Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press
The Bears found success last season with a journeyman backup quarterback in Josh McCown and hope that lightning strikes twice with current backup Jimmy Clausen.
Clausen made just 10 starts for the Carolina Panthers in 2010 after being selected in the second round before being relegated to backup duty behind 2011 first-overall pick Cam Newton.
He missed all of last season due to an injury and after a workout with the team earlier this offseason, head coach Marc Trestman believed that Clausen has what it takes to come in and compete for the backup quarterback spot.
“We're going through the process today of trying to work a little bit with our roster,” Marc Trestman told the media after the team's final minicamp earlier this month, via ESPNChicago.com's Michael C. Wright. “I think that Jimmy has competed and done a good job for the time that he's been here.”
The team was impressed enough with Clausen's progress in just a few days that they released Jerrod Johnson at the conclusion of minicamp, via the Chicago Sun-Times.
The assumption earlier this month was that veteran Jordan Palmer was going to fill the shoes left by McCown, but a shoulder injury left him sidelined for a time earlier this month, opening up an opportunity for Clausen.
He knows that he is at a disadvantage because of his limited time in the system, but he plans on using his time off before training camp to better acquaint himself with the offense.
“It’s difficult learning the whole entire offense in a week-and-a-half to two weeks,” Clausen said to the media on the last day of minicamp, via Chris Emma of CBSChicago.com. “That’s what the off time is for — get back in the book, learn and get ready for training camp.”
One way for Clausen to stick with this team is if he is able to connect with starter Jay Cutler. Trestman has not been shy about the fact that it is important that the backup and Cutler get along well, telling the media, via Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com:
No. 1 is how he handled the room. That room is hugely important; the chemistry, the karma, whatever you want to call it. In that room, the communication’s got to be good. Jimmy’s done a very good job, very maturely fit in and taken the place of trying to learn and work to learn the offense. He’s grinded at it. He spent long hours here. He’s had help from the guys in the room to get him to the place he is today. So we’ll see. We’re going through the process of working with our roster. I think he’ll be one of the guys that we do bring back, and we’ll take it one day at a time when we get to training camp.
“He’s working hard, and I think he likes the opportunity he has here,” Cutler said of Clausen earlier this month, via Emma. “He was a little humbled going through the process of being on the streets and then getting picked up again. He’s got a great attitude.”
As long as Clausen can learn the playbook and show that he can be an asset in the quarterbacks room, he is a player that has all of the talent and ability to be a solid backup quarterback.