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Aug 13, 2010

Clausen comfortable in Carolina

In his preseason debut as an NFL quarterback, Jimmy Clausen put in a solid performance while looking comfortable at the helm of the Carolina Panthers offense.

Panthers head coach John Fox had already named Matt Moore as his starting quarterback prior to the preseason, but he also stated that he was “anxious” to find a reliable backup that he could depend on. Fox may have found just what he was looking for in Clausen, who has embraced his role as a rookie after experiencing a bit of a reality check when he left Notre Dame early only to fall to the middle of the second round in the 2010 NFL draft.

Since entering camp, Clausen has reportedly focused on putting himself in the best position possible for future success. Moore, the quarterback that Clausen hopes to replace on the depth chart one day, even went so far as to say “I never asked questions like Jimmy Clausen asks when I was a rookie. This guy is way ahead of the game.”

Clausen continued to draw praise in his first appearance for the Panthers, as ESPN commentators Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski marveled at how comfortable he looked with his new team. They both attributed his preparation largely to the experience he gained while putting up big numbers in a pro style offense while at Notre Dame. In fact, his current offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson previously coached for the New England Patriots on the same staff as Charlie Weis. Throughout the game, it was easy to see how Clausen’s growth over three years at Notre Dame has helped him progress much faster than is usually expected of a rookie quarterback.

Clausen came out of the game after connecting on 8 out of 15 passes for 80 yards. While he did throw an interception early in the second half, his targeted receiver slipped on the rain soaked field during a timing route. Overall, he showed off his impressive ability to get rid of the ball while under pressure, his confident pocket presence, and excellent pre-snap recognition. He even came close to throwing the Panthers’ first touchdown of the preseason with a fade to the corner in the endzone which would have been caught by Tate or Floyd but instead fell through the hands of his target. The most telling part of his performance was the way he conducted himself, and it looks like he will find himself at the top of the depth chart sooner rather than later if he can continue to build on top of the excellent foundation he established while at Notre Dame.

Sidenote: On the other side of the ball, former Fighting Irish cult hero Tom Zbikowski held his own while playing with the Ravens starting defense as a replacement for injured safety Ed Reed. Not only did Tommy Z have 4 tackles, but he also caused a fumble on a sack of Matt Moore before returning a punt for an impressive 28 yard run on the very next play.

Have a look at this reel featuring Clausen and Tommy Z from last night's game:

1 comment:

  1. John Fox: "With Jimmy, we had some problems with protection when he was in there, but overall I thought he did a good job."

    Sounds like the second teamers at some positions were making it harder on Jimmy (although he was going against reserve defenders to even that out). Reading between the lines, Fox is setting up Jimmy to be the long-term starter in Carolina.


2012 Notre Dame Football Schedule

2012 Notre Dame Football Schedule
DateOpponent / EventLocationTime / Result
09/01/12vs. Navy Dublin, IrelandW, 50-10
09/08/12vs. PurdontNotre Dame, Ind.W, 20-17
09/15/12at SpartyEast Lansing, Mich.W, 20-3
09/22/12vs. SkunkbearsNotre Dame, Ind.W, 13-6
Shamrock Series
10/06/12vs. Da UChicago, Ill.W, 41-3
10/13/12vs. TreesNotre Dame, Ind.W, 20-13 (OT)
10/20/12vs. BYU Notre Dame, Ind.W, 17-14
10/27/12at Oklahoma Norman, Okla.W, 30-13
11/03/12vs. Pittsburgh Notre Dame, Ind.W, 29-26 (3OT)
11/10/12at Backup College Chestnut Hill, Mass.W, 21-6
11/17/12vs. Fake Worest Notre Dame, Ind.W, 38-0
11/24/12at U$C Los Angeles, Calif.W, 22-13
1/7/13vs. AlabamaBCS CHAMPIONSHIP
(Miami, Florida)
L, :(