Clausen could get lost in numbers game

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Whether Jimmy Clausen makes the final 53-man roster for the Carolina Panthers remains in doubt.

But Clausen has nothing to be ashamed of, at least when you compare him to the top four quarterbacks selected in the 2010 NFL draft -- Sam Bradford No. 1, Tim Tebow No. 25 (1st), Clausen No. 48 (2nd) and Colt McCoy No. 85 (3rd).

It's less than stellar.

Of those four selected in the first three rounds -- we could look deeper but it doesn't get any better -- only Bradford with the St. Louis Rams is a starter. Only Clausen remains with the team that drafted him.

The combined record of these four is a dreadful 30-56-1. Tebow, 9-7 including a playoff win with Denver, is the only one with a winning record, and he's in danger of not making the cut at New England. Bradford is 15-26-1.

Again, less than stellar.

But let's focus on Clausen. Carolina coach Ron Rivera made it clear that veteran Derek Anderson will be Cam Newton's backup for the third straight season. Rivera was vague when asked if Clausen would remain the third quarterback again, saying it will come down to numbers.

The numbers put Clausen at risk because of injuries on the offensive line and a group of unproven players behind the top two receivers which is likely to force the Panthers to keep more numbers there.

Then there's new general manager Dave Gettleman. He came from a New York Giants organization that had a history of keeping only two quarterbacks.

None of this bodes well for a third-string quarterback with a 1-9 record as a starter.

"All I can ask for is an opportunity," said Clausen, who has completed 9 of 17 pass attempts for 93 yards and no touchdowns in the preseason. "When my name gets called to go out there, I have to be ready to execute. That's the biggest thing is to execute, make good decisions and move the chains."

Clausen likely will get that chance in Thursday night's preseason finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers. With starter Cam Newton unlikely to play more than one or two series -- if at all based on last year's finale in which he didn't dress -- Clausen and Anderson will carry the bulk of the load.

Unfortunately for Clausen, that will come with backups and backups to backups. So it's doubtful anything he does will make a huge difference regarding whether Carolina keeps him or not.

"That's a question for the GM and the head coach," Clausen said. "That's not for me to decide. All I'm worried about is practicing and trying to help the team get better, and just play my role on the team."

Whether Clausen will be on the team remains to be seen.