The Carolina Panthers entered the fourth preseason game with the back-up quarterback position a toss-up between two players: Derek Anderson, a nine-year veteran who reached the Pro Bowl in 2007 with the Cleveland Browns, and Jimmy Clausen, a fourth year player who has only seen one full season of play time for the Panthers.
It’s obvious Cam Newton has the starting position locked up, and will keep that spot unless he gets injured. However, a big change from last year was the change in general manager. The Panthers hired Dave Gettleman from the New York Giants. What’s unique about Gettleman’s methods is that he is known for only selecting two quarterbacks for the active roster, meaning Anderson or Clausen could be looking for another team within the next few days.
Anderson started the last preseason game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Panthers came out firing with four passing plays and only one running play. Anderson led the Panthers down the field completing four of four passes including a touchdown throw to Tedd Ginn. Anderson looked comfortable under the center and was throwing with confidence. In the second quarter Anderson kept the tempo going connecting with Ginn for an 87-yard-touchdown pass. Anderson and Ginn had a fantastic game proving they deserve to hold a spot on the final 53-man roster.
Clausen came into the game just before the half and returned to finish the game. He was struggling a lot more than Anderson. Clausen was drafted out of Notre Dame in 2010 with high hopes considering the Panthers were in desperate need for a good QB and the fighting Irish had an offense that was similar to the NFL. Once entering the game, Clausen immediately was having trouble finding his wide receivers and protecting the football. The majority of his drives ended in a three and out, and he coughed up two fumbles, only recovering one of them.
Anderson has been in the league for nine years. Five of those nine years he started five or more games. He made his debut in Cleveland in 2006. Over his career, Anderson has thrown for 53 touchdowns and 55 interceptions. Clausen, on the other hand, only had one season in the NFL with five or more games started. He took over for Matt Moore as the starting quarterback for Panthers in 2010. In that season he threw for only three touchdowns and nine interceptions. It would appear that on paper, Anderson would be the more logical choice to select for the back-up QB position. He has more experience, and has had at least one successful season with an NFL team. On the field he has also proven that he is the better candidate for the job, especially in this last game of the preseason throwing for over 200 yards and two touchdowns in just two quarters. Although it is usually difficult to cut players from the roster, it seems deciding who to cut won’t be so hard this time.