CHARLOTTE – Rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen "more than likely" will make his second start when the Panthers visit the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, head coach John Fox said Monday.
While Fox wasn't pleased with the offense's performance following a second consecutive 20-7 home loss -- the latest one coming to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday -- Fox didn't pin blame on Clausen.
"Much like earlier things I've said, I don't think that our issues have all been the quarterback," said Fox, who complimented Clausen on his ability to quickly get rid of the ball. "The bottom line is that we haven't played well enough as a team to win yet."
Fox identified the team's turnover troubles as the glaring issue in the team's offensive struggles. The Panthers have committed an NFL-high 12 turnovers through three games and are tied with the Baltimore Ravens for the worst turnover ratio at minus-six.
Clausen officially played a role in three of the four turnovers against the Bengals thanks in part to a fumble by running back Mike Goodson on a handoff being credited to Clausen by the official scorer.
Clausen threw an interception, and he also mishandled a snap for another turnover. He actually fumbled two snaps, though Panthers left guard Travelle Wharton fell on the second one to avert another turnover.
Clausen had some difficulties handling snaps in training camp as well but characterized the problems Sunday as isolated incidents.
"In training camp, I was working with different centers, but Ryan (Kalil) is a real good center, a Pro Bowl center," Clausen said. "The first one, it was just a wet ball, and I need to handle that. The second one, I just pulled out. He was getting the ball back fine. Those were on me."
While Clausen said he wasn't worried about problems with the exchange going forward, Fox said the Panthers would continue to work on it – just like everything else.
"We probably have 70 to 80 of those a day. I'm not sure we can practice it 24/7, but we will continue to work that because it has been an issue," Fox said. "We need to work on it – and not just him."
A day after Clausen's first NFL start, in which he completed 16 of 33 passes for 188 yards, Clausen said he came out of the game in good shape physically despite absorbing some hard hits.
"I'm a little sore, but nothing too major. Everyone is pretty sore after a tough game," he said. "I've just got to get better from that game. I've got to learn from those mistakes, and now it's time to move on to the Saints."
Fox said the Panthers sustained just one injury of note against Cincinnati. Reserve linebacker Jamar Williams suffered a neck injury when he collided helmet-to-helmet with fullback Tony Fiammetta while covering the Panthers' first punt of the game.
Fox didn't yet know Williams' status for Sunday's game nor the prospects for right tackle Jeff Otah, who is yet to play this season because of a knee injury.