Three-Headed Monster

The Panthers have put their rookies on display early and often. Following Matt Moore's season-ending injury, that philosophy will be taken a step further, as John Fox is left with Jimmy Clausen, Tony Pike and Armanti Edwards as his quarterback candidates. Clausen will start, but what does he need to work on to stay first string?

Jimmy Clausen has been nagged by technical issues all season. Every Panther fan knows two things about Clausen: 1) he has trouble handling snaps; and 2) his low trajectory causes too many passes to be batted down at the line. These mental errors must be fixed for Clausen to start to mold into the franchise QB the Panthers need.

Also, these are never isolated incidents. It seems that if Clausen makes such a mental error early in the game, there's good chance he's going to make it again. While his coolness and composure were two of his better qualities coming into the draft and the 2010 season, they have not been on display as of late.

He rolls out of the pocket and panics instead of stepping up into the pocket to make a good throw. Clausen has the talent and confidence to develop as an NFL quarterback, but he must overcome these mental errors that are stalling what could turn into a successful tenure in Carolina.


Armanti Edwards
Chuck Burton/AP
Clausen also needs to make it happen in the red zone. He is only 3-of-8 for 17 yards inside the opponent's 20-yard line. This could be a testament to the Panthers' dedication to running the ball so close to the goal line, but Clausen has still underachieved in this aspect.

Clausen is only 5-of-15 for 68 yards in the last two minutes of a half this season (and 44 of those yards were on one pass to Brandon LaFell). As with the red zone woes, Clausen has seemingly folded under pressure.

To be a better offensive leader, Clausen must make plays when it counts the most.

If Clausen cannot lift his game, Fox will turn to Tony Pike. Last week, Pike completed six passes in 12 attempts for 47 yards. It took him only two series to compile as many passing yards as Clausen did all game.

Although the Saints defense was not as aggressive at the end of the game, Pike still looked decent enough to cause a debate on who would start. While he did lose out, expect Pike to be ready to go in if Clausen has another bad game.

Armanti Edwards is a wild card when it comes to the quarterback position. So far, the staff has used him only in the Mountaineer Package and Edwards has not spent any time under center. Anything further is just speculation at this point, considering Edwards' lack of meaningful playing time, but at this point it looks like the coaches are open to letting him throw to see if he can continue his winning ways from college.

Cat Quicks

Look for Jordan Pugh to get more reps on kickoff returns with the usual return man, Mike Goodson, getting more action at running back. Pugh has 133 total yards on five returns this year.


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