I wrote a long, in-depth profile of Jimmy Clausen in today's Charlotte Observer. But one thing I found interesting in my research but did not get into fully was how difficult it has been for Notre Dame quarterbacks to succeed in the NFL over the past 20 years.
The last Notre Dame quarterback to make the Pro Bowl in the NFL was... wait for it... Steve Beuerlein, when he had that one fantastic, 36-TD year in coach George Seifert's offense with Carolina in 1999.
But think about all the disappointments before and after Beuerlein. Rick Mirer was the overall No.2 pick in the draft. He flopped. Ron Powlus wasn't regarded that highly, but many thought he'd be a good NFL QB. He flopped. In fact, he was Clausen's position coach at Notre Dame, until Charlie Weis and the whole staff got fired. Powlus is now the quarterback coach for the Akron Zips.
Brady Quinn? I guess the jury is still out, but he sure didn't light it up in Cleveland once given the opportunity and got traded to Denver to help pave the way for Jake Delhomme to start in Cleveland this season.
Before Beuerlein, of course, there were some gems coming out of the Golden Dome. Joe Montana was the most notable -- he was arguably the best NFL QB of all time -- and Joe Theismann was also a Super Bowl winner.
A couple of other notes: It's interesting to me the heavy pro- and anti-Clausen sentiment out there. Simply writing about him brings out the Clausen haters in force (check the comments below the story). I'm neither a hater or lover of Clausen -- I just felt we owed our readers a thorough look at the first quarterback the Panthers have used a top-3 draft choice on since Kerry Collins in 1995.
As for the occasional commenters who have complained we don't write enough about Matt Moore, I will point this out again -- Moore was the main story (with a big picture) the first day of camp, and we have thoroughly covered his rise to the No.1 spot (which I believe he will hold all year unless injured) with long stories like this one.
And, if you've forgotten, I will lastly point out that I was one of the first people to call for Delhomme's benching in 2009, when the Panthers started 0-3 and I wrote a much-discussed column about why Carolina should turn to Moore. (It took John Fox eight more games to do so, however, and even then only because of Jake's finger injury). So this Clausen story isn't about trying to stir up an anti-Moore force. Moore is the best QB the Panthers have right now.