The three most heard anwsers to whom will be Carolina's 2011 season starter.

   There is a big debate just around the CBA corner that will leave many Panther Fan’s holding their collective breaths for the answer. It will be the same debate that will garner much of the national attention that will be directed at us.  That is who will be the 2011 season starter for the Panthers. 
  For most their own answer is easy to reason through.  The answers fall largely into three categories all ending with one eventual answer, that is to say Cam Newton will be the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers at some point this season or the next.

The first answer is the one many national pundits have it goes something like this-- “Jimmy Clausen is more than likely to be the starter game one for the Carolina Panthers as he has more experience in the NFL style offence than his newly drafted and more athletic counter part Cam Newton has “---  A second answer that stems from this is that many believe Carolina would want to protect Newton for as long as possible giving him the chance Clausen did not have the year before.  That is to set behind a veteran QB and learn rather than be thrown to the wolves.

The second answer is one some Panther fans hold passionately too, and a few pundits will agree with.  That is Matt Moore is a ready made veteran  familiar with the team that can be signed to step up and hold the line until Cam Newton is ready to take the reins.  Along the same lines if Moore can not be resigned the idea that the Panthers will sign a veteran/mentor quarterback familiar with the new system that would be used a bridge for Cam Newton is very possible.   

The third answer is the one held to most strongly by Panther fans, and fewer national pundit’s than previous two.  Cam Newton was drafted to be the franchise quarterback of today.  The Panthers have in essence three rookie quarterbacks on the roster learning a new system and seeing as Cam Newton is the lone proven winner, most dynamic, and has the highest ceiling of the bunch he will chosen.

I break it down playing the devils advocate and the prosecutor after the jump.

Answer 1.

The Defense.
  The logic behind Clausen being the 2011 starter flows largely from the belief that he has been groomed for life to be a NFL starting quarterback, and having a year NFL experience makes him more prepared over all to hold the reins over Cam Newton.  He showed steady improvement at Notre Dame, in the pro style offence that was ran by Charlie Weis.  The link below reveals as much.

 It could be reasoned as well that last year in the ultra-conservative offence of the  Panthers that Jimmy Clausen preformed the best he could as the rookie he was.  There were times last year in games the Clausen made plays that showed the promise he had as an NFL quarterback.  He had one fewer interceptions in eleven games than Moore had in four, showing that he could take care of the ball.

Given the likely hood that Clausen will be traded eventual this would be an opportunity for the Panthers to try and remove the bitter aftertaste last year left upon him and prove to perspective suitors that he could prosper given the right system. Let Clausen steer the Panthers for six to eight games as this would also serve to protect Cam Newton and give the 1st year rookie more time to learn the speed of play as well as a complex pro style offence.


Jimmy Clausen had 3 years experience in an NFL style offensive scheme and looked like a confused rookie nonetheless in his first year as an NFL starter in a scheme that was supposedly close to the one he had in college.  Was it the chicken or the egg for the offensive futility of the Panthers last year.  In four games Matt Moore  had just over half the passing yardage and nearly double the touchdowns as Clausen did in 11 games of play.   As of right now he has as much experience with Rob Chudzinski’s  scheme as Newton or Pike does and would be less likely to start over a Matt Moore or any other veteran quarterback that the Panthers would sign and start inorder to protect Newton for a time.
  If the panthers must see a rookie struggle this year why not let it be the one that will the face of franchise then one that has become a painful memory.


Answer 2.

The Defense.

  Matt Moore knows the Carolina Panthers organization and has been nothing but a  professional in his years in North Carolina.  He went 6-2 when called to start for the Panthers before an injury shorted, and controversial 2010 where he went 1-3.  He has proven in the past to have the arm and the ability to the lead the team and garner wins while moveing the chains.   He is also liked by most Panther Fans.
  As for signing a NFL veteran outside of Carolina, that is preferably familiar with Chudzinski’s system, many hold this to be a likely of action. Assuming Newton does not hold out and signs quickly Carolina will had two second year rookies to contend with the 2011’s number one over all draft pick for the starting job.  Having a veteran will, it is hoped, create stability for the team as a whole, and cut a path for Cam Newton to take over the team without being immediately overwhelmed by the NFL experience.

The Prosecution.

  Matt Moore is an attractive young veteran in a thin quarterback market.  He has waited to take over the helm of Carolina Panthers and has in two consecutive drafts found himself contending with the rookie fever a young quarterback brings.  It is clear to see that it is not likely he will be the face of a Panthers franchise that has twice attempted to find their quarterback elsewhere.  It as likely that he will leave the drama of Carolina for the drama closer to his west coast roots.
  In a lockout shorten year in which teams will have little time to prepare for the quickly coming season makeing veterans as a whole hot commodities.  Their former teams will seek to resign them as insurance for the coming season as they are “known” factors familiar with systems in place for the most part.  Those that do end up upon the open market will discover themselves with little company and many suitors raiseing the prices of their services.    
James Dator explained in his post Carolina is not a very attractive destination to the few quarterback upon the open market.

Answer 3.

The Defense. 
  It has been reported that Cam Newton knows about 90% of the mythically complex Chudzinski playbook.  He has done nothing since being drafted but prepare himself at IMG Madden Football Academy down in Florida to be step up and fulfill the role as an NFL Quarterback.  Ignoring the  2,833 yards and 22 Tds through the air and his rushing for 655 yards and with 16 tds rushing Cam achieved when leading Blinn College to a National Championship, he had in one Heisman award winning year at Auburn ( a 14-0 National Championship team, 50 tds (20 rushing),  going 185 of 280 for 2854 passing yards and 1473 yards rushing on 264 attempts) a better playing resume than Jimmy Clausen had in his 3 years of play at Notre Dame.
  If the two 2nd year rookie and only currently signed Carolina quarterbacks  were coming out of college this year with Cam Netwon, the latter would be as likely to earn the nod as starter Jimmy Clausen, and more likely than Tony Pike.  The 2010 season Clausen had may as well be forgotten for his sake in this argument.  Comparing the three there is little doubt that Newton is the more dynamic, exciting, and successful of them.  They are each starting this year on nearly equal footing in learning Chudzinskis system, but stop and take a look at the three…. One is not like the other two, as one is considered the future franchise quarterback and two others are considered likely career backups.
  The view of many is to follow the Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez, and Sam Bradford models in letting Newton learn the game from behind a solid running game right away.  Let him test wings in this new offence instead of watching another quarterback that will not likely be here next year do it.
  Newton is saleing tickets right now and the fans want to see him perform his magic now not later. This is year were most will deem it successful if we go 6-10.  Some Panther fans see 9-7 as possible but most see it as the year to let him struggle, learn and develop as well as learn to slid.

***I got Newton’s Blinn College stats from this link

The Prosecution.

  A year of bad experience is still a year of experience for Jimmy Clausen.  Granted he is not likely to be the face of the franchise, and will more than likely be traded sooner than latter to be replaced by a veteran, but he has had the David Carr treatment already and would serve willing as the meat shield during the installation of this new offence.  He has seen the speed of the NFL players for an entire year, and had shown he can take care of the ball at the very least.  Let him putt another year or so under his belt to see if his stock rises.
  If not Clausen then a veteran to protect the investment that is Cam Newton. He may not be as costly as a Sam Bradford or Matt Stafford, but he could get injured as easily as they have in the past.  Give Newton the time to adjust the NFL speed in more than a player organized workout, a shortened training camp and a few preseason games.  Let Clausen or Matt Moore (some see the latter as more deserving) prove they are more than career backups all the while letting Newton grow in the position.
Though Newton’s effort hand heart can not be question many do question his ability to immediately put to practice the complexities of a pro offence so soon after running the spread in college.  It is also believed that if pushed to soon He may be exposed to severe disappointment that could hinder the rest of his career.



My own thoughts as i tried to present the argumeants above as one holding to them would.

The fan in me wants to see what Newton can do right away if given the reins and the backing. Perhaps it is illogical but if the Panthers are to struggle this year it might as well be with the up and coming face of the franchise.  I see the success and struggles of  Freeman in Tampa and think that Newton could very well follow the same path, despite begin a different player.  Either way at some point in his career Newton will have to struggle like every other rookie qb.  Not everyone gets the chance to grow behind a future franchise qb as Aaron Rodgers or Steven Young (after the trade.) had.  Most get thrown to the wolves, some sooner the others, I just think Newton could out run most of them. 
  A more reasoned part of me sees that having a veteran in place for stability is very wise, but perhaps at best a wish.   I see Matt Moore being signed elsewhere as more than likely. Other Vets will be hard to entice to come over to Carolina to be  a wet nurse to two rookie quarterbacks. I hesitate on this option to a degree because  I large part of me agrees with Pat Yasinskas in that needing a mentor is overrated. 
   Jimmy Clausen is very young and ready to prove himself as much perhaps as Newton.  Having two Quarterbacks in a long struggle for starting position is never healthily for the rookie Brady Quinn, Matt Leinhart, Travars Jackson, and here we have two rookies with skill enough some think to be long time starters.
  I see Jimmy Clausen as a talented 2nd year rookie that may flourish under this new system but will prefer to grow in place where there is more room for his success. I do not see him wanting to stay as career backup to Cam Newton or haveing to always prove himself agianst him.  And lets face it, just as Matt Moore was replaced in after two games last year so that the rookie could be seen, so would Jimmy Clausen sooner than latter. Fair or not last year became Clausen time to struggle and prove himself. 
  What happened… Cam Newton dazzled college sports and  Clausen was left hoping he can prove he belongs in the NFL elsewhere.   He may develop out like Steven Young and Brett Farve did after being traded away, and I would hope for his sake he would at the least succeed but it is difficult to see him staying in Carolina for much longer with so many rooting for Newton, and not only the fans are doing so. I believe Jimmy will be traded away to a team, for a veteran perhap, and given the chance to start or hold the clipboard and develop slowly elsewhere. I feel that this year will be a clean slate year and Clausen will be a causality of it
.  Cam Newton will be given the room to grow, and patience to struggle through his mistakes    I dare say that even the coaches want to see want Newton can do.  If he struggles in pratice and the preseason games then perhaps Clausen would stick around longer. If Newton shines even a little and excites his way into our imagination, more so than he already has, in the preseason do not be shocked to see him as the starter verses Arizona, and perhaps Clausen across the field.

***  PS: I feel that it could argued with reasonable success that any of the three answers could be the correct path for the Panthers to follow.  Certain things are irksome to me: Challenging Newton’s intelligence to run a pro style offence for one is more than annoying, and hearing some of reasons (from the national media) behind this belief borders upon bigotry, rather than just spread offence criticisms I fell.  Saying that Clausen is a hack is another thing that is irksome, but it is more because of my belief last year was an impossible situation for him than anything else.  

Also I find it funny that even after Cam Newton months ago laughed off the entire #2 debate, saying in essence that it does not matter to him and any number will be good enough that espn and other sports sites still will not let go of it.  Perhaps the need for a controversy that will distract from the boredom of the CBA showing weekly that the owners and players Can’t Be Adults is the cause of this reaching.

 I would enjoy to hear what you think no matter what it is. 
 (If fruit or vegetable are to be thrown I prefer red delicious apples, collard greens, and cabbages over diced hot peppers, tomatoes, and pears.)

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