Chicago Bears Training Camp: Week 3 Stock Report
The team officially breaks camp this Wednesday prior to their second preseason game of the season this Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The first two weeks of camp has had many players see their stock rise, while others have seen their stock drop.
After Friday night's game at Soldier Field, many players were able to improve their chances of not only making the roster, but they helped build their case to be a starter in 2014.
Just as some improved their stock, others have seen their stock drop after either struggling during the early portion of camp and/or struggling in the preseason opener.
Here is our Week 3 training camp stock report for the Chicago Bears.
Stock Up: Jimmy Clausen
A late addition to the team at the end of minicamp in June, quarterback Jimmy Clausen looked at ease on the field Friday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Clausen headed into Friday's game as the team's third quarterback, but his play on the field will likely warrant more of an opportunity with the team's second unit this Thursday night.
He finished the game going 7-of-13 passing for 150 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Jimmy Clausen should see some reps with the 2s next week after his production tonight. #Bears— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) August 9, 2014
Think it's fairly evident that Jimmy Clausen will soon be the #Bears No. 2 quarterback— Jeff Arnold (@JeffArnold_CF) August 9, 2014
His competition, Jordan Palmer, did not have a terrible night under center against the Eagles, but Clausen appeared more comfortable and confident in the pocket.
Clausen's performance did not go unnoticed by head coach Marc Trestman.
"I thought he moved the team well," Trestman said to the media after the game, via Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago.com. "He was poised for a guy who’s been here so little time. I think we saw something there as well."
With another strong week of practice and a good showing Thursday night against the Jaguars, Clausen may be able to solidify his position as the team's No. 2 quarterback moving forward.
Stock Down: Shea McClellin
After two disappointing seasons at defensive end, the Chicago Bears opted to move their 2012 first-round pick Shea McCllelin to linebacker this offseason.
"The more reps I get the more comfortable I feel," McClellin told Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com about his move to linebacker. "I said back in the spring this is where I belong."
While he has stated he feels more comfortable at linebacker, McClellin again looked out of sorts at times on the field Friday night against the Eagles.
Shea McClellin with a poor job of pursuit on long #Eagles' run. Philly in redzone.— Jeff Dickerson (@ESPNChiBears) August 9, 2014
#Bears LB Shea McClellin got taken care of -- blocked cutting across -- to spring that long run by the Eagles.— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) August 9, 2014
McClellin kinda took himself out of that play.— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) August 9, 2014
The things that have plagued McClellin for the past two seasons, like his inability to stop the run, reared their head Friday night.
Despite possessing tremendous speed and athleticism for his size, he struggled in pass coverage against the Eagles.
It is still early in his development at the linebacker position and, according to Bears sideline reporter Zach Zaidman, McClellin has flashed some of his potential during training camp:
Shea McClellin just flashed dynamic athleticism by dropping into coverage and disrupting a pass play.— Zach Zaidman (@ZachZaidman) July 26, 2014
He still has three preseason games and plenty more practices to improve his game, but if he continues to play like he did on Friday night, he is going to have a hard time making it onto the field during the regular season.
Stock Up: Zach Miller
With Martellus Bennett sitting out the preseason opener because of a suspension handed down last week, via ESPNChicago.com's Michael C. Wright, veteran tight end Zach Miller took full advantage of his opportunities Friday night.
Miller led the team with six catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Miller finished with a plus-2.4 overall grade on the night in 21 snaps.
The 29-year-old Miller is often confused with the former Pro Bowl tight end of the Seattle Seahawks with the same name, but he has quickly made a name for himself throughout training camp and the early portion of the preseason.
Prior to landing in Chicago late last December, Miller spent three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the majority of the 2013 offseason with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Quarterback Jordan Palmer, Miller's teammate at one time in Jacksonville, was not surprised by what he saw on the field from Miller Friday night.
"You know, if anybody isn't surprised about how Zach played, it's me," Palmer told ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson. "I was with Zach in Jacksonville and he's one of my good buddies. I told people when the Bears signed him; watch how Zach runs his routes. He can really catch the ball."
Miller made five starts with the Jaguars from 2009-2012 and amassed 470 yards on 45 catches with four touchdowns.
[Miller has] had a good camp. We just want to get him in games and see how he can do. Every time he's had an opportunity he's made a play. We just have to keep progressing him along. He has been a nice addition for the offense and we're excited to use him more.
While Miller had a strong showing Friday night, he will have to prove his worth with the second team now that Bennett has rejoined the team, via the team's sideline reporter Zach Zaidman:
Martellus Bennett is back with the #Bears— Zach Zaidman (@ZachZaidman) August 10, 2014
With his performance from Friday now in the rear-view mirror, Miller understands he will need to make the most out of the opportunities he gets.
While he won't be taking over Bennett's role any time soon, his strong showing on Friday has his stock going through the roof.
Stock Down: Joe Long
An undrafted free agent out of Wayne State University in 2012, offensive lineman Joe Long struggled mightily for the Bears Friday night against the Eagles.
Signed off of the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad last December, Long, despite being on the team's 53-man roster, was inactive for the team's final two games of the season.
Long headed into the preseason opener third on the team's unoffcial depth chart at right tackle. He saw ample playing time Friday night but, according to CBSChicago.com's Dan Durkin and TheGameChicago.com's Adam Hoge, he had a tough night on the field:
not a good night for joe long. can't anchor, missed assignments, getting consistently beat across his face.— dan durkin (@djdurkin) August 9, 2014
Rough night for Joe Long.— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) August 9, 2014
According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Long finished the game with a minus-2.9 grade in 41 total snaps. His struggles came primarily in pass protection, getting called for two holding penalties and allowing a quarterback sack.
Expectations for a former undrafted free agent are never very high, but it is likely that the team expected more out of him than he showed on Friday night.
With offensive lineman Brian de la Puente out for an extended time with an MCL sprain he suffered Friday night, via Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times, and Eben Britton recovering from a hamstring injury he suffered earlier in training camp, Long will still have an opportunity to prove his worth. However, he will need to play much better this Thursday night if he wants to stay on the roster.
Stock Up: Ryan Mundy
When free agency officially began this past March, general manager Phil Emery opted to go the more frugal route when trying to find a new starting safety.
Passing on bigger names like T.J. Ward, Donte Whitner and Jairus Byrd, Emery opted to sign veteran Ryan Mundy to a two-year contract.
Mundy spent the offseason as the team's projected starter at strong safety and made his presence felt in the preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.
After Willie Young created pressure on Eagles quarterback Nick Foles in the first quarter, Mundy stepped in and picked off a pass intended for wide receiver Ifeanyi Momah.
Mundy played in just 18 snaps with the first-team defensive unit, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), but he felt good about his first home game with the team.
"It feels good. I’ve played here a few times with the Steelers and Giants," he said after the game, via ChicagoBears.com. "But it’s definitely a different feeling being with the home team and it’s been a great experience so far."
After his strong debut Friday night, it appears he will keep a hold on the strong safety spot moving forward, but he may have a new partner at free safety with Chris Conte returning on Sunday from offseason shoulder surgery, via the Chicago Tribune's Rich Campbell:
Bears safety Chris Conte (right shoulder) is practicing this afternoon, so he has been removed from the PUP list. Same with S Craig Steltz.— Rich Campbell (@Rich_Campbell) August 10, 2014
There's no telling whether or not Conte can bounce back from his bad 2013 season, but if he reclaims his position as the team's starting free safety, there is little doubt that he won't end up paired alongside Mundy in 2014.
Stock Down: Jon Bostic
The talk of the 2013 preseason because of monstrous hits and an impressive interception, second-year linebacker Jon Bostic had his share of struggles Friday night.
Bostic showed last preseason that he had a knack for making plays, but on Friday night he struggled in the passing game, particularly against tight end Zach Ertz, via Adam Hoge of TheGameChicago.com:
Ertz with back-to-back long gains. Need to see the All-22 to know exactly what happened, but Bostic and McClellin might have been guilty.— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) August 9, 2014
After witnessing Bostic take the majority of reps in training camp alongside Lance Briggs in the team's nickel package, veteran D.J. Williams took over that role Friday night, via Arthur Arkush of ChicagoFootball.com:
Bostic came into the offseason facing the opportunity to compete at both the strong-side linebacker and middle linebacker positions and still at times looks like a player who has trouble processing what is going on in front of him.
He was thrust into the starting lineup last season when Williams got hurt, and the 2013 second-round draft pick struggled in reading and diagnosing plays.
While there is still time for him to grow and improve as a player, Friday night's performance drove down his stock and proved he still has a long way to go before the team can depend on him on a weekly basis as a starter.
Stock Up: Trevor Scott
After a couple of strong seasons for the Oakland Raiders in 2008 and 2009, defensive end Trevor Scott saw his 2010 season come to a close with a knee injury. He then spent one more season with the Raiders before making stops in New England and Tampa Bay before landing with the Bears this offseason.
Listed as the backup to right end Jared Allen on the team's unofficial depth chart, Scott made the most of his opportunities Friday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.
He was credited for three tackles on the night and was consistently getting pressure on Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, via NBCChicago.com's James Neveau:
Great couple of series for Trevor Scott. Great pressure on Foles to force the pick, and excellent work to swallow up the run there.— James Neveau (@JamesNeveau) August 9, 2014
Scott received more playing time than expected with Jared Allen sitting out after being away from the team following the birth of his child, via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
With the Bears' defensive line getting an overhaul with the additions of Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young this offseason, Scott is going to have an uphill battle but acknowledges that the competition breeds better football.
“We are deep on the defensive line, but that’s what makes for great competition,” Scott told ChicagoFootball.com's Arthur Arkush. “The top will rise.”
While it may end up being a battle for him to make this roster, if he can continue to play well against the run and put pressure on the quarterback, he may be able to not only claim a roster spot but also a spot in the team's defensive end rotation.
Stock Down: Jordan Palmer
Earlier this offseason, general manager Phil Emery made it sound like 30-year-old journeyman backup quarterback Jordan Palmer was set to be the team's backup quarterback in 2013, via Adam Hoge of TheGameChicago.com:
Phil Emery said he told Jordan Palmer the same thing he told Josh McCown last year: He’s comfortable with him as the backup QB. #Bears— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) May 1, 2014
Although he finished the game going 8-of-11 for 104 yards with one touchdown and one interception, Palmer looked out of sync at times on the field Friday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Palmer appeared skittish in the pocket and most of his completions were on check downs and short passes under five yards.
According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Palmer struggled the most when he was pressured, going just 2-of-5 on 6 pressured dropbacks, finishing with a 50.4 quarterback rating and getting sacked once.
His skittishness on Friday night wasn't anything new, as he has looked indecisive at times during the early portions of training camp in Bourbonnais, Illinois.
Despite looking indecisive, Palmer thought otherwise after the game.
“I got to see a little bit of everything – a little bit of pressure, a little bit of adversity,” Palmer said to the media after the game, via Jeff Arnold of ChicagoFootball.com. "But I thought we played well.”
Palmer also touched on how head coach Marc Trestman has talked about battling through adversity:
"Coach (Trestman) always talks about the inevitability of success and adversity striking every person throughout practice, throughout a game and continuing to bounce back and manage that and weather that storm when it happens.”
Palmer's indecisiveness, combined with Jimmy Clausen's strong performance, may drop him down the depth chart and he will have to prove he can battle through adversity if he wants to be the No. 2 quarterback this season.
All training camp observations obtained firsthand by the author unless otherwise noted.
Stats courtesy of NFL.com.