Carolina Panthers Quarterback Jimmy Clausen: Where He Can Go From Here

Robert G. GilbertContributor INovember 14, 2010

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 10: Quarterback Jimmy Clausen #2 of the Carolina Panthers watches from the sidelines against the Chicago Bears at Bank of America Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

Jimmy Clausen and the Carolina Panthers can go from here to success through the application of the SRG Positioning Algorithm™. In the book Explosive Growth: How to Create Task-Oriented Growth Plans (SRG Publications), author Glenn E. Dawson provides the SRG Positioning Algorithm™ as a set of three questions that act as a compass to guide the journey towards a goal.

The SRG Positioning Algorithm™

1) Where are you, really?

2) In what direction are you going?

3) How will you likely go?


1. Where is Jimmy Clausen, really?

Clausen has had a tumultuous rookie campaign. When playing, he’s shown flashes of potential, but has struggled with a low trajectory of passes, allowing passes batted at the line, plus a lack of time from his offensive line.

Additionally, Clausen is rarely able to gain rhythm. To his credit, he has shown the ability to make something out of nothing by extending the play and finding a receiver, or even scrambling. He’s shown good accuracy on longer throws. Also, he is not afraid to try to fit a ball into a tight window. He shows potential, but there is an obvious lack of true support and effort from the coaching staff towards mentoring and developing Clausen.

2. In what direction is Jimmy Clausen going?               

Currently, there is a lack of direction and confidence towards Clausen, which is negatively impacting his performance. The goal with Clausen should be for him to grow as a person and player, becoming a competitive NFL quarterback. His direction, then, is that which will enable him to be best equipped for that eventuality.  

3. How will Jimmy Clausen likely get there?

The best way for Clausen to get there is to let him play offense—real offense. Consider utilizing the no-huddle and a mixture of quick slants, square ins, square outs, hook patterns, hitch and go's, wheel routes, etc., with routes all over the field available every play.

To deal with pressure from the defensive line, design dump-off passes to the running backs and receivers out of the backfield or in the flat towards the side the defense is heavy on, and run the occasional draw, delay, or trap play from the same formation. Also, incorporate the bootleg and other designed quarterback roll-out plays to get Clausen on the move and force the defense to react.

Take advantage of gadget plays, motion, and actively trying to best the opposing defense. Mix it up, and switch the receivers around. The faster the play develops, the less time the defense has to react—and then when a longer-developing play is tried, it will catch the defense off guard. Work with Clausen on his release point to give him a higher trajectory, perhaps through accuracy drills in practice that require the ball to crest like a wave.

If his throws are tending to be off, focus on timing routes in practice as well.  Be proactive about Clausen, as well as supportive. Playcalling like this will really allow Clausen to experience the full repertoire of an NFL offense, and give him valuable understanding. 

Show confidence and trust in him, and give him the best opportunity to succeed. Give Jimmy Clausen the motivation to want to better himself, rather than allowing anemia to take over.

In NFL Computer Profiling, I show how NFL players are assembly line pieces:  if they do not perform well initially, they are swapped out for another piece; and how within the landscape of the NFL, the majority of coaches do not mentor or develop their players, seeking instead to coach through statistical loopholes and copycatting what works for another team.

The malaise currently enveloping the NFL is from a lack of development and mentoring; a lack of cognition that football is a group-task, not an individual task. Coaches should be mentors, providing players with the tools they need to improve, the advice they need to incorporate those tools, and the support they need to execute those tools.

The upcoming feature-length article, “Where Can Clausen and Carolina Go From Here” takes Dawson’s SRG Positioning Algorithm™ even further, applying it beyond Jimmy Clausen to five other components of the Carolina Panthers, accomplishing deeper analysis  as well as providing methodology by which to achieve true development and mentoring  through the epitome of coaching.