With 2012 Carolina Panthers quarterback coach Mike Shula now overseeing the offensive coordinator duties, there’s a good chance that he’ll try to keep the quarterback depth chart intact for the time being.
While former No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton is entrenched as the starter, backup Derek Anderson is headed for free agency. The Panthers, however, are likely to make the necessary moves to keep their backup in the same role heading into 2013.
Over the past two seasons, Anderson’s snaps have been severely limited behind a dynamic playmaker in Newton. He has thrown only four passes during his stay in Carolina, all of which were completed for 58 yards.
It’s been a long road for Anderson, who has played for four teams in eight seasons in the NFL. The former sixth-round pick was a starter for the Cleveland Browns from 2006 to 2009, including a Pro Bowl bid in 2007. Although he’s not a starter in Carolina, Anderson has found a solid backup job, an ideal fit considering his age and lack of elite talent.
The only real lure that could take Anderson away from the Panthers is the Browns starting job. With former Carolina offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski now the head coach of the Browns, Anderson could receive offers to return to his old stomping grounds to push Brandon Weeden for the starting gig. The weak quarterback market and draft class could also elevate his stock.
More than anything, the Panthers need to bring Anderson back because moving Jimmy Clausen up to the No. 2 spot would not be an ideal move. Clausen has never given the team any reason to believe he’s a capable NFL quarterback, so having him as the main fallback plan behind Newton seems ill-advised.
The Panthers need to maintain some continuity if they hope to find stability moving forward. With Anderson behind Newton, they have a reliable backup who has proven that he can deliver when thrust into the lineup.