A player, coach or issue that should be on your radar as training camp approaches.
There’s a chance some of you have never even heard of Rip Scherer. If you haven’t, go ahead and put him on your radar.
He’s the quarterbacks coach for the Carolina Panthers and that could ultimately put him in a position to influence whether John Fox, who is in the last year of his contract, stays or goes.
Scherer joined the Panthers last year after long-time quarterbacks coach Mike McCoy took a promotion with Denver. Scherer wasn’t able to solve the problems that started for quarterback Jake Delhomme at the end of the 2008 season, but I don’t think you can hang that on Scherer. Whatever Delhomme’s problem was, it was something within him. Delhomme’s gone now.
That means Scherer is starting with essentially a fresh slate. Matt Moore is the only quarterback with any experience and he’ll go to camp as the heavy favorite to open the season as the starter. The Panthers have high hopes for second-round draft pick Jimmy Clausen, but it probably would take a horrible preseason by Moore and a great one from Clausen for there to be a switch at the top of the depth chart. Rookie Tony Pike and Hunter Cantwell will be battling for the No. 3 job.
That’s a lot of youth and that means Scherer will have to do a lot of teaching. After a lengthy run as a college assistant, Scherer worked as head coach at James Madison and Memphis and first worked in the NFL in 2005 when he joined the Cleveland Browns, where he learned the same system coordinator Jeff Davidson now runs in Carolina.
There is no doubt Moore and Clausen have some talent, but it’s going to be up to Scherer to get them “coached up’’ quickly. With a very strong running game, a good offensive line and wide receiver Steve Smith, steady, mistake-free play could make a quarterback a big success in this system. Scherer’s job is to have Moore and/or Clausen ready.