One of the first things Ron Rivera did when he arrived in Carolina was try to assess how the Panthers bottomed out, finishing 2-14 and grabbing hold of the No. 1 pick in the draft.
He asked questions. He watched tape. He added the two together.
“I tried to listen to as many people and tried to figure out what had happened. Tried to watch as much tape and really take everything that was said to me, and evaluate it and decide what I believed. What I agreed with, what I disagreed with and draw my own conclusion,” Rivera said, according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer.
“And I think he got too much of the blame,” Rivera continued. “I think he shouldered too much of the responsibility. We have to – as I said before – continue to evaluate the process and see if there is somewhere that he fits for us. And we'll go through and see.”
That’s the life of a quarterback in the NFL. They get too much praise when things are going well and take too big of a hit when the team stinks. It doesn’t mean Rivera and the Panthers are going to plot their future with the second-round draft pick from Notre Dame a year ago.
Rivera has been very up front. The slate has been wiped clean for players remaining from the John Fox era. Everyone will be given a chance. That doesn’t mean Clausen will be given the first chance. The Panthers are exploring quarterback options and even if the team does not draft one with the No. 1 pick, look for Carolina to seek an option other than Clausen. That’s just the way it is.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune