looks you off, little things like that. I haven't seen him throw an interception. He's been throwing the ball well and getting it to the receiver."

Video Interview:

Video Gallery: Jimmy Clausen Interview. (CarolinaPanthers.com)
Rookie QB on right track.

More after the jump.

Article about QB coach Sherer and the young QBs:

Mick's Bag: The learning curve. (Panthers.com)
Scherer came to the Panthers with a reputation of being an astute teacher of quarterbacking fundamentals with a particular interest in the mechanics of the position. "It is a non-stop process," said Scherrer. "I have a great group of guys. They are young but they are talented, smart and they work hard. Once we get into June, I concern myself more with a player's lower body action. Footwork is extremely important. And we do look at delivery, too. Jimmy for example, we are working with him on shortening his delivery, making him more compact."

This is good news. If he can produce 1100 yards as a "back-up" without practice, let's see what he can do with some rehearsal:

Inside the Panthers: Monday OTA update: Stewart sighting. (CharlotteObserver.com)
RB Jonathan Stewart was running some conditioning sprints after practice. Now, he's still not participating in individual drills, but he's at least doing something, and that's progress. He hasn't missed a game as a pro, and was last year's leading rusher, but he's developed a history of not doing much this time of year. We'll see what it means come training camp, but this was the closest Stewart's come to taking part in June since he's been here, so you take it for what it's worth.

What does that average to in dollars/hour?

Once asked veteran agent h ... (Darin Gantt via Twitter)
Once asked veteran agent how long rookie deals (mid-round and up) took to negotiate. "Did one in 15 seconds," he said, almost sheepishly.

I knew he had a couple, but I had no idea it was this many. Wow:

Offensive Drop Rate. (FootballOutsiders.com)
Who had the worst hands in the league? Well, looking at the list of players with the highest drop rates (minimum: 30 targets), there are a lot of names you might expect.

Player Targets Drops Drop Rate

DeAngelo Williams 41 5 12.2%

Always some good general NFC South info:

NFC South mailbag. (ESPN.com)
Wayne in Columbia, Md. writes: How are the Panthers young DE's looking so far? I know none of them really have the raw talent that Julius Peppers had/has, but they are what we've got and I am curious if you think they'll be effective this year.

Pat Yasinskas: It’s tough to compare anyone to Julius Peppers, just in terms of athletic ability. But the Panthers have been preparing for life without Peppers for a few years and that time is upon them now. Everette Brown and Charles Johnson are both pretty good athletes. John Fox is a good defensive coach. I’m not saying Brown and Johnson will do what Peppers did (in his good years), but I think they can be a decent combination.

After letting it marinade for a few days, here's a Moose article:

And then there was one… Muhsin Muhammad retires. (RealBitsofPanthers.com)
When a receiver can still play at the highest level at the age of 37 it’s a testament to his work ethic, and Muhammad was always willing to outwork his competition; younger receivers came and went but no-one was able to fill Muhammad’s void or unseat him at #2 WR. We sit in 2010 knowing his legacy and wondering where he goes from here. My emotional response is to shout his name from the top of BoA and advocate that his number be the first retired since Sam Mills. The all time leader in receiving for the Panthers put up solid enough numbers to earn that distinction and I truly believe it’s time to hang up #87 for good.

He's been talking about writing this article for a couple weeks. The result - a tie. Click through to see if you agree with the result:

Your take: Best coach in NFC South history. (ESPN.com)
The case for John Fox. Donnie in Kenner, La. writes: Best coach in NFC South history: Saints season ticket holder for life, Saints' life that is. But, what coach Fox has done with the talent he has had over the years at Carolina is very impressive. Payton may in time prove me wrong but if I had a game to win with equal talent on both sides of the ball my money would be on coach Fox.

I didn't know Fox was a military man himself:

Carolina's Fox going to Persian Gulf. (ESPN.com)
Carolina Panthers coach John Fox, who has some military experience in his history, is shipping off to the Persian Gulf. Fox, Minnesota’s Brad Childress, Cincinnati’s Marvin Lewis and Philadelphia’s Andy Reid will join the NFL-USO Coaches Tour this summer, the league announced Sunday.

Fantasy football link of the day:

NFC South related. I know this was a debated topic in yesterday's Paw Prints. What do you guys forecast for the Burner in 2010?

Comeback Candidates (FFToolbox.com)
RB Michael Turner, ATL (RB - #8) Michael "the Burner" Turner burned many fantasy owners that used a first round pick on him in 2009 as he was slowed by a high ankle sprain that cost him most of the 2nd half of last season. Early word in OTA's is that Turner appears to be about 90% and looks to be in great condition, making him an ideal pick in the 2nd half of the first round in 2010 fantasy drafts. He is a touchdown machine (has scored 27 TDs in 27 games with Atlanta) and with QB Matt Ryan under center and WR Roddy White and TE Tony Gonzalez stretching the field, the pieces are in place for the Falcons to improve on an offense that averaged 23 pts/game in 2009. I agree with Michael Turner at #5 (slightly ahead of Frank Gore) as he will be a workhorse again as long as he proves to be healthy (missed 5 games due to ankle injury). The Falcons gave backup Jason Snelling a ton of red zone touches in 2009, which will fall on Turner's shoulders if he can stay on the field. Turner averaged 5 yards per carry from Weeks 1 through 10 and was one of the more consistent fantasy producers as he had a touchdown and/or 100 rush yards in all but one game. He benefits from playing behind a solid O-line (allowed only 27 sacks last season) and is surrounded by a very capable passing offense, which will keep defensive coordinators guessing. The Falcons want to keep Turner healthy and plan to limit their franchise back to less than 300 carries in 2010. Stats similar to his 2008 breakout campaign (377 carries, 1,700 yards and 17 touchdowns) are unlikely, but a 1,400 yard season with 12-15 touchdowns is very attainable as long as he stays healthy.

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