Cam Newton and Jimmy Clausen Still Battling for Starting Quarterback Spot

Brad ThomasContributor IAugust 20, 2011

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - AUGUST 19:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers makes a pass during a Preseason NFL game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on August 19, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - AUGUST 19: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers makes a pass during a Preseason NFL game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on August 19, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The situation at quarterback for the Carolina Panthers is as clear as mud.

Cam Newton had his opportunity to start his first NFL game Friday evening in Miami. Fans expected Newton would cement what many thought would be his starting spot in Carolina. However, his performance did anything but.

Newton went 7 of 14 for 66 yards, most of them to the tight ends, playing the entire first half and managing only three first downs. The 2010 Heisman Trophy winner known for his scrambling ability, Newton scampered for a paltry 18 yards out of necessity after his patchwork offensive line couldn't protect him from the Dolphins pass rush. 

Newton displayed his erratic passing skills, throwing several passes off target wildly as the rookie QB continued to throw off his back foot on several occasions. With Newton at the helm, the Panthers were held scoreless. 

"My head was spinning so many different ways," Newton said after the game, "I feel like I'm doing way better than I was last week." 

"This performance tonight, I'm not pleased about it at all. The defense had me thinking. I have to be better than I was today."

Jimmy Clausen took the reigns after halftime, faring no better than Newton, completing 9 of 15 passes for 69 yards. Clausen did lead Carolina on two scoring drives; one resulting in a Tyrell Sutton rushing TD and one resulting in an Adi Kunalic field goal.

Both quarterbacks were less than inspiring, with Newton looking like a rookie and Clausen throwing the consistent checkdown pass. 

After the game, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera remarked that his QBs "were efficient at best," but that the QB race is between Newton and Clausen only. 

"They are our future."

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