Moore vs. Clausen

I figured the Panthers would have themselves a QB controversy coming into this year after we drafted Jimmy Clausen. However, this is the wrong kind of QB controversy I wanted to be in. Instead of trying to decide which QB is better we are wondering which one is the lesser of two evils. Earlier this week, John Fox made the decision to start Matt Moore this week against San Francisco which has Panthers fans in an uproar. I can understand why they are upset because going with Clausen seems to be the right move in terms of rebuilding but the fact of the matter is he has looked awful so far. Then again, Moore hasn’t looked much better so why exactly would Fox want to start a QB who is likely going to be out of the NFL by next year? Good question. Let’s take a look and see who exactly “gives us the best chance to win.”

Matt Moore


Moore experience as the Panthers QB and is 6-2 as a starter. The stats show that he’s been slightly more successful than Clausen when it comes to the team moving the ball down field. The stats from the Giants and Bucs games show that we had a higher first down efficiency than the last three games combined. Granted, the percentages with Moore (37%, 47%) are not terribly impressive, they were still better than when Clausen was the QB. Moore also throws a good deep ball and I think he is better the vertical passing game than Clausen. Panthers fans also know that we’ve won before with him at QB.


My biggest gripe with Moore is that he can not read a defense or make adjustments at the line of scrimmage before the play. He doesn’t take notice of what package the defense is in, he doesn’t recognize what kind of coverage they have or call audibles to adjust to them. That’s not what you want to see from an NFL QB. He also has shown poor decision making at the QB position. He’s thrown 4 bad interceptions this season as a result of that. This is a problem resulting from inability to read defenses and him always wanting to go for “the big play.” Most of the time, he doesn’t check down to his #2 and 3 targets and just chucks it down field and hopes for the best.

Jimmy Clausen


Clausen is still a rookie and his ceiling remains higher than Moore’s as far as I’m concerned. He knows how to use all of his targets to his advantage and seemed to be progressing as a QB until that Bears game. Naturally, in a rebuilding season you would want to go with the guy that’s going to be the franchise QB, soon. That guy should be Clausen given his talent and draft hype. However, he hasn’t exactly looked like it in his first three starts. That brings us to the next portion.


As I said earlier, Clausen certainly hasn’t looked like the “franchise QB” we’ve been expecting. He’s bobbled snaps, fumbled 7 times (lost two of them), has demonstrated somewhat poor pocket awareness, commit big time rookie mistakes like throw low passes and stare down receivers and has only one TD pass compared to three picks. Yikes! Obviously, these are typical growing pains that all rookies go through but Clausen’s hype as an “NFL ready QB” certainly hasn’t shown yet. However, this is only through three starts so closing the book on him now isn’t a good idea.


What should we do?

Here’s the way I see it. Fox knows that this is Moore’s last chance as a starting QB for this team so he wants to give him one more shot to determine if he’s finished or not. If his start is anything like the games against New York and Tampa Bay then he is probably done. Clausen still has a bright future ahead of him (hopefully) so we can always turn to him later in the year. Right now, he hasn’t looked like he’s ready to be an NFL QB so letting him sit isn’t a bad idea. The problem is that he’s going to be learning from Matt Moore which probably isn’t good. This is why a lot of people wanted us to bring in a back-up QB this off-season and I think we should do that next season when Moore leaves.

The offense’s struggles don’t rest completely on Moore and Clausen’s shoulders since the offensive line has been terrible (17 sacks) and our running game hasn’t been living up to it’s potential. Then there’s our joke of a receiving corps which has been living up to it’s name. Everyone has to be better, and that goes for Moore and Clausen, too.


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