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Carolina Panthers

Strickly Panthers: Clausen, Hardy pass test


BALTIMORE – No Panthers rookie on offense entered training camp with more buzz around him than quarterback Jimmy Clausen, and no rookie on defense has garnered more attention at training camp than defensive end Greg Hardy.

In their preseason debut Thursday night in Baltimore, Clausen and Hardy gave fans more reasons to stay tuned.

Clausen completed 8 of 15 passes for 80 yards while maintaining his cool against a relentless Ravens pass rush.

Hardy helped create an equally relentless pass rush for the Panthers, recording two sacks among his four tackles for loss while also picking up two quarterback hurries.

"With Jimmy, we had some problems with protection when he was in there, but overall I thought he did a good job," head coach John Fox said. "Greg has had a good camp thus far. He's got good abilities. We're getting to know him and he's getting to know us.

"I thought overall he had a good performance."

Clausen's first drive produced the Panthers' first points in the 17-12 loss – a second-quarter field goal – and his second drive ended 1 yard short of what proved to be an elusive offensive touchdown for Carolina.

"I was anxious to get out there for the first time, but I felt comfortable," Clausen said. "It's a different vibe, a different atmosphere (than college), but at the same time, it's still football."

Hardy, along with veteran end Tyler Brayton, headlined a pass rush that was maligned before the season even started in light of the loss of Julius Peppers to the Chicago Bears. The group piled up six sacks.

"We were just trying to do our job and not worrying about a lot of outside people talking about Pep," Hardy said. "I'm just trying to find my place as a rusher in this league. I've got a lot of speed, and when I get everything down, I think that will be an asset."

Hardy got a couple of chances to go up against Michael Oher, his teammate in high school and at the University of Mississippi who was the subject of the recent Hollywood hit "The Blind Side," which recently was a part of Monday Night at the Movies at Panthers' training camp.

Hardy didn't record either of his sacks at Oher's expense, but he relished his opportunities.

"It was fun to get out there," Hardy said. "I got to go against some good players – some of the ones, some of the twos. It was a good experience.

 "It's something you dream about."

Brayton left the game in the first quarter on the play where he gathered his second sack, injuring his ankle when he got tangled up with the offensive lineman he beat on the play. Fox didn't offer many details on the injury, other than saying, "It's not broken."

Fox added that linebacker Jamar Williams suffered a shoulder injury and linebacker Quinton Culberson sustained a quad bruise.

The Panthers will have Friday off before returning to the practice fields at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., for two practices on Saturday, at 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.


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