Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press
In 2013, the Chicago Bears found out just how important it is to have a backup quarterback who can step in and win football games.
After injuries forced starter Jay Cutler to miss some time, veteran Josh McCown came in and threw for 1,829 yards, 13 touchdowns and one interception in five starts and eight appearances.
McCown signed this offseason with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, leaving the team with Jordan Palmer as the only quarterback on the roster who had thrown a pass in the NFL.
In order to improve the position, the team drafted David Fales in the sixth round of this past May's NFL draft and recently signed veteran Jimmy Clausen to compete in training camp.
The Bears likely will not go into the 2013 season with Fales as the team's only backup, leaving Clausen and Palmer to battle in training camp for the No. 2 job.
In just a short time with the team, Clausen has already received praise from the coaching staff and his teammates.
"I think that Jimmy has competed and done a good job for the time that he's been here," head coach Marc Trestman told the media after the team's final minicamp in June, via ESPNChicago.com's Michael C. Wright.
"He's working hard, and I think he likes the opportunity he has here," Cutler said of Clausen to the media back in June, via CBSChicago.com's Chris 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."
While he has been praised for his competitiveness and attitude early on, he will have to prove that he fully grasps the playbook, but quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh believes he shouldn't have a problem, telling Chris Boden of CSNChicago.com:
It's always tough when you get in a new system late and you try to learn the verbage. Because he's got some years in the league I don't think there's any schemes were running that he's not familiar with, but it's able to communicate it. Hear it, call it quickly, get in the huddle and say it. He's a smart guy and he's caught up real fast.
Clausen's biggest advantage is that at just 26 years old, he still has plenty of upside if Trestman can develop him as he did McCown last season.
Palmer has done and said all of the right things, but Trestman appears to be very high on Clausen's abilities, and barring any setbacks, he appears to have a slight upper hand heading into training camp.