Ah, so that’s why Jimmy Clausen fell into the second round

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 19: Jimmy Clausen  of the Carolina Panthers warms up before their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium on September 19, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Back in April, some pundits felt as though Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen had first round talent. But good luck trying to find anyone who will admit that now.

Rookie quarterbacks struggle in the NFL – it’s just the way it is. But so far, Clausen has played in all five of the Panthers’ games and has completed just 34 of his 69 pass attempts for 393 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Worse than his numbers is the fact that he’s shown zero ability to move Carolina’s offense whatsoever.

The Bears (Carolina’s opponent on Sunday) have a solid defense and they’re liable to make any quarterback look bad. And hey, if I started against Chicago today, I’d probably crap down my pants, too. But with the way Clausen played in his team’s 23-6 loss on Sunday, it makes you wonder what John Fox and Co. saw in him to make him a second round pick in April.

Clausen completed just 9-of-22 passes for 61 yards and an interception before finally being benched in the fourth quarter. He showed zero accuracy, displayed no rhythm and was rarely on the same page with his receivers. I get that he’s only a rookie, but he hasn’t shown anything that would indicate that he actually belongs in a starting role.

You hate to pin a loss on one player, but because Clausen was so ineffective, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart had nowhere to run and even though the defense picked off Todd Collins (who may have played even worse than Clausen if that’s possible) four times, the Panthers still only managed six points. It’s almost like Clausen’s putrid play had a domino affect on the rest of the team and it doesn’t say a lot about Matt Moore’s game that the Panthers would rather go with the rookie than with him.

Of course, it’s not like Clausen has much to work with in the receiving game. Steve Smith was out with an injury, although one would have thought that Clausen would apperciate that seeing as how Smith has torn him a new one at least once a day since the rookie arrived to Carolina. The Panthers’ wideouts are young and inexperienced, although again, Clausen has shown almost zero intangibles to this point. Most of the time you can say, “That rookie QB makes a lot of mistakes, but you can see the zip on his passes,” or “He just needs a little time to mature, but you can see that he’s accurate and has control of the huddle.”

We’ve got crickets on Clausen.

Today was a new low for the Panthers and it may be a while before they pick up their first win.

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