The Battle for QB #2.............................

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by soulman, Jun 1, 2014.

  1. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Messages:
    4,946
    Likes Received:
    1,505
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 7 / -3
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,760ß
    Jordan Palmer in three-way battle to be Bears' backup quarterback

    Veteran is well-traveled but little-used, yet he has experience edge over Fales, Johnson


    [​IMG]
    Chicago Bears quarterback Jordan Palmer at OTA's practice held at Halas Hall. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune / May 27, 2014)
    By Dan Wiederer, Tribune reporter
    4:04 p.m. CDT, May 31, 2014

    If you're searching for the last regular-season series Jordan Palmer presided over as an NFL quarterback, it takes some digging. He was a Bengal, in Week 11 of 2010, summoned for mop-up duty in the final two minutes of a 49-31 blowout loss to the Bills.

    Palmer threw three passes that afternoon, all completions. But he was sacked on his final two plays, and that was that. Five snaps, back to the shelf.

    Fifty-seven weeks of regular-season action have passed since, and Palmer hasn't taken another snap.
    With those throws that day in Cincinnati, Palmer added to his career stats, which now stand at 10-for-15, 59 yards, zero touchdowns, two interceptions. Total.

    Yet somehow, with the Bears plowing through organized team activities and pointing toward the start of training camp in July, Palmer finds himself as the most experienced quarterback and the current front-runner in a three-man race for the backup job.

    Quick and dramatic development will be needed. Yet Palmer charged into OTAs last week with a reminder to himself not to rush ahead of the process, to stay grounded in the grind.

    "The beauty of OTAs is every day it's new installs, new stuff," he said. "So I'm not worried about anything other than today — coming out and making sure I get the verbiage right, that I can call the play right, run the play right, put the ball where it's supposed to be, deliver the ball accurately or get to the right run play.
    "I have so much going on to get me ready for each day that I don't think about anything else."

    Palmer is joined in the Bears' backup competition by David Fales, the 11th quarterback selected in last month's draft, and Jerrod Johnson, who spent all of 18 days on the practice squad in September.
    We pause here to allow Chicago to finish its collective hard swallow.

    After all, in a city where starter Jay Cutler has missed 13 games the last four seasons, with six additional games (including postseason) he couldn't finish because of injury, it's understandable why the inexperience on the depth chart produces anxiety.

    How is anyone to know for sure how any of these quarterbacks might respond, how they'll perform, how they'll inspire teammates if called into the huddle in an emergency this fall? These are pressing questions that will hover until they have answers. Yet those answers can't come for another 14 Sundays at a minimum.

    The blueprint
    The Bears, of course, have a vision for how their No. 2 quarterback should prepare and study and become a resource for Cutler. The ideal model, it turns out, surfaced last season in journeyman Josh McCown.
    McCown emerged as a life raft for the season when Cutler found himself hampered by groin and ankle injuries in October, November and into December.

    There were McCown's memorable "Monday Night Football" wins over the Packers and Cowboys, the clutch defeat of the Ravens and, yes, even heartening rally attempts in losses to the Redskins and Lions.
    But what left an indelible imprint at Halas Hall was McCown's unwavering investment in the daily grind, his professional focus, his bond with Cutler.

    In Palmer's attempt to grasp his backup responsibilities, he recently went back and studied tape of the 2013 offseason program. "I watched every rep from OTAs and minicamps," Palmer said. "And the biggest thing I saw that Josh did last year was he had a great (stretch of) OTAs."

    A focus on the present always seemed paramount. "Josh was a great example of a guy where, although he knew he was going to be backing up Jay, he truly approached every day like he was going to be getting all the reps," quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh said. "He worked very hard. And not only that, he was selfless enough to know that although I'm competing, I want to be able to help Jay too.

    "Those guys had a unique relationship that Jay really counted on. Josh was his sounding board a lot. Sometimes when coaches speak to you, it's coach-speak. You want to hear one of your buddies say, 'Hey, they're right.' Or, 'Let's talk it through and then we'll approach them about it.' So there's a role to be played there."

    It's a role Palmer aims to take over, hoping to build on all he learned last season. After Cutler tore his groin in late October, the Bears re-signed Palmer, and he admits he settled in as a sponge, also gaining a sharp understanding for knowing his niche.

    "Josh and Jay's relationship was so strong and they were helping each other so much, there wasn't a need for me to weigh in on much at all," Palmer said. Added Cavanaugh: "Jordan ended up blending in very nicely. He's very aware. He saw the relationship that Jay and Josh had and he didn't step on that. When asked, he gave his opinion. Sometimes he had to keep quiet. ... Like any group setting, there's an alpha, and then there are guys who follow along. And when they're asked, they answer. And if they think they're supposed to shut up, they shut up.

    "He got that. And we appreciated that."

    'A long way to go'
    Bears coach Marc Trestman has called the Palmer-Fales-Johnson duel a battle of "two spots for three guys" while penciling in the 30-year-old Palmer as the favorite.

    But there also has been an emphasis on the competition that must be won. And if Palmer falters, Johnson provides another option as a quarterback who Cavanaugh believes brings athleticism, improved arm strength and intriguing upside.

    Cavanaugh also has quickly developed a fondness for Fales' intelligence and provided a glowing endorsement of the former San Jose State standout after a late predraft visit in California. That praise was enthusiastic enough that general manager Phil Emery used a sixth-round pick on Fales.

    "On tape, I liked him right away," Cavanaugh said. "I just saw him making a lot of throws that we make.
    "And when you watch it on film, the next question is can he verbalize it? He was able to do that. He was able to talk about the different drops he uses, his footwork, his reads, his progressions. Coverage reads, pure progressions. He knew the terminology we were using, and that was a big plus."

    It's a plus that gives Fales a chance to push Palmer and potentially become a long-term answer in the Bears' No. 2 slot. In a best-case scenario, Cutler will take every meaningful snap in 2014 and justify the front office's investment in him that will pay him $18.5 million this season. But the Bears are one ankle twist or knee turn away from using their backup plan. That's why the urgency is increasing to solidify a No. 2.

    "Jordan's been here and deserves the first opportunity and the reps to get there," Trestman said. "But we're not going to put anybody in that position until we have to. We've got a long way to go."

    dwiederer@tribune.com
    Twitter @danwiederer
  2. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Messages:
    4,946
    Likes Received:
    1,505
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 7 / -3
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,760ß
    To be realistic I'm really not sure of just how legit a 3-way battle it'll be but Trestman does seem to make it clear that he plan on keeping 3 QBs so injures not withstanding I can't see anyway that it would be Fales and Johnson. It's honestly more like a 2-way battle for the #3 spot.
  3. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Messages:
    4,374
    Likes Received:
    1,155
    Ratings:
    +1,416 / 2 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    436ß
    Exactly. Trestman is correct to not SAY that but we all know that's the real "competition" here. And let's face it, Fales would have to totally crap the bed or JJ would have to really light it up for the team to cut their rookie draftee QB for a udfa.

    In effect, JJ is auditioning for either a "call back" position or for another team's #3 spot IMO. His chance of making the Bears final 53 is very slim.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    22,298
    Likes Received:
    2,823
    Ratings:
    +3,402 / 9 / -8
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,586ß
    It's a competition only if Palmer shite's the bed and/or Johnson/Fales REALLY impresses
  5. BSBEARS

    BSBEARS Pro-Bowler

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2014
    Messages:
    1,807
    Likes Received:
    631
    Ratings:
    +837 / 4 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    895ß
    Like Tresmen said its Palmers to lose, its not like Palmer has a ton of experience on Fales or Johnson. Palmer has 15 total NFL attempts with the last attempt being 4 yrs ago. Palmer looked ok last preseason in the game he started and I was surprised we cut him. It would be surprising if Palmer does not make the roster so he can tutor Fales and Johnson.

    I am guessing they keep saying they will have 3 QB's on the roster because they plan on one being on the Practice Squad. JJ has ideal size for a QB at 6' 5" and if I remember is around 245 pounds. They liked him a lot to sign him in January last yr and I believe Fales and JJ may well be the backups after this year. Palmer is probably a one year security blanket to assist the transition into the NFL for both young QB's. Thus I think Fales and JJ will battle for the #3 spot and if one really steps up may get the call ahead of Palmer, since he has minimal game experience. One will make the roster and one on the PS. Next year Palmer will be gone and depending how they look we will draft a QB down the road. I really believe Emery will allow Trestmen to develop some young QB's and I think Palmer is already to old for any long term plans. JMHO
  6. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Messages:
    4,946
    Likes Received:
    1,505
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 7 / -3
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,760ß
    Sounds like they've put their let's try to draft a QB every year plan into operation and with a HC like Trestman and a QB Coach like Cavanaugh that's probably a smart move. But if Emery's correct all they're doing is developing backups or potential prospects for a trade somewhere down the line.

    I still like the approach though. If you have as few openings to fill as we did then you might as well spend a late pick on a QB prospect and I think the quality of the guys we may take will be much better now than it was under Angelo and Lovie's OC du jour.

    Having a guy like Palmer around to backup and to mentor is a smart move. It's not likely he'll be as fortunate as McCown was but a guy like him is probably looking at going into coaching after he hangs it up anyway so this is a good way to get started down that path.

Share This Page