No. 3 for Carolina Panthers: Hunter Cantwell or Tony Pike?

July 29, 2010 - Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States - 29July2010: Carolina Panther quarterback Tony Pike.

Going into the season, we knew Matt Moore was the starting quarterback of the Carolina Panthers. We also knew that Hunter Cantwell was the only other player on the roster with the “QB” suffix attached to his name.

Fast-forward to the weekend of the NFL Draft, and we knew the Panthers officially had four quarterbacks on the roster — only one with something of an identity.

Rookie quarterback Tony Pike might be what some might term a late-round steal. fellow rookie Jimmy Clausen however, is looked upon as the heir successor to the starting job in Carolina, once Moore no longer has the job. But who’s the odd man out, should the Panthers decide to retain only three quarterbacks on the official 53-man roster?

The one good thing — if you want to call it that — is that of the quarterbacks on the roster, we are already familiar with the two who will definitely remain, while two are located in a more shady area of uncertainty.

Right now, the coaching staff is leaning more towards Cantwell being the No. 3 option behind Clausen. I didn’t se a whole lot from Cantwell against Baltimore that gave me a lot of confidence in the second-year undrafted quarterback, but he does have more experience in the system, and in the very unfortunate circumstance that he might have to start, would be able to put a drive together and hopefully not toss a pick at the opposition’s 20-yard line. In both players’ defense, weather was a factor for Cantwell and Pike.

Pike’s circumstance coming into the NFL made nothing any easier on him. The University of Cincinnati runs on a quarter-system, which for anyone who isn’t familiar, breaks the year into three terms instead of the more traditional semester, where one might have the ability to graduate at the end of the fall semester, as opposed to the spring semester.

It is a little bit (of pressure). But at the same time, that’s what the NFL is about; when you get your chance, you have to maximize it. You see guys in the past like Tom Brady who fill in for an injury and never look back. My goal is, whether I get one rep or 20 reps, to make the most of each one. And that’s what I’m trying to do out there. –Rookie Quarterback Tony Pike

The NFL has a rule in place against draftees participating with an NFL club until final exams have ended. That cost Pike two valuable weeks of practice and possibly a legitimate chance at winning the third spot on the depth chart.

It’s not anybody’s fault; that’s just what the rules are. He’s a smart guy that’s played a lot of college football. He’s learning our system, and I think he’s doing fine. –Head Coach, John Fox

At No. 4 on the depth chart, Pike will likely see little-to-no action Saturday night against the New York Jets. His next real opportunity could very well be in two weeks when Carolina travels to Heinz Field for the preseason finale at the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the meantime, he’ll have to keep fresh in practice.

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Tags: Carolina Panthers Hunter Cantwell Jimmy Clausen John Fox New York Jets NFL Pittsburgh Steelers Tony Pike

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