Panthers coach John Fox just startled the media corps in Charlotte by announcing that Jimmy Clausen would start the home game against Cincinnati Sunday.
Fox generally holds his cards very close to the vest on all personnel decisions, particularly at quarterback. He usually doesn't announce the QB starter until late in the week to force the other team to prepare for both QBs. For instance, he didn't announce Matt Moore as last week's starter until Thursday (following Moore's concussion).
Fox is trying something new this week, though. Saying the Panthers needed a "spark" and simply weren't getting it done with the passing game, he told the team and then the media Monday that the rookie QB from Notre Dame would start against the Bengals.
I like the move -- and the way Fox will give the team almost a full week to get used to it. No doubt they are changing horses in midstream here (at least temporarily), but that stream was leading over a cliff anyway. At 0-2, the Panthers have sustained consecutive 13-point losses and look like a team headed toward a 4-12 season in the first two weeks.
Moore, with six turnovers in two games, needs to sit. Fox kept saying this wasn't an "indictment" of Moore, that all of the offense was at fault, but when you lose your job, that's not exactly a hearty well-done, either.
I think Moore has lost confidence -- much like Jake Delhomme did here in 2009 and David Carr once did. Clausen still has his confidence, and he deserves this shot.
11 months ago