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Young receiving corps an obstacle for Clausen

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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Posted Sept. 24, 2010 @ 12:54 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

Changing quarterbacks two weeks into the season wasn't part of the Panthers' blueprint for success this year, but head coach John Fox decided to make a switch. He named rookie QB Jimmy Clausen the starter after Matt Moore suffered a concussion in one game and played poorly in both games.

We hear the change wasn't received well by everyone inside the organization, some of whom were hoping Clausen would get more time to watch and learn before becoming the starter. Some are wondering if the Panthers should have given Moore more time to recover from a concussion before playing him again. While Eagles QB Kevin Kolb sat out in Week Two after sustaining a concussion in Week One, Moore started in Week Two after suffering a concussion in the season opener and he completed only 6-of-16 passes for 125 yards before Clausen replaced him in the fourth quarter vs. Tampa Bay.

It was a surprisingly quick fall for Moore, who was tendered at the highest level this offseason as a restricted free agent after helping lead Carolina to a 4-1 record in a starting stint late in 2009. He was welcomed as a steady game manager after the Panthers suffered through the erratic play of Jake Delhomme, but Moore looked like a completely different player this season.

As for Clausen, he was under heavy scrutiny throughout his college career at Notre Dame, so pressure isn't a big concern for the Panthers when it comes to the second-round pick. Whether he can do more with an offense that has major problems outside of the QB position is another question.

The Panthers are confident that Clausen will do a better job of taking care of the ball than Moore, who made six turnovers in two games. One of the biggest problems with Carolina's passing game is that there is only one proven wide receiver — Steve Smith. Three of the five wideouts are rookies, and WR Dwayne Jarrett, a fourth-year veteran, has fallen to fourth on the depth chart. Those rookie receivers are going to have grow up quickly for the Panthers' offense to produce at a respectable level.

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