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Panthers preparing to turn mess back over to rookie quarterback

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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Posted Nov. 08, 2010 @ 5:43 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

One day after losing for the seventh time in eight tries, the Panthers announced that QB Matt Moore and MLB Dan Connor will miss the rest of the season, and that WLB Thomas Davis, who had been on the PUP list, will be placed on injured reserve, ensuring that he won't play this season.

Moore suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder in Sunday's loss to the Saints, and Connor will need surgery to repair a hip injury. The news about Davis didn't come as much of a surprise, since it was widely assumed that he would miss the entire season after he tore his ACL in June.

Head coach John Fox has not said which of his quarterbacks will start next week against the Buccaneers, although it's believed that second-round pick Jimmy Clausen, who was pulled Sunday in favor of sixth-round pick Tony Pike, will get the nod. The team is expected to sign a quarterback to replace Moore this week.

The PFW Spin

The plan heading into the season was to let Clausen learn from the sideline and perhaps work his way onto the field later in the year, but Carolina scrapped that blueprint when Fox benched Moore in favor of the rookie after two games. The move didn't pan out, as Fox turned back to Moore, and the Panthers are left trying to figure out the best way to handle one of their most valued young players.

What will do the least amount of damage to Clausen?

Playing for Carolina isn't a particularly enjoyable job at the moment, and playing quarterback for the team is a tough task to do well under these circumstances. Clausen just hasn't looked ready to contribute in a productive way or shown much improvement in any of the opportunities he has had. Pike completed 6-of-12 passes for 47 yards against the Saints, but is playing him ahead of Clausen the team's best option?

The offensive line isn't having a good year, the receiving corps is young, the team is down to its third-string running back because injuries have sidelined DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, and the coaching staff has its bags packed with John Fox expected to depart after the season.

Throwing Pike to the wolves instead of Clausen could be better for Clausen in the long run.

Regardless of how the Panthers proceed, this is not a good situation for any player on the team, and it certainly doesn't appear to be helping Clausen get better.

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