Earlier today Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera announced that rookie Cam Newton will start the team’s second exhibition game against the Dolphins Friday night. It was the right move.
We know what Jimmy Clausen can do. We saw what Clausen did last season and have seen enough this year to know that Clause hasn’t vastly improved this season. The problem is the former Notre Dame quarterback just isn’t it. He doesn’t have that ‘it’ factor that you look for in a quarterback, he doesn’t command attention in the huddle and doesn’t seem to really be able to capture his teammates support.
Newton on the other hand seems to have captured his team, his coaches and the entire states of North Carolina and South Carolina’s attention. He has a personality that people flock to. He is confident and a true leader. And he has the approval of Steve Smith, which is a big deal if you want to succeed with the Panthers.
But Newton is pretty much an unknown. He only has a handful of practices and two quarters of NFL experience under his belt. But he has shown glimpses. He has shown the ability to be a game changer and bring much more to the table than Clausen ever could. Just look at Newton’s game against the Giants. He made some huge throws, throws that Clausen never could make, but he also looked shaky at times.
Sure Newton won’t be as consistent or accurate as Clausen may be. He may rush some passes, not go through all of his reads or fail to step up in the pocket, but he his big play ability and gives the Panthers a much better chance to win.
His size and athletic ability allow him to do things that no one else on the field can do, especially not Clausen.
At this point, it is just a waiting game until next week when Rivera announces Newton as the team’s opening day starter. Everything is pointing in that direction and I think that is what the coaches have wanted all along, Newton to be the starter. He is their man, not Clausen and their jobs are directly linked and intertwined with Newton’s career whether he succeeds or busts out.
But for the sake of the Carolina’s lets hope he succeeds not only this year but for many to come.