Steve Smith stops short of bashing Jimmy Clausen

Steve Smith is frustrated in Carolina.

And there can’t be a single person who is surprised by that development.

Get used to it. As long as the Panthers roll with rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen, a second-round draft pick, he will probably be disappointed.

Smith didn’t catch his first pass in Sunday’s 20-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals until the fourth quarter. He finished with three receptions for 22 yards. Maybe Smith is maturing, though, because he didn’t lash out at Clausen after the game. Sure, Smith was seen jawing a little on the sideline, but as Darin Gantt of the Charlotte Observer reported, he was rather subdued afterward.

“I wouldn't necessarily call it frustrated; just disappointed, let down," Smith said. "If they throw a ball, they're going to throw me the ball. I've still got a job to do. I think I ran some pretty good routes. You've got to evaluate yourself. I'm a horrible quarterback, a terrible defensive back. I'm not going to tackle at linebacker. My best job is a wide receiver, and I'm going to run the routes they call.

"And hopefully they're sufficient and the ball comes. If it does, I'll try to catch it, and if it doesn't, I can't catch air."

Maybe most interesting was the fact that Smith stopped short of piling the blame on Clausen

"I don't think it's a rookie quarterback's the problem," he said.

It’s going to be a while in Carolina before it gets better. We’ll see how Smith holds up over the test of time.

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