Why Clausen can succeed

Jimmy Clausen can be a reliable QB in this league, but Carolina will need some perspective. Getty Images

Last year, Mark Sanchez took the reins of the New York Jets, and from the get-go the word we heard associated with him was poise. Sanchez showed plenty of it, the Jets won nine games and even put a playoff scare into the eventual AFC champion Indianapolis Colts.

It was, by nearly all measures, a successful season -- even more so based on Sanchez's rookie status. Conveniently left aside is the reality that Sanchez, behind a solid offensive line and with a very good run game, completed 53.8 percent of his passes, had 20 INTs to go with his 12 TD passes and sported a 63.0 QB rating, good for 28th among qualifying starters. And again, this was a successful rookie season. But wins and losses obscure the reality of what it means to be a rookie. Just ask Peyton Manning, who tossed 28 INTs as a rookie.

Enter Jimmy Clausen.