Matt Moore has flown under the radar in the NFL ever since he arrived in Carolina in 2007. However, after Jake Delhomme got hurt last year, Moore once again got his chance to prove to Carolina that he was a worthy starting quarterback in the NFL. All Moore did was go 4-1 in his five starts as he threw eight touchdowns to just one interception. To put that in perspective, that’s as many touchdowns as Jake Delhomme threw in 11 starts last year for the Panthers. After a five game stretch like that, it seemed as if Carolina had indeed found their quarterback of the future to take over for the departed Jake Delhomme. Then, after Delhomme was released, it looked like the road was paved for Moore to become the new starting quarterback for the Panthers.
Not so fast. The arrival of decorated, former Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen makes it far from a slam dunk that Moore will be the one to take the reigns as starting quarterback in Carolina and it looks like once again Moore will have to prove himself worthy to the Panthers with a second round pick lurking in the shadows.
Matt Moore joined WFNZ in Charlotte with the Mac Attack to talk about the arrival of Jimmy Clausen, what he thinks of Clausen as a person and a player, what he expects his role to be, and what kind of team he thinks the Panthers will have this year.
On how he felt about the Panthers drafting Jimmy Clausen this year:
“You know, I don’t know. I shouldn’t say I didn’t have a feeling. I was kinda surprised to be honest with you. After thinking about it for a little bit, there was nothing I could do. Obviously as a player you wanna win, but you wanna play. It was one of those things where alright I gotta go play and there’s always gonna be competition, but I didn’t want to sit there and grind on it and dwell on it and kinda let it eat me alive. I was honest when I said I didn’t think much of it. I thought about it for a little bit and then I was kind of over it. I met him and Tony (Pike) at mini-camp and they were great and that’s it. It’s all good.”
On what he has heard from Head Coach John Fox and General Manager Marty Hurney:
“I think Coach Fox and Marty Hurney have told me the same exact thing that they’ve told you. I trust them and I feel that way. Is it gonna be a competition? Absolutely there’s gonna be a competition. That’s how it always is. There’s a competition at every position. I feel good though. I feel really confident, this offseason has been great, and I think the last thing I need to worry about is a QB competition in training camp. You know what I mean? I feel good with what we’ve done here as a whole and me personally, so that’s kinda the attitude I’m taking into training camp and we’ll go from there.”
On the fact that many people are counting him out already and not giving him any praise:
“That’s fine. I think that’s fine. I’ve kinda always flown under the radar here ever since I’ve been here. I kinda like it that way. You hear those things and I learned as soon as I got into the league, I’m so thankful I had a guy like Jake, because he told me ‘look you can’t get up and read the paper, you can’t go online and read about anything. You just can’t do it.’ He told me your life will be better if you don’t and he was right. You just kinda avoid that stuff and only handle what you can handle. I will say this about Clausen though; there’s a bunch of rumors going around about how he was personally and stuff like that, but the guy is a standup guy, he came in and worked hard, asked all the right questions, and is super advanced in the game. Things that I’ve heard off the field, I think are wrong. The guy is pretty sharp.”
On how he feels about the team and what people can expect:
“I’ll tell ya what? I’m so excited. It all starts up front and there’s some good guys up there that are working hard. Obviously everyone knows about the two-headed monster in the backfield, our tight ends are solid, and our receivers, there’s a lot of young talent. Everybody uses that word ‘young’ and people use it as an excuse, but we’re looking at it as kind of a catalyst. It’s gonna be kind of on fire, coming out screaming. These guys are eager and hungry, they have a great leader in Steve Smith, and I think we’re gonna have a good time and really push the ball downfield, which is a change, but always relying on the run game which is who we are. I love that. It’s gonna be an exciting year I think offensively for the Panthers.”