The Carolina panthers have developed a trend at the quarterback situation. Dating back to Rodney Peete, the starting quarterback gets replaced during the season and the replacement ends up playing like a Pro Bowler. Then the starter gets the boot.
Peete was replaced by Delhomme and Delhomme lead the team to 7-9 that year, followed by a Super Bowl and two other playoff appearances. The next year Peete was no more.
Many years later Delhomme got injured and was replaced by Matt Moore. Moore went 4-1, was named the starter, and Delhomme took his $12 million and left for Cleveland.
Once again, the pattern continues as Moore has been replaced by Jimmy Clausen. He has yet to start so it is hard to say how he will do, but the Panthers need him to be like the replacements of years past.
Clausen was considered by Mel Kiper Jr. to be the most NFL-ready quarterback and I know that he will be what ignites a flame under the Panthers. Jimmy Clausen was knocked as being too arrogant and “cocky,” but that is what the Panthers need right now.
The Carolina Panthers are 0-2 and have a rough four games ahead of them. Moore was a more conservative quarterback and he crumbled under the pressure. Clausen, on the other hand, is a fiery and athletic quarterback with all the confidence in the world.
He is more mobile than Delhomme, has a quicker release than Moore, but also has the same fire as Delhomme and decision-making Moore showcased last season. What gives him the best chance to succeed with this offense is another trait shared by Delhomme: his fourth-quarter comebacks.
As the starter for Carolina, Delhomme gave a feeling to his team and all the fans that if the team was close in the fourth quarter, the game was theirs to lose. Clausen has the same mentality. At Notre Dame, Clausen had four comeback wins in the fourth quarter and led the team from behind on numerous other occasions.
What may be the most important similarity is who both Clausen and Delhomme had to throw to. Clausen had a short but fast and mighty receiver that could go up and grab the ball with the game on the line in Golden Tate. Does this sound like one of the Panthers receivers?
I think that description matches the pound-for-pound best receiver in the NFL in the REAL Steve Smith. At 5’9" on a good day, Steve Smith was the main guy for Delhomme when it came down to the fourth quarter. His most memorable play was against Green Bay when Smith caught the ball while in the middle of a Packer sandwich for a huge gain.
Now Clausen has Smith to work with and it is time they set up their own connection.
Finally, Clausen will keep the huddle alive. He will keep the fire in his eyes the entire game and will not let anyone feel like hope is lost. He is too competitive and confident in his abilities to feel that failure is even an option.
This will be a new team come Sunday and the Bengals will be surprised by what they see.