The joy of being 1-0 following a long, agonizing season in 2008 can’t last forever. When week two rolls around, the Bucs will enter the game with a better record compared to the Panthers, but that necessarily doesn’t mean they are the better team.
Carolina played hard the entire first half against the New York Giants, and even managed to hold onto the lead for some time. Despite the loss, the Panthers look to be a pretty good ball club, except for one problem that ended up costing them the game in the second half.
The quarterback position, which is currently owned by Matt Moore, appears to be the team’s Achilles heel.
The running back position, without a doubt, is one of the best around the league. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart are two of the top backs in the league, and are tough to contain when they get going. At receiver, the Panthers aren’t filled with talent, but they do have one of the league’s premier weapons, Steve Smith. But if the quarterback can’t deliver the ball to Smith and the other receivers, then the Panthers offense is strictly a run-first unit, which allows the opposing defense to pinpoint when and where to send the pressure on every down.
However, towards the end of the Panthers’ season opener, Moore took a blind side hit from Giants’ defensive end Osi Umenyiora. The hit knocked him out of the game, leaving him with a concussion.
The NFL’s new guidelines for players who are suffering from a concussion are much more strict then before, and he will need to pass a series of tests by next weekend in order to be allowed to suit up.
In Tampa Bay’s case, this creates two situations.
Who will be the starting quarterback - Matt Moore or Jimmy Clausen?
Preparing for an NFL game is no easy task, and when you have to plan for possibly two different quarterbacks, the work leading up to the game isn’t going to be too easy.
In my opinion, Carolina would best be suited with Clausen taking over the offense, but the only way I suspect he will get the starting gig is if Moore is unable to play in the game.
The Notre Dame alum and 2010 draft pick has never appeared in an NFL game, but all signs point to him being ready to step in.
Clausen is a more athletic threat then Moore, throwing better off the run, and possibly has a better arm than his counterpart.
The decision to start Clausen probably won’t happen this week, unless Moore is unable to go, but don’t be surprised if you see the rookie come in at any point during the Tampa Bay-Carolina game this Sunday.