In a lockout shortened year, it was supposed to be tough for rookie quarterbacks to have success with the shortened training camp. Cam did OK, to say the least. He broke the mold for rookie quarterbacks, and Ron Rivera was definitely pleased.
“He handled the situation very well. I think the plan we put into place with developing our quarterback went well. I thought they handled that in a positive manner,” Rivera said. “Showing up early, staying late, doing the extra things that were needed, working certain things out on his own. He really exceeded the expectations of a lot of people. And the success he had was a lot sooner than we did expect from him. But we felt the young man had certain abilities and he most certainly did show them.”
Cam did not have the job when training camp started, because the Panthers had drafted Jimmy Clausen the year before.
“Jimmy Clausen and Cam got all the snaps,” Rivera said. “If there was 100 snaps that day, it was 50-50. Whereas if you’d brought a veteran guy in, you may have cut those reps. So we really didn’t try to cut reps. Everything we did was geared toward the development of our young quarterbacks.”
It became clear very soon that Clausen was not the answer, and so the coaching staff went back to the drawing board and added some plays that Auburn ran to help Cam’s transition.
“I don’t know if we changed as much as we added,” Rivera said about the tweaked offense. “If you go back and look at the things we did offensively and the different types of pass plays off of play-action, drop-back passes, and then incorporating some of the spread offense that he was used to seeing. Our coaches went back and studied some of the Auburn things and looked at that and adapted that to our playbook.”