NFL Preseason QB Controversies: Cam Newton vs. Jimmy Clausen vs. Derek Anderson

Jason MuckleySenior Analyst IIAugust 15, 2011

Jimmy Clausen and Cam Newton are competing for the top spot in Carolina, who will come up with it?
Jimmy Clausen and Cam Newton are competing for the top spot in Carolina, who will come up with it?Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Cam Newton was drafted No. 1 overall in this season’s NFL draft. He also has a number of key intangibles that highlight his case for winning the starting quarterback position in Carolina.

Newton’s buzz reminds me of another first-round, fan-favorite rookie from last year: Tim Tebow. Fans in Charlotte, N.C. love Newton, and expect him to be the franchise savior in years to come.

The cons that come with starting Newton from Week 1 is his lack of experience, inaccuracy with passes and his erraticism in the pocket.

Newton got lots of attention in the preseason opener from fans, but his inexperience showed. He missed some targets and was sacked twice. Newton’s highlight of the night was a crisp pass between two defenders down the field that went for 30 yards.

Ultimately, he has the knack to win, something that has long been absent in Carolina.

Jimmy Clausen was named the preseason starter by head coach Ron Rivera in the first game of the preseason.

Clausen came out guns firing by slinging a pass downfield to receiver Brandon LaFell for 31 yards, but his fortune almost immediately turned after tossing a pick-six to Giants defender Michael Boley.

The stadium erupted with boos and chants for Newton. A couple of drives later, however, Clausen made up for his error when he was given a short field and he connected with newly acquired tight end Greg Olsen for an 18-yard touchdown pass.

Clausen has indeed grown a lot since last season, but he has lost favor with many fans.

Derek Anderson will be the third-string quarterback this season. He is experienced, but the Panthers front office is looking for youth at the quarterback position.

Anderson will get a shot if the two guys in front of him completely bomb or are injured. He will not factor into the quarterback battle this offseason.

Who starts in 2011? Jimmy Clausen will hold off the surging Cam Newton for now. If he can’t produce wins early in the season, Newton will be given the reins to see if his raw talent translates to the NFL.