SPARTANBURG, S.C. – For the last two years, Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen has been a spectator on game day, being inactive for all 16 games each season.
That's certainly not the case during training camp.
"That's what camp is for – to get better, get better at your craft and go out there and perform well when your name gets called," Clausen said, his right arm wrapped in ice.
Clausen has been primarily running the third-team offense in his fourth training camp. His mind is set on continuing to improve and help his teammates do the same.
"I'm just going out there each and every day, working as hard as I can to perform well and do everything I can to help the team get better – whatever aspect that is."
Training camp and the preseason provide Clausen with the best opportunity to get better. So far, he's taken advantage, and the coaching staff has been impressed with the progress he's shown.
"There's only a limited amount of reps that you can get, especially if you're not the first-string quarterback," Clausen said. "Whenever you get those reps, they all count and that's what I'm trying to do. Whether it's a good one or a bad one, you have to move on to the next play."
But when the regular season rolls around, one of Clausen's responsibilities involves dissecting the previous play with his fellow quarterbacks.
"Me and (Derek Anderson) will talk on the sidelines, 'What did you see here, I saw this.' Then when Cam (Newton) comes off, we can see from his perspective what he saw on the field," Clausen said.
"That's how you learn, and then after the game you watch the tape and we all come together and talk about it. From seeing what you see on the field when you're playing and then what you see on the sidelines – you can mix both those together to better yourself for the next game or practice."
Clausen did his best to learn on the fly when he was a rookie in 2010, starting 10 games for a team that finished 2-14.
In the years since, Clausen has watched games unfold from the sideline, and it's helped him gain a better understanding of the game at the professional level.
"To stand on the sidelines for a little bit and watch things develop has helped me progress. It's helped me tremendously," Clausen said. "Coming in as a rookie, the speed of the game is so much faster than college.
"I think the biggest thing is just time to sit back and watch."
Training camp and preseason is time for Clausen to take some snaps and run the offense. And in the event the Panthers need him to do that this fall, he says he's ready.
"I'm prepared," Clausen said. "That's what we're practicing for. You've always got to be ready."