The Jimmy Clausen era set to begin Carolina

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 12: Jimmy Clausen  of the Carolina Panthers looks to make a pass against the New York Giants on September 12, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Panthers 31-18. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Telephone conversations with my satellite company last longer than Matt Moore’s tenure as starting quarterback with the Panthers. After another brutal performance on Sunday in a loss to the Bucs, John Fox has decided to bench Moore and insert rookie Jimmy Clausen into the starting lineup.

Clausen replaced Moore during the fourth quarter yesterday and he went on to complete 7-of-13 passes for 59 yards and one interception. Outside of a nice first down throw to receiver Steve Smith, the rookie struggled in the passing game, which tells you something if Fox is willing to go with him over Moore against the Bengals this week. Clearly the coaching staff doesn’t believe that Moore gives the Panthers the best chance to win.

With a rookie starting, Carolina will lean even heavier on running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart to win games. The duo combined to rush for 97 yards on 25 carries against Tampa, although without the threat of the pass the Bucs loaded up the box to take away the run. The Panthers can expect more opponents to do the same thing unless Clausen can make immediate strides in the passing game.

The knock on Clausen coming out of Notre Dame was that he lacked leadership skills and that’s why he dropped out of the first round of April’s draft. It’ll be interesting to see how things play out now that he’s a starter and whether or not Fox will stick with him if he struggles early on.

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