Carolina Panthers: Newton Wins Starting Job, but Who Is the No. 2 Quarterback?

Christopher WilliamsContributor IISeptember 2, 2011

Newton and Anderson may be celebrating their 1-2 position on the depth chart
Newton and Anderson may be celebrating their 1-2 position on the depth chartStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

If it wasn't already a forgone conclusion before tonight's game even began, there was no question as to who would start the season at quarterback for Carolina after the opening drive. 

After leading the team down the field, Cam Newton threw his first (and only) preseason touchdown to Jeremy Shockey. After throwing the touchdown, he spent the rest of the game on the sidelines to think about the season opener against Arizona.

It's no secret that Rivera and the coaching staff have been grooming Newton for the starting role and hoping that he would decisively win it tonight. I mean he was the No. 1 pick for a reason, right?

He didn't set the world on fire in any of the exhibitions, but he did just enough to show that he's the team's best option under center—and that's step one.

After resisting the urge to change the station after Newton left (a.k.a. losing the remote), I was pleasantly surprised to see Derek Anderson come in for the next two quarters. Jimmy Clausen had underachieved the past two games, but Anderson never saw the field after tossing a touchdown in the preseason opener.

But seeing the former Pro Bowler go 11-for-19 for 192 yards tonight, including a 41-yard touchdown pass to David Clowney in the 2nd quarter, the quarterback situation still isn't set in stone.

Clausen came in to close the game and was less than spectacular (his first pass of the night was intercepted). Much of his struggles can be attributed to horrible blocking upfront, but even when given time to throw, he didn't impress. He finished 7-for-17 for 87 yards.

So what will Rivera do now? Of course, it won't make too much of a deal barring a Newton collapse, but it'll certainly be something to watch. Anderson was brought in to primarily serve as a mentor for Newton and Clausen, demonstrated by his absence on the field against Miami and Cincinnati, but he may be better suited as the second-string quarterback.

So Panther fans, who do you think should be the No. 2 quarterback? Anderson? Clausen? Newton even? Let your voice be heard below.