I definitely liked GM Marty Hurney’s comments about making QB a priority in the offseason. While this is definitely a “no duh” issue, I wondered often last offseason if Panthers Management could see the obvious? Cutting Jake Delhomme and letting Julius Peppers go to free agency seemed like good moves to me. Cutting Moose Muhammed and DT Damione Lewis seemed odd to me.
Meanwhile, trading S Chris Harris and cutting FB Brad Hoover seemed downright dumb (I don’t mean in retrospect, I mean at the time). I realize that there are financial issues at play here, but the team could’ve very much used the leadership and play of Harris and Hoover. And if Moose could’ve caught even 30 passes over the middle and helped in the locker room, we would not have been the worst team in the league. Chris Harris is on many All-Pro lists for the Bears this year, and I think many of us were not surprised.
So… I want to go on the record as saying: Jimmy Clausen should be the #3 QB and Tony Pike should be the #4 QB. Clausen had a similar college rough-start with Notre Dame, and he may turn out to be a solid NFL QB. But we can’t risk our season with Clausen at #2.
We need, in my opinion, a young, solid #1 QB with potential and a veteran #2. I’ve provided links to each quarterback’s career stats. Here is my take on the options.
** Note: With Andrew Luck staying in school, it makes no sense for The Panthers to take a QB with the first pick.
-- Alex Smith. Currently a free agent from the SF 49ers. Mobile, intelligent, prototypical size. Smith has had almost as many offensive coordinators as he has had seasons in the league. He runs over an 80 QB rating the past two seasons. He’ll be 27 years old next season. The knock on Smith is that he plays well against bad teams but plays poorly against good teams. Well, that’s more than we can say for our current crop of QBs. This kid has potential.
-- Matt Leinhart. Currently a free agent from the Texans. What happened to this guy? He was considered the next great NFL QB, coming out of pro-style USC, but scouts question his accuracy with the long ball and his commitment to the game. His stats are much better than our current crop, and if Rivera could light a fire under him, he could turn out to be a 2nd level QB. The Houston coaches are high on him.
-- Vince Young. Soon to be a free agent from Tennessee. What happened to this guy too? He has Michael Vick skills with Michael Vick circa 2007 maturity. I don’t personally like this option, but he might be a find.
-- Kevin Kolb. Likely to be Franchised by the Philadelphia Eagles, with expectations of a trade for a #1 and #2 draft pick. He would be a great pick, but the price is too high.
-- Billy Volek. A free agent from San Diego. Coach Rivera knows him, and I presume, likes him. Volek to me seems like a guy who can cover five games in a season and win three of them. He’s accurate but injury-prone. He’s a good locker room guy. I am all for signing Billy Volek as our #2.
-- Bruce Gradkowski. A free agent from Oakland. I like this guy a lot. He reminds me of Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who looked like a Pro-Bowler at times this season. Gradkowski is well liked and supported by his teammates. He wins games. Mobile, a risk-taker, and a leader, he’s one of the top backups in the league. He also reminds me of Steve Beuerlein. Yes, I said Beurlein. No, I don’t use that name lightly. It suddenly occurs to me that I will ask my girlfriend for a Steve Beuerlein Panthers jersey for Christmas.
-- Matt Moore. A free agent from Carolina. I like Matt Moore. If Matty is given time to throw, he can win games. That said, if I’m the GM for any of the other 31 NFL teams, then I’m looking to sign Matt Moore as a #2QB for my team. Nice fits for him include the Colts, Patriots, Chiefs, Chargers, Giants, and 49ers. But the Panthers need to move on.
We should push hard to sign Alex Smith. He’s - by far - the best available potential #1. We can win 6-8 games next season with Alex Smith, and then we can re-evaluate. I like both Billy Volek and Bruce Gradkowski. Either one would be great additions to the team and locker room, and if we can’t sign Alex Smith, then we should sign both Volek and Gradkowski.
I always learn a lot by posting threads or comments on CATSCRATCHFEVER. It’s awesome to be among so many other smart and dedicated Panthers fans! I look forward to learning from your comments.