Ok so I was going to wait until the guys reported to Spartanburg before I posted another thing on here but there is two problems with that. First is that they report to training camp this Wednesday which by a twist of fate is my 21st birthday and I fear I might be ..hmm...unable to accurately type out all my thoughts on that particular day. The second is that i've been reading alot of stuff on the internet in different Carolina blogs and I really couldn't stand it anymore. There is a common theme among all the articles I've seen or videos I've watched. Everyone from senior writers in Charlotte to people on the NFL Network seem to think that Matt not only won't make it through the whole season , but he shouldn't be the starter at all now that we have a fresh young quarterback in the wings.
Sit and take that in for a second. People are saying that we should relinquish the driver seat from a guy that led the panthers to a 4-1 record , admist an injury typhoon that was sweeping the team and a season that quite frankly made me sick to my stomach every Sunday ; to a guy that's never taken an NFL snap. Never been looking a defense in the eyes that can move so fast they look like a blur on high definition televisions. It's kinda mind boggling to think about. Matt has earned the right to start. He had us all believing there was a light at the end of the turnover party tunnel that was Jake's entire 2009 season.
Shame on you haters. I watched alot of video the past couple of months. Highlights from Matt at Oregon state , from his brief start in 2007 and his 5 starts this year, along with some comical interviews and stuff like that and I learned a couple things in doing so. First is that he is way laid back. Its kinda cool how calm cool and collected he was in all the interviews, considering he's an NFL quarterback. He was an undrafted rookie free agent that was picked up by Dallas in 2007 then claimed off of waivers on a whim by Carolina the same year. He's been Jake's backup since he came into the league and he's grateful for every opportunity he gets and makes the best of it, which I admire about him.
The second thing I learned is that the guy can play football. Not only play but he's finally ready to play at the NFL caliber as a starter. Sitting behind Jake for two seasons you could see that he did his homework from 07' to 09'. He has a huge arm , poise in the pocket and makes great reads. We all closed our eyes everytime Jake put the ball in the air..because unfortunately the recipient wasn't always on our team. But Matt came in and like magic Smitty is catching bombs, Moose is making grabs and Jeff King is getting in the endzone. Hell Dwayne Jarrett caught a touchdown pass!!! What is going on here?! Are these people blind? It was like Delhomme was drunk at the wheel and Matt took his keys and drove us all home!
Against Tampa Bay in week 13 he completed 14-20 passes for 161 yards and one interception, Which turned out to be the only interception he would throw in all 5 games. Perhaps this was just jitters being that it was his first start. His QB rating at this point is 73.1. Then In New England he Completed 15-30 passes for 197 yards and 1 touchdown. They lost, but its also understandable since he went from sitting on the bench to starting against Tom Brady and the Patriots in just two weeks. Whether the are still a dynasty or not any QB in the league will get nervous going up against Brady. At this point his passer rating is 82.2
Then the Sunday Night Football game that everyone showed up to play for. He went 21 of 33 passes for 299 and 3 touchdowns. In front of the whole country! Against a playoff bound Minnesota team led by the gunslinger himself Brett Favre! He looked poised and in control the whole game making great reads and passing to a wide range of targets including Smitty , Moose, Brad Hoover, Dante Rosario , Gary Barnidge and Dwayne "the pain" Jarrett. His passer rating is now 123.2.
Then the going away party New York won't soon forget. 15-20 passes for 171 yards and 3 touchdowns. Passer rating is 139.8. The Giants apparently had a rough night the night before, but they should have been desperately hungry for a win and Matt disected their Defense like a frog in anatomy. Once again spreading the ball all over the field and at this point in the season it almost seemed like he was on cruise control.
Im not gonna go over the Saints game because it was the scrubs playing but it was a nice way to cap a stressful season. What I'm saying though is that his passer rating in 5 starts, compares with 5 starts by excellent QB's like Phillip Rivers and Carson Palmer. He played fantastic and just got better as his comfort level rose. Imagine if we would have pulled Jake sooner. And Still we have people out there Calling for Moore to be benched and a completely unproven rookie to take his place. All these people caught up in the Clausen hysteria need to get a grip. There is a reason he dropped all the way to the middle of the second round. I see a hold out coming because Charlie Weis pounded into his head that he'll go in the first round and he still wants to be paid like a first rounder. Are you kidding me? And I must say that I dont like people assuming he's second on the depth chart either. Hunter Cantwell is a beast with an arm like a pirate's cannon. It just bugs me cause I feel like Matt isnt getting the respect he deserves. He earned this starting job and I think with his skill set and experience he can have a good run in Carolina and give this team a better chance at playoff runs in the future.