For the first time since he competed with Rodney Peete for the starting job prior to the 2003 season, Jake Delhomme (who actually lost the job before replacing Peete in the second half of Week 1) is not part of Carolina's quarterback picture. Delhomme was released by the Panthers in March.
That puts the spotlight on Moore, who will begin 2010 as the starter after the Oregon State product led Carolina to a 4-1 finish last season. But Clausen, the team's second-round pick out of Notre Dame, is widely viewed as the team's future at the quarterback position and could spark some preseason controversy if he outplays Moore.
Whom the quarterbacks will throw to is also an issue heading into Thursday night, as holdover Dwayne Jarrett and rookies Brandon LaFell (LSU) and Armanti Edwards (Appalachian State) look like the best options to offset Steve Smith.
The work of the Panthers defense will bear watching as well, after Julius Peppers defected to the Bears via free agency and linebacker Thomas Davis was lost for the year with a knee injury suffered in mini-camp.
Carolina was 8-8 last season, never fully recovering from an 0-3 start.
The Ravens, a 9-7 playoff team who knocked off the Patriots in the Wild Card Round before succumbing to the Colts in the 2009 postseason, are looking to build on that moderate success. However, Baltimore has gotten off to a brutal start in the injury department, and will try to avoid more attrition on Thursday night.
Baltimore will be without safety Ed Reed (hip), rookie pass rusher Sergio Kindle (broken skull), and cornerback Domonique Foxworth (knee) on Thursday night, with Foxworth done for the year and the other two players major question marks heading into 2010.
On the other side of the ball, quarterbacks Joe Flacco, Marc Bulger (ex-Rams) and Troy Smith will need to get in step with their bevy of new targets, including wideouts Anquan Boldin (ex-Cardinals) and Donte' Stallworth (ex- Browns) as well as rookie tight ends Ed Dickson (Oregon) and Dennis Pitta (BYU).
The Ravens own a 3-1 advantage in their all-time preseason series with the Panthers, including a 17-13 road victory when the teams met prior to last season.
Baltimore and Carolina will meet in meaningful play on Nov. 21 in Charlotte.