I am writing my column for Thursday's newspaper and online on Mike Shula, the Panthers' new quarterback coach.
Shula is charged with the daily supervision of Cam Newton and Jimmy Clausen. It's not his decision who starts, but he's the one most responsible for getting them ready.
I'll have a lot about that in my column, but here are a few quotes from Shula on Newton, Clausen and Derek Anderson (we didn't talk about Tony Pike, since Shula has barely seen him due to a shoulder injury). He is complimentary of all three, but I think by reading this you can get at least a little sense of how each one stands in Shula's mind entering the first preseason game Saturday night:
JIMMY CLAUSEN: “Jimmy has really worked very hard and has a good feel for what we’re asking him to do. Got a good sense of timing. A strong arm. Kind of getting used to the fact that every throw is a little bit different. You can’t throw everything on a line, like a short throw, just as hard as you can. So he’s still learning on all that, and on the ins and outs of the protections.
“Every player will say after their first year they will take the biggest jump from year one to year two. We all know the Panthers didn’t have a good year in 2010 and as quarterback he was a leader of that team. But his mindset is he’s going to get better because of that, and that’s the approach you’ve got to take.”
CAM NEWTON: “The biggest change for him, I would think, is what they did at Auburn last year is they really had no-huddle offense and a silent count. Now he’s got to verbalize everything.
“Like Jimmy, he has a really good grasp of our concepts. Both of them have good vision. Cam, because he’s so big, one of his assets is that he sees things really quickly. Like most rookies, he, is getting used to speed of the defense, and the disguised coverages, and trying to react quicker to what he sees.”
DEREK ANDERSON: “He probably knows the offense better than I know it just because he’s been with Chud [coach Rob Chudzinski] at Cleveland. Got a very fast mind.
“Really understands all the throws. Good tempo. A true pro, understands what you need to do to prepare to be a quarterback, which is different in my opinion than any other position. Very helpful in meetings. Hasn’t gotten many reps yet, but we need to get him some more.”