Column: The Panthers have to start Newton

I’ve maintained since the Panthers drafted Cam Newton first overall that he be the starting quarterback from day one. After one preseason game, I still maintain that sentiment.

True, Clausen is a “veteran”, but he had such a horrible season last year with a coaching staff and a system that’s no longer here. You could argue that Clausen is tainted — his development being neglected by John Fox’s staff and his being thrown to the wolves with little support. Can he ever recover? Ask David Carr.

At this point it makes sense to start Newton over Clausen. He’s got more mobility, he’s taller and he’s got a stronger arm. His development is paramount to this team’s future success. Playing Clausen only delays Newton’s growth. Clausen is a young quarterback as well — so why would you waste time (no offense, Jimmy) developing him when you could focus on Newton?

And to be fair to Clausen, this offense has more weapons than Jimmy had last season. Clausen was forced to work in an archaic offense that was riddled with injuries across the board. The new offense, while it’s still early, already has a more seasoned WR in Naanee, two former Pro Bowl TEs in Shockey and Olsen and an aggressive offensive mind calling the plays. Chudzinski turned Derek Anderson into a Pro Bowler — that in itself is reason to be excited.

The Panthers should take this opportunity to start Newton from the beginning. Let him grow and learn on the field while he’s shielded and surrounded by a great running game and competent receiving options.

It’s really the only option.