5 Reasons Why the Panthers Should Stick With Jimmy Clausen

Updated: December 29, 2010

Ah, the curious case of Jimmy Clausen.  Once heralded as “the most pro ready quarterback in the draft”, he is now a pariah to many fans of the Carolina Panthers.  Many fans would like to use the #1 overall selection (if Carolina gets it) on Quarterback Andrew Luck out of Stanford.  That would be nice and all, but should the Panthers give up on their quarterback so fast?

Let’s take a look at five reasons why I believe that the Panthers should at least let Clausen compete for the job in 2011.

#1- Jimmy Clausen is only 23 years old.

That is extremely young in ANY field, especially football.  You cannot cast off a quarterback after just one season of playing in his early twenties.  I’ve said it many times before but history shows us that Quarterbacks usually don’t come into their own until around the age of around 31.  Kurt Warner, Jeff Garcia, Warren Moon, Brett Favre, John Elway, Tom Brady (set NFL records in 2007 at the age of…. 31!), and Michael Vick (just turned 30) are just a few examples of my theory that experience makes quarterbacks.

#2- Jimmy Clausen Played Without a Healthy Offensive Line in 2010

Just think Panthers fans, would things have been just a little different if Trevelle Wharton and former 1st round draft pick Jeff Otah were healthy this year? With Otah out, Jordan Gross was forced to play left tackle and he did not do as well as he has done on the right side in the past.  With a healthy line, things can be much different next year,

#3- …and Without a Healthy De’Angelo Williams

Without perennial all pro De’Angelo Williams, Clausen was forced to play primarily with RB Mike Goodson as his lead back.  Goodson had a few nice games including a 100 yard effort vs. Baltimore, but he is no Williams.  Being able to turn around and hand the ball to a healthy D-Will would have taken a lot of pressue off Jimmy.

#4 ….or a Healthy Steve Smith

Are you beginning to see a pattern now?  Good.  Yes, Steve played this year  but remember that for a long stretch he was unavailable due to a broken arm.  The Panthers even resorted to starting their rookie quarterback with two rookie receivers in the same game; the definition of suicide in the NFL.  The Panthers will probably trade Steve Smith (his house is on the market) and Clausen will have another year to work with his young receivers.  Receiver is a position that takes players three or more years (Roddy White anyone?) to find their grove.  Starting over with another quarterback will only stunt this young offense’s growth.

#5- Andrew Luck May Not Even Come Out

All reports are that Andrew Luck is going to be the first player taken next year but what if, just what if, he decides to stay in college?  In a scenario where the NFL may not have a set labor agreement many redshirt Sophmores may opt to stay in school another season.  Who wants to withdraw from college with aspirations of being a professional football player only to find out there is no football?

Although this situation is unlikely, crazier things have happened.  If Luck stays in the Panthers would be forced to either draft AJ Green or Nick Fairley #1 (…or Cam Newton) and stick with Clausen anyways.  Either way, I believe that Clausen deserves a shot to show what he can do with a healthy team around him.  Now if only the next coach of the Panthers agrees with me*.

*Mr. Richardson and the good people of Charlotte, I am available