With the 2010 season behind us and the most eventful off-season we've had in a while, there still are a lot of questions heading into the 2011 season. With the recent news of Ryan Kalil being given the franchise tag, this leaves the status of both DeAngelo Williams and Charles Johnson up in the air. Though I'm confident that the Panthers will be able to negotiate all three to new long-term deals, one question still remains and is most important...
Who is going to be the starting Quarterback for the Carolina Panthers???
Last season was probably the worst season as far as Quarterback play since our 2007 season with Jake Delhomme being injured in his third game and having David Carr, Vinny Testaverde, and Matt Moore serving as back-ups. Matt Moore was not nearly as effective as he was at the end of the 2009 season, and although many had high hopes for the highly touted Jimmy Clausen, he fell flat in his first season at the pro level. And beyond Moore and Clausen, the rest of the QBs in the stable offered very little in terms of a savior to our dismal season. Tony Pike had potential, but was nowhere near ready to be thrust into the starting line-up. And then after Clausen was benched because of a concussion, Brian St. Pierre was brought in, and although he had a very impressive long bomb to Lafell he offered very little after that. And to really grasp how horrid the Quarterback play was for this team, with Matt Moore and Tony Pike both ending up on IR, we still went out and signed Keith Null! And yet, at the current moment there are still questions on whether Jimmy Clausen is truly our 'Franchise' QB, or if Pike will just be an above average backup. And with all of those questions come even more: Should we draft Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Mallett etc. Well, one option that has been discussed to great lengths here is Carolina possibly trading for a Quarterback rather than drafting one. And to this statement I wholeheartedly agree, but the Quarterback that I advocate trading for is not one has been discussed(at least to my knowledge) compared to trading for Kevin Kolb, Matt Flynn, or even Brian Hoyer. The QB that I could see the Panthers trading for is Tim Tebow.
And before I am met with torches and pitchforks, I plead with all of you to hear me out first. Tim Tebow is in an odd situation in Denver. When Eric Studesville took over as interm coach when Josh McDaniels was fired, he let Tebow finish out the last three games of the season and to surprised many doubters that said he couldn't be a starting NFL Quarterback. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Tebow is the second coming of Joe Montana, but in seeing what he did at the end of the season: 5 Touch Downs, 3 Interceptions, throwing for 654 yards and ending with a QB rating of 82.1. It's hard not to argue that he played leaps and bounds better than anyone expected him to. And I know that he's been doubted for playing in a spread offense or having an unorthodox throwing motion, but he showed in those three games that he can make NFL type throws, stand tall in the pocket, progress through his reads and then run if he has to. But I know that progress came from Tebow working his butt off in the off-season and wanting to be a great Quarterback. Also, Tebow's intangibles are incredible. He has an aura that he gives off an undeniable sense of confidence and he makes his teammates play hard for him. He's a natural leader and has an undying passion for the game of Football. In many ways his leadership and passion are reminiscent of how Delhomme carried himself in and out of the huddle. Trading for Tebow would give us not only a very hungry, determined player that could come in and really push Clausen and Pike to better themselves, but could potentially give us that true 'Franchise' Quarterback that has eluded us for the entirety of this young franchise.
Either way, through free agency or come draft day, I believe Rivera and the Panthers truly are going to look at every single option out there to finally bring a franchise QB to Carolina. Who that ultimately ends up being is yet to be seen, but I have the utmost confidence that they'll find their guy and we'll finally have that Quarterback that can lead us to many prosperous winning season and maybe finally bring back a Lombardi(or two) to Carolina.
What do you guys think about potentially trading for Tebow?