Jimmy Clausen had a rough outing last week agaisnt New Orleans in a relief role. (Photo by John Clark)
CHARLOTTE -- The Carolina Panthers will look a whole lot different on offense Sunday when they visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Coach John Fox named Jimmy Clausen the team’s starting quarterback, while Mike Goodson will make his first career start at running back.
“I didn’t have a lot of doubts about that earlier this week,” Fox said of starting Clausen over Tony Pike. “But we wanted to get the guys out here practicing, see how they went about their business and I thought Jimmy had an outstanding day.”
Clausen was thrilled over the news and believes he’s up to the task.
He lost his previous three starts for the Panthers and has thrown only one touchdown and four interceptions on the season, but thinks sitting the last few games out and watching Matt Moore play was a good thing. But he admits he’s still learning to play at this level.
“I think the game has slowed down just a little bit, not as drastic as I’ve hoped for but at the same time just being on the sidelines it has slowed down for me,” Clausen said.
Clausen said defenses, particularly the Saints last week, are giving him a lot of different looks and he has to do a better job of recognizing them. For instance, last week Saints safety Darren Sharper would show blitz and then drop into coverage just before the snap. At the same time other defenders were on the move, too.
"I have to get comfortable with what defenses are trying to do to you, what their disguises are," Clausen said. "Because they are holding disguises a lot longer than they did in college. Just trying to understand their philosophy, going out, getting adjusted to the speed and just playing football."
Pike, who saw his first action in the fourth quarter of Carolina’s loss to New Orleans, didn’t seem too surprised by the decision.
“Obviously, as a competitor you want to be the guy,” Pike said. “But for me in the business, you don’t have time to sulk or be down about anything. I think it’s a good showing Sunday that you have to be ready no matter what, no matter where you are on the depth chart.”
Along with Armanti Edwards, who will be the team's third quarterback, the Panthers will suit up three rookie quarterbacks, becoming the first NFL team with three rookies on their game-day roster since at least 1991, the year STATS, LLC. began tracking such information.
As for Moore (see related story), he said he’ll have surgery in about 10 days and won’t throw for about four to six months.
“Physically, I’m sore,” said Moore, who went on injured reserve Monday. “Mentally, it’s tough. You don’t expect these things going into it.”
Moore said it’s hard to put how disappointing this season has been into words.
“I don’t know if there’s a big old word that sounds nasty to describe it, but it’s definitely hard," he said.
Goodson, a former third-round draft pick, said he’s been told he’ll start with DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Tyrell Sutton all expected to miss Sunday’s game. All three players missed practice Wednesday, leaving Goodson to carry the load along with a pair of newcomers Josh Vaughan and Andre Brown.
“Those are my boys and to see them go down was bad,” Goodson said of the loss of the other three backs. “But I kind of have a chip on my shoulder. It’s like I got these guys back, and I’m going to make it happen.”
Goodson said he believes he brings a big-play threat to the Carolina offense, something they desperately need considering they’re ranked last in the league in total offense and scoring.
“That’s what I can’t wait to show,” Goodson said. “It changes games, you know what I mean.”
That said, Goodson has been limited to just 50 yards on 16 carries.