Carolina Panthers: Evaluating the Quarterbacks


Not as scheduled (unfortunately we hit a glitch somewhere that delayed this post–my profound apologies), today we will take a look at the quarterback position on the Carolina Panthers.

Understandably, the quarterback position was a hot topic in 2009.

Going into the 2009 offseason, longtime starter Jake Delhomme arguably turned in the worst performance of his career, in probably the most meaningful game of his career, against the Arizona Cardinals in the playoffs.

Here I am still referencing that game, and neither the Panthers nor the Cardinals are in the playoffs at this point a year later.

But Delhomme is still a quarterback with the Panthers. To what extent we do not know at this time. Going into the 2010 camps and preseason, I’d like to see a competitive and very open competition between Delhomme and Matt Moore, and give Hunter Cantwell some time as well. This team needs a reliable No. 2 QB if Delhomme is not “the man” for that position, either.

At this point in time, the team will have five quarterbacks on the roster: Jake Delhomme, Matt Moore, A.J. Feeley, Hunter Cantwell, and Josh McCown.

Since John Fox will remain the head coach for 2010, I don’t see Feeley staying beyond the one-year contract he signed with the Panthers. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back with the Philadelphia Eagles come springtime. Reason being, Fox has been a backer of McCown for a number of years.

So looking into the future, we can most likely be assured that the Panthers will retain everyone but Feeley. Which I feel to be a mistake, because I know Feeley has proven himself and his body of work speaks for itself. If it were my choice to be made, I’d look to keep Feeley for a couple years and move on without either Delhomme or McCown.

Since Delhomme is under contract for two more years, the realistic option would be to trade or dump McCown. I don’t see either happening.

I don’t feel very confident that the Panthers will make drafting a quarterback a high priority. I feel strongly that the competition will be kept between Moore and Delhomme, and should Moore win the starting job (I hope he does)–after seeing his duress under pressure and not letting defenses rattle his brain–I know he can lead this team into the playoffs.

A position the team should consider drafting for in the second round, would be wide receiver. But who should they draft?

Looking at mock drafts–mind you I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket there, either–Notre Dame’s Golden Tate looks to fall into the second-round, based primarily on his 40-yard time. If it’s a high time, he’s projected to fall to the second round. If not, then he could very well be gone by the time the Panthers get around to making their first selection of the draft.

I digress, the wide receiver analysis and draft day needs will be addressed at a later date.

A new rumor circulating around Philadelphia, is that the Eagles could be looking to trade one or two of it’s quarterbacks. Donovan McNabb has been mentioned; Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick are also names in the mill.

Might any of these quarterbacks be of potential interest to the Panthers? If any of them, I would say Vick or McNabb.

Kevin Kolb is a young quarterback, close in age to Matt Moore. I don’t see the Panthers going for another quarterback who essentially brings the same element to the field that they already have in Moore.

McNabb could be of interest, because he would have one special weapon here in Carolina that he’s never had in Philadelphia…DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin combined, do not equal one Steve Smith. The Panthers also have an offensive line unlike Philadelphia’s, and a very field-able tight end corps. McNabb would not be looked at as long-term potential in Carolina, so I doubt the Panthers would have much if any interest in him.

As for Michael Vick–personal history aside–he could bring a fourth dimension to the Panthers’ offense. Carolina has never had a quarterback who could lineup as such and have the elusive ability to run the ball himself. Vick has also shown that his passing mechanics can be honed some more and he could become a little more accurate of a passer.

Something McNabb and Vick can do as well–they both have the ability to move the pocket and are both fairly accurate passers on the run.

At any rate, I do feel fairly confident in the personnel at the quarterback position at this time, at least for Matt Moore, whom I would love to see earn the right to take over the starting job.

No, he hasn’t earned the right to assume that role yet, but he did clearly prove why he deserves the chance to claim the right in his five starts for the Panthers to end the season.

He had very strong performances, he was involved in only one loss (at the New England Patriots), he makes smart decisions, he doesn’t get rattled easily, he threw only one or two interceptions in five games, and against teams that usually have very good defenses.

The Minnesota Vikings were rated with a strong defense, the Patriots have always had a formidable defense, and even though the New Orleans Saints were resting most of their starting players, Moore didn’t have the luxury of throwing to Steve Smith. Who did he throw one touchdown pass to? wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett.

In the end, I’d like to see more time under center for Josh McCown and Hunter Cantwell. It would be nice to keep either of these guys, or maybe see Cantwell get moved into the lineup on gameday.

I don’t see very much if anything changing at the quarterback position this year. Possibly next year, but the Panthers won’t have Tim Tebow or Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen on it’s roster come April.

Check-in daily for Panthers’ news, rumors, and updates! Check back Wednesday morning when we will look at the offensive line(up).