Rivera: Clausen Could Be a Starter One Day

Jun 1, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA Carolina Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen (2) throws a pass during organized training activites at the team's practice facility at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

Tom Sorenson caught up with the Jimmy after OTAs recently and he put forth what I would call typical Jimmy Clausen quotes. For all bumps and bruises from his rookie season, the demotion to 3rd string and even a bad haircut Clausen has remained almost defiant in his approach to football:

"My job right now is to work as hard as I can and make myself better and just make the team overall better," Clausen says as we walk from the practice field to Bank of America Stadium. "That’s how you win championships. Each guy on the team has a role and each guy on the team does that role to 110 percent of his ability. Coach Rivera stresses every day that we need each and every guy to do his role to make this team work."

Hey I have to give the kid props for keeping his head up and not sulking like so many QB in the past have when faced with a similar demotion. In fact he seems almost unaffected by the turn of events, making it hard to get a read on what is really going on in his head. He certainly hasn't acted the 'prima donna' role many of us expected coming out of Notre Dame after being such a highly regarded recruit.

But the bigger question is can this kid be a NFL quality starter at QB? Panthers HC Ron Rivera thinks so:

I asked Rivera if Clausen would ever get an opportunity to start. "I think so," Rivera says. "I do. The kid’s got a good arm, he’s an accurate passer, he’s learned a lot, and I think if he continues to grow this season he’s going to get his opportunity."

Maybe Rivera secretly disagrees but that has not been his MO to date so I have to believe he wouldn't say that if he didn't believe it. Now Rivera didn't say he would start for the Panthers but if he has a good preseason I wouldn't be surprised to see a team throw a decent draft pick at the Panthers for Clausen this fall or even next offseason.

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