So much for Jimmy Clausen being “NFL ready”

NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 03: Jimmy Clausen  of the Carolina Panthers throws the ball against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on October 3, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Saints defeated the Panthers 16-14.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Rookie quarterbacks struggle in the NFL – it’s part of the game. But it says something when a rookie is benched for another signal caller who compiled a 41.8 passer rating in his first two starts of the season and who has generally looked awful himself.

The Panthers announced Monday that they’ll start Matt Moore over rookie Jimmy Clausen this Sunday against the 49ers. It’s a move that indicates that John Fox and his coaching staff don’t believe that Clausen is ready to lead a bad team with very little around him (the Panthers are awfully thin at receiver).

The unfortunate part here is that Clausen was regarded as the most “NFL-ready” quarterback prospect in April because he played under Charlie Weis at Notre Dame. Now, this doesn’t mean that he’s destined to fail in the NFL and keep in mind that the Panthers became the first NFL team since 1999 to start a rookie quarterback and two rookie receivers when Clausen, Brandon LaFell and David Gettis all started in Week 5 against the Bears.

But it is concerning how unprepared Clausen was in his first taste of NFL action. He failed to move the offense, he never got into rhythm and he displayed little to no accuracy. It’s not fair to compare all rookie quarterbacks because no two situations are similar, but Sam Bradford appears to be light years ahead of Clausen and he didn’t play in a pro style offense at Oklahoma. (He’s also working with a limited receiver corps in St. Louis.) Granted, he was also the top pick in the draft, but Clausen hasn’t shown anything yet to make you believe he can be a starting quarterback.

That said, it’s still early and it’s not like he has the best coaching staff around him in Carolina. This wouldn’t be the first time that Fox mismanaged his quarterback situation and it stands to reason that Clausen just needs a couple of more starts under his belt to figure things out. But seeing as how he won’t get them unless Moore is a disaster again (which could happen), he’ll have to hone his craft in practice.

The Jimmy Clausen era isn’t over with in Carolina, but it isn’t off to a great start either.

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