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March 22, 2011

Rivera: Clausen got too much blame

NEW ORLEANS -- For more than an hour Tuesday morning, Panthers coach Ron Rivera talked a lot about quarterbacks – ones the Panthers might draft, ones the Panthers could get in a trade.

Finally, he fielded a question about a quarterback currently on the Panthers' roster – one who was generating his own buzz this time a year ago before a dreadful rookie season.

And Rivera said Jimmy Clausen received too much of the blame for a 2-14 season that gave the Panthers the No. 1 pick this year.

“I tried to listen to as many people and tried to figure out what had happened. Tried to watch as much tape and really take everything that was said to me, and evaluate it and decide what I believed. What I agreed with, what I disagreed with and draw my own conclusion,” Rivera said at the coaches' breakfast at the annual owners meetings.

“And I think he got too much of the blame. I think he shouldered too much of the responsibility. We have to – as I said before – continue to evaluate the process and see if there is somewhere that he fits for us. And we'll go through and see.”

It certainly wasn't a ringing endorsement of Clausen, who was the NFL's lowest-rated passer last season and went 1-9 as a starter.

The Panthers will have another QB in camp – assuming there is one – to compete with Clausen, whether it's Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert or Kevin Kolb.

Rivera spoke glowingly of Gabbert on Tuesday, praising the former Missouri QB for his “presence” and his various physical skills. Don't read the tea leaves too deeply: At the combine, Rivera raved about Newton, the Auburn QB whom many observers believe is the Panthers' top target.

But Rivera's comments were a reminder of how highly Marty Hurney thought of Clausen last year – and evidence that at least some folks in the organization still have his back.

--Joseph Person


Posted by Observer Sports on March 22, 2011 at 09:59 AM | Permalink


I agree that Clausen took too much heat. He never had a training camp as he was second string then and Fox did not play him with the 1's. I am not necessarily a Clausen fan because of his delivery but I think he is better than last year showed.

Posted by: dave | Mar 22, 2011 10:12:21 AM

Profootballtalk is reporting the Iggles already have 1 pick offers for Kolb. Might be a smokescreen, but if it is I doubt he's going to play in Carolina.

Posted by: Fatty McButterpants | Mar 22, 2011 10:15:20 AM

I wonder if you can legally make a trade for a "player to be named later" or some other legal language to get around the CBA issue.

Posted by: sisk | Mar 22, 2011 10:20:19 AM

Ron is just towing the company line just to please Hurney since he drafted Clausen. I bet he was dying to scream out loud that Clausen didnt get enough blame.

Posted by: darin is an idiot | Mar 22, 2011 10:22:18 AM

We are drafting Blaine. He will mostly likely at least be middle of the pack starting qb if not a stud. He had a better pro-date than Matt Ryan and on par with Sam Bradford. I think Ron realizes the only way to win in this "new league" is have a good qb. Which we clearly don't. With the new rookie salary cap, it won't break the bank for us to take a QB 1, so we won't be married to gabbert for more than 3-4 years if we want. Also with the CBA all messed up we won't really get a free agent period in the normal sense so teams will be forced to fill their needs through the draft this year. All the tea leaves point to Gabbert, you just have to look.

Posted by: matt | Mar 22, 2011 10:42:00 AM

To say that Clausen is a bad qb is to say that Steve Buerlein was a bad qb. Buerlein was said to have spent more time on his back than on his feet. A lot of the time, there were db's in the backfield as soon as Clausen took the snap. If any qb, even Payton Manning, has only 3 to 5 seconds to take 3 to 5 steps back, view the 3 to 4 receivers AND throw the ball AND complete it, they will not look one bit better than Clausen. I am neither for or against Clausen but I believer everyone should be given a fair shot at success.

Posted by: Wayne4304 | Mar 22, 2011 10:43:06 AM

Wayne - QB's LOVE to get blitzed - it means more guys are open....IF YOU ARE GOOD. If you are a sucky rook - you either throw it away or get googly eyed and get sac atacked. Clausen has been a loser his whole career - and he has been getting second chances the whole time b/c of his family pedigree. Would any other team in the NFL even want him as a backup? I don't think we could give hime away. I wuldn't be surprised if we picked a QB AND got a veteran, because Jimmy isn't even good enough to throw towells to the guys in the locker room.

Posted by: Holla | Mar 22, 2011 11:11:29 AM

Pickles needs to get out of the juice jar and into the hamburger! You know what i'm talkin' about!

Posted by: mr obvious | Mar 22, 2011 11:16:13 AM

CAM NEWTON!!! That's all the Panthers need right now!

Posted by: Big Money | Mar 22, 2011 11:16:13 AM

"We are drafting Blaine. He will mostly likely at least be middle of the pack starting qb if not a stud. He had a better pro-date than Matt Ryan and on par with Sam Bradford."

Stop it with these predictions on who they are going to draft. Nobody knows since they very interested in 7 other guys. I guess ppl must be buying into the Gabbert hype, funny how a unheard of player since Luck stayed in school is now the #1 overall pick. Damn Tom Condom sure is a great agent. Clausen was the most pro-ready in the 2010 draft, well that turn out not being true.

Now they are saying the same for Gabbert? lmao there's no Sam B, Suh, etc etc in this yr draft. Gabbert will need to sit and learn, unless you want to thrown him in the wolves. Fans are quick to label the bust tag on you after 1yr. Wouldn't be surprise if the same is said for Gabbert or Newton. Next minute I will hear we want Luck if they were again have a chance to get him.

Anybody can have a good pro-day with no pass rushers chasing after you. Along throw accurately with no db's covering your receivers. I remember JR and Alex S had outstanding pro-days, how are they doing in the nfl? Pro-days are meaningless until you step on the football field with 11 guys starting down at you.

Replacing a rookie with another overhype in Gabbert or Newton will not help. Heck they won't even be given a playbook, fully tranisition from a spread offense to a pro-style offense. So they will have little chance to make an impact.

Posted by: mark j | Mar 22, 2011 11:40:06 AM

The Panthers need Cam Newton like Jerry Richardson's heart needs a Bojangles sausage, egg and cheese biscuit.

Posted by: SkinsFanAgain | Mar 22, 2011 11:40:45 AM

dat dude aint no good son mite as wel put him in da scrap pile emedieatly

Posted by: Stankonya | Mar 22, 2011 11:42:41 AM

Wheres Scam Newtons bigmouth pappy been lately? After those FBI visits hes been awfully quiet. Whats up with that? He was Mr Big at Auburn before that and all the games.

Posted by: Ole Miss | Mar 22, 2011 11:46:42 AM

Wayne never suggested we need O-line @ #1 overall.. Come on people Clausen had no chance to succeed last year no QB back there would have done well. Was Clausen worse then if we had a solid vet back there, absolutely. That's the thing though, Clausen was a Rookie and was just thrown in there after Moore went down. Clausen is a competitor and hates losing just as much as all of us arm chair qb's do. Give him a legitimate shot with more then 2nd string rookies all around and I know we will see good things. No protection + No where to throw the ball = bad results everytime, does not matter whos back there..

Posted by: sam | Mar 22, 2011 11:51:18 AM

The Golden Domer still has plenty of games in him. Does he need to improve? Sure. Can he still get better? Certainly.

The comments from Rivera are 'refreshing' in that they lend toward a realization that there are many problems with the performance of the previous Panther squad. Many problems. QB is not a strong point, certainly, but it's not that they have to get rid of everyone they have and start over. Clausen will be fine (with a WR and a healthy Line to give him a chance to 'learn')

Posted by: sc_cards | Mar 22, 2011 12:00:00 PM

I 100% agree, we cant blame the QB for all the offensive mistakes. There are a number of different things, especially the offensive line that we need to step up!

Posted by: Gordon | Mar 22, 2011 12:02:35 PM

SkinsFanAgain what in the world did you try to say and type???????

Posted by: big daddy | Mar 22, 2011 12:03:02 PM

"I think Wayne is suggesting we take a o-linemen first overall....... HAHAHAHA dude look through a mock draft grab a draft magazine. There is no one worth a damn in the draft for oline. You make me laugh you old cracka."

Read his post slowly, because clearly he never had suggested they draft OLinemen 1st overall.

He stated "If any qb, even Payton Manning, has only 3 to 5 seconds to take 3 to 5 steps back, view the 3 to 4 receivers AND throw the ball AND complete it, they will not look one bit better than Clausen. I am neither for or against Clausen but I believer everyone should be given a fair shot at success."

So how is that considering they should take an OLinemen #1 overall?

Posted by: mark j | Mar 22, 2011 12:09:46 PM

The Panthers really don't have ANY valid QB options. Clausen never had a chance with that popgun offence, but he never showed any skills. Kolb is way-overrated, due to the severe lack of quality options in the league; Kolb only completes passes behind his own line of scrimmage. As for this year's draft class? No saviours there - they will all be projects at best. Andrew Luck would have been the only possible option. This just isn't a good year to have the #1 pick overall - they won't get value for it no matter who they select. Maybe they can tough it out with Clausen one more year, and grab Andrew Luck next year!

Posted by: Wayne D | Mar 22, 2011 12:11:06 PM

Took too much blame? Say anything you want but the truth is Clausen is just awful. No amount of coaching is going to help him get any better. The kid couldn't see a wide open Brandon LaFell in the endzone. Literally NO ONE was around him for a good 10 to 15 yards. Everyone in the stadium begins to scream at Clausen and Jimmy "Hold on to the ball all day and then some" Clausen heaves a loaf of bread 3 yards short of LaFell and was almost picked off by a backpedaling Chicago defender. The pass wasn't even 40 yards. He is just awful, plain and simple.

Posted by: Greg H. | Mar 22, 2011 12:25:05 PM

I really dont think we should draft an o-line man. We should consider a more skill position to draft, especially going first. However, we need to revamp our o-line overall.

Posted by: Gordon | Mar 22, 2011 12:26:06 PM

Clausen was ineffective even when he wasn't getting sacked. Gabbert looks decent but Missouri didn't really play any tough teams like Newton/Auburn had to face to win the National Championship. Drafting Gabbert would be pretty much a lateral move with nothing gained. Cam is the only QB in the draft that has the tools to compete on the level of Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman in a year or two.

Posted by: chazatlas | Mar 22, 2011 12:34:50 PM

"No amount of coaching is going to help him get any better".

How do you know? Fox could never develop a young Qb, all he wanted was a servicable one to manage the game. The offense was straight up boring with elementary school playcalling.

There's a reason during Fox tenure they only drafted 2 Qb's. He was a defensive guy who knew nothing about offense. Clausen was set up to faile with a subpar Oline( who sucks at picking up the blitz), lack of creativity in playcalling( all they did was run,run,pass,punt). Finally a coaching staff who everbody knew wasn't going to return unless they made the playoffs.

I'm no Clausen fan btw, he needs to become a leader/command the huddle earning respect from your teammates. You don't think an Andy R or Mike McCarthy( however u spell his name) wouldn't turn around Clausen around? I could since they actually know how to develop young Qb's willing to take their time to do. Something Fox wasn't, playing veterans and never wanted to teach the young players.

Posted by: mark j | Mar 22, 2011 12:35:57 PM

I think Clausen never had a chance because at the time, our staff wasn't competent enough to groom the likes of Peyton Manning. Now maybe I'm drinking the Koolaid but I think things will be different this year. Not saying we will be making the playoffs but we will make obvious improvements in our offense. Now I know most have written off Clausen but I hope they can make him presentable for at least a trade.

Posted by: Jimbo | Mar 22, 2011 12:55:03 PM

Were last year's offensive woes all Clausen's fault? Of course not. He was a rookie and he clearly wasn't ready for the starting job. But did we see very much improvement from him throughout the season? I say no, and this is why I think they need a new QB. Unfortunately this draft class is short on quality QBs. So it may be better to just pick the overall best guy on the board (Green, Dareus, or Peterson or even Jones) and find your QB some other way, even if it means waiting till next year. I mean, does anybody think we're making a run at the playoffs next year? No, so the Panthers shouldn't get so caught up in trying to solve the QB position immediately if a good option isn't there.

Posted by: Jermel | Mar 22, 2011 12:58:42 PM

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