Panthers going too slow with Clausen

Colleague John Clayton drew the trip to Charlotte this time. I was there for last month’s minicamp. I’m just hoping Carolina equipment manager Jackie Miles rolled out the welcome wagon for Clayton the way he did for me.

From what I saw when I was in Charlotte and what I’ve heard since, I’m in total agreement with Clayton’s assessment of the rookie receivers, the depth at linebacker, the pass-rush situation and the strength on the offensive line.

The only part of Clayton’s column that made me raise an eyebrow wasn’t really an analysis by Clayton, who is the best in the business. It was the mere fact that he wrote that rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen still is working with the third team. Hunter Cantwell is working second behind Matt Moore.

This is vintage John Fox, making a rookie pay his dues. In this case, I don’t agree with it. Let’s be honest, there’s a very real chance Cantwell isn’t on the team at the start of the season. The Panthers also used a draft pick on quarterback Tony Pike, who is the favorite for the No. 3 spot.

The Panthers have made it clear they plan to open the season with Moore as starter, but there’s no doubt Clausen will open as backup. In his first week or two in the system, it made sense to let Clausen take turns behind Cantwell, who was familiar with the offense. But Clausen should be familiar with the offense now and the Panthers aren’t helping his development by making him work with a bunch of third-string guys who probably won’t make the team.