Panthers’ GM Hurney the last one to still believe in Clausen?

Carolina Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen steps away from Pittsburgh Steelers Lawerence Timmons but Steelers Ziggy Hood delivers the sack and a lost of seven yards in the fourth quarter of the 27-3 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on December 23, 2010. UPI/Archie Carpenter

SI.com’s Don Banks is reporting that Panthers’ GM Marty Hurney is the only member of the team’s front office or coaching staff who still has faith in Jimmy Clausen as a potential starter.

Banks writes, “Everyone else in Carolina, and many coaches and personnel men around the league for that matter, thinks the Panthers have to draft a franchise quarterback this year.”

Ouch.

For those who watched Clausen play last year, this is hardly surprising news. But even though I’m not a believer myself, for God’s sake he only started 10 games last year and it’s not like he had much around him. He was absolutely horrible, I know. But is it just me or do other young players usually get the benefit of the doubt at this stage in their career?

That said, I do think the Panthers will draft a quarterback at No. 1. Ron Rivera will want to build around a signal caller that he had a hand selecting, although if Carolina does take a QB at No. 1 then Hurney will basically be admitting that taking Clausen in the second round last year was a mistake. He also foolishly traded this year’s second round pick so that he could reach for Armanti Edwards last April, so Hurney’s head is firmly placed on the chopping block.

The good news for Clausen is that unless the team releases him this offseason (which is doubtful), he’ll have a chance to prove everyone wrong this summer. Even if the Panthers take a quarterback at No. 1, Clausen will be given the opportunity to beat him out in camp because coaches are always hesitant on handing the job over to a rookie. Clausen will just have to man up and take the position if he wants it.

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