Needful things? Our Expectations at Quarterback.


Now that we have Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen, what do we truly need?

The Carolina Panthers entered the draft with all the noise on observations of, “…with their quarterback situation, they are going to have to answer that in the Draft somehow, without a first-round pick.”

So off to the war room Hurney, Fox and crew went. Of course everyone else had low expectations for us (as usual). But by some strange turn of events we ended up with two and a half quarterbacks. And oddly enough, we ended up with two Quarterbacks (Clausen and Tony Pike) that many mock drafts had going in the first-round. As a bonus, we also ended up with the electric Armanti Edwards, who is currently considered a “project” at the wide receiver position. To be honest, I personally am looking forward to seeing what Edwards can do.

So, it would seemed with the stable of young quarterbacks, we seem to be set up very well for the “Franchise Quarterback” to emerge. Maybe the next “Peyton Manning” will even arise in the coming season. Who knows? Anything can happen.

But getting back to reality, what is it that we really NEED for Moore or Clausen or even Pike to be?

As a Panther fan, I must admit that there have been a lot of certain moments that I am sitting there wondering, “Why can’t we be one of those teams with a quarterback that brings fear to every secondary in the league? A Brees, Manning or even that guy from New Eng….or wherever.”

I took a look at the last two years of Panther Football, and as a comparison, I stood it beside the New Orleans Saints. The main reason being the obvious success and the fact that they do face the same teams we do. One stat really stuck out to me. Turnover Ratio! Ours really was not so different, but the Saints had completely turned theirs around over the last two years. While it is true that the Saints’ defense did contribute a lot to that, the other hand in hand fact, Brees took care of the ball. Of course Brees does a remarkable job as a quarterback, but just being a smart quarterback and taking care of the ball is an obvious fact of life on the Grid Iron. In our case, we did not do a good job of this last season and our defense, as they became more and more acclimated to the Ron Meeks scheme, were creating turnovers and in turn salvaging our own turnover ratio.

My point is this. No matter what you see or hear, temper your expectations of Moore or Clausen this year. This team does not actually need a “Peyton Manning” right now. Yes we are a “Run First” team, but if you go and look at the numbers, the difference between pass plays and run plays is not very much. Even looking at the numbers for New Orleans, a “Pass First” team, the difference is almost the same just inversed. Temper your expectations and keep in mind that it will be more important that Moore or Clausen will have to take care of the ball.

I do expect that Fox will have something of a leash on the starting QB for a bit, so I would not look for big passing festivals just yet. Remember that the experience of the receiving corps is at a minimum right now so that will make things a bit tougher for the starter.

Until it is seen that Tyke Tolbert has the young receivers truly ready to make an impact, Smitty will see the same old double and triple teams, and Double Trouble will see eight in the box. Pass protection will have to be able to keep the QB upright and comfortable. Until all the Football 101 requirements are met, whoever starts will have to work doubly hard to “take care” of the football. So I do believe the first part of the season will be some trial and error with all the new and inexperienced components in place, so lets not expect incredible passing right away. If it does come into being, it will not be right away. Just hope that the starter will play some smart football and not give it away to the other guys. And give them time to be “Da Man!”

More and more you will read that the passing game is the big trend to winning games these days. It would be nice indeed, but I just do not see it as a requirement to a successful season. I know one thing though. You can have a terrific season and one game where a Quarterback does not take care of the ball can bring it to a crushing end. I think we learned that one the hard way.

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