Tag:Jimmy Clausen
Posted on: May 1, 2011 10:44 am
 

Jimmy Clausen speaks about Cam Newton

Posted by Andy Benoit
J. Clausen
The day after the Panthers drafted quarterback Cam Newton number one overall, their ’10 second-round drafted quarterback, Jimmy Clausen, was the first to arrive at the team’s facility.

Two days later, Clausen was saying all the right things. Clausen and Newton were at a charity kickball event over the weekend. Joseph Person of the Raleigh News & Observer asked the ex-Notre Dame star about his role on the club.

“I talked to some coaches and Marty and they said they want me on this team and they’re going to give me the opportunity to compete,” Clausen said. “That’s all I can ask for is a chance to compete. It’s going to be fun working with Cam and just competing each and every day.”

Worth noting was that at the kickball game, Clausen and Newton both wore number 2. Clausen wore the number last year for the Panthers; Newton wore the number at Auburn. So who’s is it?

“It’s mine right now,” Clausen said. “We’ll see what happens.” He reportedly said this with a smile, which could be an indication that he intends to sell the jersey at a marked up price.

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Posted on: April 30, 2011 8:39 pm
 

What the NFL draft taught us

C. Newton will try to make it big in Carolina (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

NEW YORK – Well, the 2011 NFL draft has come and gone. The ESPN and NFL Network sets, the podium and the big-screen TVs can be placed back into storage – along with the 2011 NFL season for now.

That being said, the draft taught us quite a few things about where the organizations are going and, maybe, why they won’t get there. Here are a few observations about what we learned.

1. The Panthers still have no idea about their quarterback situation – and about their direction in general: It feels like Carolina HAD to take Cam Newton with the No. 1 pick, and if the Panthers hadn’t, Newton could have fallen all the way until the middle of the first round. So, Carolina has taken a quarterback in the second round (Jimmy Clausen) and a quarterback in the first round (Newton) in back-to-back years. Are they any better now than they were three days ago? Probably not. Are they actually in a worse spot than they were three days ago? Quite possibly.

2. The Raiders still are too in love with speed:
Their third-round pick (CB DeMarcus Van Dyke) is really fast, but other than that, he has many way too many deficiencies. Their fourth-round pick (CB Chimdi Chekwa) is really fast, but he isn’t a great cover guy. Their second fourth-round pick (RB Taiwan Jones) is really fast, but he’s very brittle. It’s a replay of almost every other season. Which likely means Oakland still isn’t going to be much better than average for the foreseeable future.

3. The Patriots might be the new Bengals: OK, that’s perhaps a bit of a stretch, but maybe could you make the case that Bill Belichick’s arrogance of drafting players with off-the-field issues this year compares to Mike Brown’s indifference of drafting players with off-the-field issues. Either way, the Patriots took QB Ryan Mallett (you know his story well by now) in the third round and TE Lee Smith (who left Tennessee for Marshall after he was arrested on a DUI charge). Now, the Patriots will have to make sure they keep those guys in line. The Bengals haven’t always done such a great job of that, but I think Belichick can manage just fine.

4. Apparently, everything is cool with quarterbacks in Arizona, Seattle and Buffalo: Maybe those front offices forgot they’ll enter 2011 with Derek Anderson/Max Hall/John Skelton and Matt Hasselbeck/Charlie Whitehurst, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, respectively. I kid, I kid. The Bills apparently like Fitzpatrick, and the Cardinals almost certainly will go to free agency to find a QB. Maybe, though, those three teams also subscribed to the theory that this year’s quarterback class wasn’t really all that tremendous and decided to try another route to fill the needs of their team.

5.Maybe teams should look more toward the north part of the South for pro prospects:
Nine (!) North Carolina players were drafted (that’s right; I double-checked), six Clemson players were taken (and Da’Quan Bowers was only the third picked!), and, hell, even three Appalachian State players were nabbed. Why, then, were the Tigers and the Tar Heels a combined 14-12?

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Posted on: April 29, 2011 9:23 am
Edited on: April 29, 2011 9:35 am
 

Clausen shows up to work early Friday morning

Posted by Andy BenoitJ. Clausen

NFL Players are returning to work Friday morning. One of the first to show up at his team’s facility was Jimmy Clausen in Carolina.
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Sam Wyche of NFL.com reports that the Panthers had a voluntarily team meeting at 8:45 a.m. Clausen arrived at the team’s facility at 7:25.

Wyche asked Clausen the obvious question: what does he think of the Cam Newton selection?

"They've got to do what they got to do," Clausen said.

It will be interesting to see how Clausen and Newton jive when the two start working out and practicing together. As Joe Fortenbaugh of National Football Post points out, Clausen currently wears number 2 -- Newton's number at Auburn. Generally, rookies purchase their numbers from veterans. But how would it look for Clausen to sell to the man brought in to replace him so soon?

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Posted on: April 25, 2011 12:22 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Cats should take biggest gamble: Pass on Newton

Posted by Will Brinson

No less than 48 hours ago, I told a relative at Easter that I had "fully talked myself into the Panthers taking Cam Newton." That's a by-product of several things, including: a) the franchise's need for a "face" that people care about, b) the unparalleled upside that Newton represents, c) the lack of any decent quarterback on the roster and d) the need to sell tickets and get fans re-invested.

When I woke up on Monday though, I felt entirely differently, and now I'm pretty sure that the Panthers absolutely need to pass on Newton, acquire as many decent assets as they can, and focus on getting Andrew Luck in 2011. (Quite conveniently, Clark Judge is hearing they'll do just that.)

That's not saying they should "tank" -- and, disclaimer time: I'm actually a Panthers fan, so that would be kind of miserable for me. They shouldn't. No one should tank in the NFL because, unlike the NBA or MLB, things can change quickly, and teams can become successful overnight.

But have you seen Carolina's schedule? It's nuts. There are -- at most -- five winnable games on the slate in 2011, and it wouldn't matter who they had quarterbacking, as long as that person is either a rookie or a second-year Jimmy Clausen, because it's going to be a struggle.
Panthers' Problems

Obviously the Panthers get the Falcons, the Saints and the Buccaneers twice in 2011, and only an insane optimist could expect more than two wins against those three times total. Two, which is dangerously hopeful, would include a win against the Bucs at home and either a random upset of Atlanta or New Orleans, or a late-season win where one of those teams doesn't trot out their full "A-team" because their seeding decision has been settled.

Look at the rest of the schedule, and the even the most bullish fan would find a hard time arguing that, with Cam Newton and/or Jimmy Clausen at the helm, the Panthers will win five games. I mean, where are the wins? Against the Cardinals, in Arizona, during the opening week of the season? Maybe.

Week 2 against the Packers can already be ruled out, as can Week 12 against the Colts in Indy and the Week 15 matchup against the Texans in Houston; all of those teams have too much offense for the Panthers to compete. So let's say they lose those three games and go 1-5 in the division.

That leaves a home matchup against Jacksonville in Week 3, a trip to Chicago in Week 4, a home matchup against the Redskins in Week 7 followed by the Vikings coming to town in Week 8, a Week 10, post-bye matchup against the Titans in Charlotte and a trip to Detroit in Week 11. Winning three of those games, based on the success that the 2010 team had, would be considered a tremendous success. That's a 4-12 record for the season, a miserable year, and a learning experience with regard to whether Jimmy Clausen can be the future of the franchise (my answer is no, but Marty Hurney apparently still wants to find out).
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It's also probably good enough to land them the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, which will net them Andrew Luck of Stanford, unless he decides he really loves graduate school.

And yes, I understand that this is a game of chicken that no NFL front office can reasonably play; it predicates itself on thinking that your team will be awful, and that's not a mindset you see in the NFL. But the schedule is what the schedule is, and then there's this: everyone in this draft is pulling trigger on a quarterback.

Most folks believe that there's a chance six -- SIX! -- quarterbacks could be gone as early as the first round. If six of the 10 (or so) teams that are truly desperate for quarterback help take a first-rounder, there's a pretty good chance that they won't even be looking for Luck come next year, significantly improving the Panthers chance that they would wind up with the most coveted option in the 2011 draft, even if they didn't finish with the worst record. (For instance, if the Bills draft Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton third overall and finish 2-14, are they taking Luck? They can't.

And that should be the scariest fact for Hurney and new coach Ron Rivera when they start looking at their options for the coming season: even if they do take Newton, they could finish with the worst record in the NFL (in fact, one could argue drafting Newton improves their chances ...) and be faced with a decision on having to draft their third straight franchise quarterback. That's something that isn't even considered an option. Even if Luck was there, Carolina would have to think defense, which would be a shame.

Look, landing Luck vis-a-vis the No. 1 overall pick next year is far from a guarantee. But the odds of it happening for Carolina are at least as good, if not better, than hitting a home run with Cam Newton.
Posted on: April 24, 2011 10:39 am
 

Offseason checkup: Carolina Panthers

Posted by Will Brinson

J. Clausen hopes to get Carolina turned around in 2011 (Getty).

Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups



Not to try and bring back the Anchorman meme that probably became uncool a few years ago, but, man, things really got out of hand fast in Carolina, didn't they? John Fox is gone, Ron Rivera is in, Jerry Richardson is likely not too popular with the fans because of the labor situation, and the draft-pick situation for the Panthers is a nightmare.

There's also a pile of questions relating to how 2011 will unfold based on the rules once the labor situation is settled. And the whole problem of everyone else in the NFC South being potentially dominant or at least pretty good ... primarily because of quarterback play. And thus, we see the Panthers problem: they need a franchise quarterback. Andrew Luck's decision to return to school put a big crimp in the plans for the No. 1 overall pick, and Cam Newton's been penciled in at this point by basically anyone.  

Even if he is the pick, the Panthers can't negotiate with him, so who knows at this point? There's ample argument for why Carolina should take a cornerback, a defensive tackle, trade the top pick, or just roll the dice with Newton.




Defensive Tackle, Quarterback

The odd things about Carolina's roster is that in 2010, they had the talent to succeed. Injuries (Jeff Otah and Thomas Davis most notably), poor play (Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen most notably) and an awkward coaching situation changed things dramatically and the team unraveled. It became pretty clear, though, that even with a talented offensive line and two superb running backs in Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, you can't run the ball if no one respects your passing game.

Can Newton fix that passing game? Is his upside worth passing on a very-much-needed defensive tackle like Marcell Dareus out of Alabama? Does it even matter if Newton can be Tim Tebow 2.0 and sell a pile of jerseys while making the Panthers nationally relevant, at least for a season?

It seems clear that Newton's going to either be a total home run, though not likely right away, or an absolute, unmitigated disaster. There might be an in-between area, but given the hype surrounding the potential No.1-overall pick, it's hard to imagine Newton settling into something that's just "average."



1. Quarterback
Value Over Replacement Player is typically a statistic that you see in baseball. But the notion remains true when you talk about the MVP race: how would the Patriots fare if you took out Tom Brady and plugged in an "average" quarterback? Well, the Panthers showed that if you plug in the player most below average in the NFL, disaster ensues. Quarterback is absolutely the most important position of need for Carolina -- it's just a matter of whether or not Newton or Blaine Gabbert could end up becoming "the guy" in Carolina as a top pick, just one season after the Panthers apparently wasted a second-rounder on Clausen. No one -- and I mean NO ONE -- can know the answer until we sees how it plays out. That's what makes their top pick so insanely controversial.

2. Defensive Tackle
Making the Panthers' choice at the top of the draft even more difficult is the presence of Dareus, who seems like a pretty good bet to succeed in the NFL. Or, at least, to not flop at defensive tackle. With (maybe) four winnable games on the 2011 schedule, the Panthers could conceivably draft Dareus, hope they perform to 2010-level expectations with a vastly more difficult schedule, and land Andrew Luck in the next season. Playing chicken with a franchise quarterback and gambling on losing a lot isn't really an efficient way to manage in the NFL, but is drafting Cam Newton really a safer option?

3. More Draft Picks
I said this for Denver and they probably have more holes to fill than the Panthers, but Carolina doesn't even have a second-rounder because they traded their pick to the Patriots in order to draft Armanti Edwards out of Appalachian State, which might secretly be the worst draft decision in quite some time, especially because it's the first pick on the second day of the draft and a coveted spot. With a draft that's deep at defensive line, and the Panthers in need of a cornerback, a quarterback and a defensive tackle, having more picks -- as opposed to, say, LESS picks -- would be a pretty big advantage for the franchise.



2011 could be disastrous for the Panthers. I mentioned four winnable games, and that's not a joke: can they beat Detroit in Ford Field? Arizona out west? Tennessee at home in Week 10? Washington at home in Week 7? The Jaguars at home in Week 3? Okay, that's actually five, so we're getting somewhere! Or not -- those games are as far from locks as you get, and they're the easiest ones on the schedule. Maybe an upset or two in the NFC South is doable, but that's a bit optimistic for anyone who watched what happened in 2010.

Hey, but hope springs eternal. Or something. Ron Rivera's got a talented staff in place and the Panthers do still have a roster with some stars; at the very least, they've got studly linebackers and a strong offensive line, should free agency fall they way they want (and when you've got your owner leading the negotiations, well, that's never a bad thing). Drafting Newton could immediately reenergize the fanbase and turn out to be an absolute gamechanger when it comes to the franchise's future. But if there's one team that actually wouldn't mind seeing a lockout last through the entire 2011 season, it's probably Carolina.

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Posted on: March 30, 2011 10:00 pm
Edited on: March 30, 2011 10:01 pm
 

Scout who bashed Newton defends self

Newton Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Pro Football Weekly’s
Nolan Nawrocki generated a little controversy Tuesday when he wrote a scathing scouting report on Auburn QB Cam Newton.

Wrote Nawrocki: “Very disingenuous — has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup.  Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them.  Has an enormous ego with a sense of entitlement that continually invites trouble and makes him believe he is above the law — does not command respect from teammates and will always struggle to win a locker room . . . Lacks accountability, focus and trustworthiness — is not punctual, seeks shortcuts and sets a bad example.  Immature and has had issues with authority.  Not dependable.”

Today, Nawrocki tried to set the record straight during a conference call. Via the transcript from PFW.com, he was asked why he was so tough on Newton’s character and how much of a concern that could be to potential employers.

Said Nawrocki: “I think it was over-sensationalized in a slow news period. I don't think the evaluation was any different than any that we've been producing the last 33 years. If you look back last year at Jimmy Clausen, a lot of the same traits were mentioned. I thought he was an egotistical, disingenuous, scripted player with a sense of entitlement. I think that was a big reason why he slipped into the second round. You look back at history and I think you'll find a lot of similar evaluations of players. JaMarcus Russell is another one.

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“When you do the work – we study this stuff year-round, talk to all 32 teams, general managers, head coaches, area scouts, personnel directors, college coaches – anybody that has insight into these players. We're trying to figure out just what kind of kid they are, what kind of commitment are they going to have to the NFL game. With the way money has gone in recent years with how much these players are getting paid in the top 10, you know they're instant millionaires before they ever step on the field in the NFL. I think the importance of character has never been greater than it is now. And I think that's where a lot of teams miss on first-round picks. It's just not being able to properly identify the character.

“With all the work that we've done on (Newton's) background, with the extensive amount of research and time that went into digging and figuring out what kind of kid he is, I feel very strongly about what was written and I stand by it fully. I think it's no different than anything we've done in previous years.


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Posted on: March 25, 2011 11:24 pm
 

Marty Hurney still trying to defend Jimmy Clausen

Posted by Will Brinson

It's not a given that the Carolina Panthers will take a quarterback with the first-overall pick in the NFL Draft, but considering how terrible Jimmy Clausen was in 2010, it sure does seem like a good idea.

And then you hear Marty Hurney attempting to defend Clausen in a radio interview (via Michael David Smith at Pro Football Talk), and you wonder if the front office in Charlotte isn't willing to cut off its nose to spite its face.

"You look at the history of rookie quarterbacks, and it's really unfair to expect a quarterback to go in and have a lot of success as a rookie," Hurney said. "Nobody in our organization would have ever dreamed we were going to go 2-14."

And not many people outside the organization thought that either -- no one was picking the Panthers to win the Super Bowl, but they weren't expected to be the worst team in the NFL (by far, no less) in 2010.

And yet they were. Fortunately for Hurney, his boss, Jerry Richardson, has his back.

"Marty’s done an extraordinary job," Richardson said. "Anyone who studies the drafts he's had would rate them very high ... He's done an outstanding job drafting players."
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This is actually true as well -- Hurney, aside from the recent few years, has had some pretty fantastic drafts. The Armanti Edwards pick/trade (that cost them the No. 1 pick in the second round this year) and the Everette Brown pick/trade (that cost them their first-rounder in 2010) were utter disasters, but prior to that, the Panthers had been on fire with early-round picks.

Of course, Clausen was also taken in this recent bad run of draft selections, so perhaps it's time to actually admit that, regardless of a rookie learning curve, Clausen's probably not the guy for the Panthers.

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Posted on: March 20, 2011 9:57 pm
Edited on: March 20, 2011 10:00 pm
 

Panthers won't signal what they'll do with No. 1

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Panthers coach Ron Rivera was discussing quarterbacks and the positives displayed by the cornucopia of signal-callers that will be available in April’s NFL draft. Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Mallett are some of the guys at whom the Panthers are looking.

But Rivera, who’s said that the team is really focusing on eight players for the No. 1 pick, revealed that five of them are NOT quarterbacks. Great news, by the way, for Jimmy Clausen. For now, at least.

Panthers decision

“We have a number of positions that we've identified as needs. We're trying to get to that point where we can start filling those needs as the time is appropriate,” Rivera said, via the Charlotte Observer. “If you can fill a need through free agency, we're going to do it. If we have to go through the draft, we'll do it. If we've got to make a trade, we'll do it.”

Some names thrown out there by staff writer Joe Person include defensive linemen Da’Quan Bowers (though his stock certainly had dropped since the NFL combine), Marcell Dareus and Nick Fairley. In reality, any of those players could go No. 1, though Fairley also isn’t as highly-rated as before.

Or, like Rivera said, the team could go the trade route and address another team need – like WR or CB.

“Anything's possible,” Rivera said. “We've got to finish the process and see where it all fits.”

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