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Will the former Notre Dame product be in Carolina at season's end?
Jimmy Clausen isn't part of your Panthers conversation for all of the wrong reasons.
In just a year, the Notre Dame graduate went from being considered the quarterback of the future by one regime in 2010 to being a game day inactive for most of the 2011 season.
A rookie season that concluded with a 58.4 passer rating extended into a disappointing 2011 in which he lost the back-up job to Derek Anderson. And if you've seen Derek Anderson for any length of time, this is not good for your NFL career.
Clausen isn't going to be the starting quarterback in Carolina again unless something very unfortunate takes place. That doesn't mean that he can't reclaim some respect around the league and open some doors in the way of opportunity for his own future in the meantime.
It starts with Clausen's 2012 training camp. Last year, I saw a player who continually opted for the safe throw while locked in a battle with Cam Newton for the starting job. Clausen fell victim to the check-down route and compiled a conservative stat line, while Newton made a few more throws vertically to the organization's approval despite taking more risks.
Clausen needs to take off the shackles and do his best in practice and preseason action to show the organization that he can execute the vertical throws in Rob Chudzinski's offense. If Clausen can do a moderate job at this, there's a decent chance that the strong-armed Anderson could play his way out of the back-up job.
My belief is that the majority of Carolina fans would like to see a refreshed Clausen recuperate from his feeble state and give them some kind of a return on the second-round pick the team invested in him. Clausen must play like he has nothing to lose in every opportunity, or his future may be just that: lost.