There's a chance Jimmy Clausen could be inactive Sunday against Arizona. (Photo by John Clark)
CHARLOTTE – Jimmy Clausen started 10 games last season for the Carolina Panthers, but there’s a chance he could be inactive for Sunday’s season opener against the Arizona Cardinals.
Coach Ron Rivera said it is “possible” he’ll only activate two quarterbacks on Sunday, which would allow the Panthers to keep an extra player up to help out on special teams or in another area.
Cam Newton will start and it's expected Derek Anderson will serve as his backup, although Rivera hasn't named his No. 2 guy.
In case something were to happen to his first two quarterbacks, Rivera said the Panthers could use either Armanti Edwards or Legedu Naanee since both have experience playing quarterback.
“We have options to look at and I’m not going to tell you,” Rivera said.
There are 13 teams across the NFL that are only carrying two quarterbacks this year on their 53-man roster, so activating only two wouldn’t be all that unusual.
Teams are allowed to activate 46 players on game day and no longer have to declare a third quarterback.
BEASON SITS OUT: Jon Beason sat out practice Thursday with soreness in his foot, but Rivera said he still expects Beason will play Sunday.
“He was a little bit more sore (Thursday) morning than anticipated,” Rivera said. “It was really precautionary… We went through the walkthrough phase this morning and we didn’t want to push our luck so we decided to hold him out.”
The news comes one day after Beason returned to practice on a limited basis.
The rest of the injury report remained the same with OG Mackenzy Bernadeau (turf toe) limited and WR Kealoha Pilares (ankle) and CB Josh Thomas (hamstring) sitting out.
HANGARTNER TO START: Rivera said Geoff Hangartner will start at right guard Sunday.
“He’s looked very well,” Rivera said. “And Bernadeau is taking backup reps. We wanted to be careful with Bernadeau as well because turf toe isn’t anything you want to mess around with.”
He said Bernadeau should be available in emergency situations.
CHECKING OUT KOLB: Chris Gamble said he’s been studying a lot of tape on Kevin Kolb and has picked up some tendencies.
“He kind of stares guys down a little bit,” Gamble said. “He tries to look you off a little bit, but not too long. He’s trying to get No. 11 (Larry Fitzgerald) the ball. If we can stop No. 11 we’ll be fine.”
Gamble wouldn’t say if he’d be matched up the entire game against Fitzgerald because he didn’t want to give away the team’s strategy.
“We have to man up and get pressure on Kolb and force him to get the ball out quick,” Gamble said.
HARDY A GUNNER AGAIN: The 6-foot-4, 277-pound Greg Hardy served as a gunner on punt coverage last year and it looks like the Panthers plan to use him again this year in that role.
“They told me before last week that because of the roster cuts I might have to get out there and do it,” Hardy said. “I’m pretty excited about it.”
OFFENSE GETTING COMPLEX: Steve Smith said the closer the Panthers get to the season opener the more complex the team’s offense is becoming.
“It’s like college,” Smith said. “I have flashcards and I’m constantly taking notes. It’s a new system for me as far as where we’ve been…. It takes some time to get used to.”
Smith said Rivera has emphasized all week how important it is for the Panthers to get off to a fast start.
“Set the tone early,” Smith said. “Not just for the game but also for the season.”