National Football Post's Matt Bowen came out with an article this morning entitled "Clausen could be the next victim of the NFL draft" where he compares Jimmy's possible plight to his own struggles as a DB when the St. Louis Rams drafted Adam Archuleta in 2001. In the end he acknowledges that what the coaching staff have to go on isn't pretty:
"the tape that Rivera and his staff are watching from the 2010 season is all they have in terms of grading his play. He played like a rookie, made poor decisions with the football and needs more time to mature at the position."
It's that last statement, "needs more time to mature" that will ultimately characterize Clausen's career. Can he age like a fine cheese, or become like a corked bottle of wine and leave a bad taste in our mouth? If I'm Ron Rivera and I'm seeing a QB I really like in the 2011 draft it's very difficult if my GM is asking me to take a leap of faith on his leap of faith. Should the Panthers pass on the QB position so Hurney can give Clausen one more chance and he is ultimately just a game manager, then it would likely cost both Marty Hurney and Ron Rivera their jobs. The chances of a head coach surviving a GM chance long term is less likely than a QB enduring a coaching change.
More after the jump...
Looking solely at box scores one could very easily make the argument that Clausen deserves one more chance. However, it's all the superfluous areas that helps fill this storyline and the one area I think Bowen may have missed when he characterized Clausen as a 'victim'.
Maturation is a process that needs to occur not only on the field, but off it- and it's the latter part of this statement that it appears Clausen lost during the 2010 season. Put aside the comments from Darin Gantt regarding Clausen ignoring the coaching staff because he felt he knew better and look to the veterans of this team. We now have three of the biggest stars on the Carolina Panthers all speaking in part about the need to either upgrade the position, draft a new QB or denigrating Clausen to the media; this said by DeAngelo Williams, Jon Beason and Steve Smith respectively.
I don't know how many of you have watched "Any Given Sunday", but if you haven't and you're a football fan then you need to watch it, that's your CSR homework this week. Sure, it's a little exaggerated and overly dramatic- but in a lot of ways Jimmy Clausen mirrors Jamie Foxx's character Willie Beaman. The difference, however, is that Beaman was producing on the field. Losing a locker room is a near impossible thing to win back. Look what happened with Vince Young in Tennessee. For all the comments to the public ultimately Vince Young lost his job because he lost the locker room, and was never able to win it back. Sure, Young produced at times on the field- but there are numerous reports that his teammates didn't feel they could trust him anymore.
None of us know for certain what will happen on the evening of April 28th, let alone what will happen to Jimmy Clausen as a result, but I want to hear from our fanbase. Is Jimmy a victim or circumstance, of is he reaping what he sowed.