When quarterback Matt Blanchard was injured last preseason, Jordan Palmer was one of the two veterans brought in for the final preseason game. Palmer played well and made a good impression on coach Marc Trestman and staff.
When quarterback Jay Cutler was injured last year in the Washington game, Palmer was signed as insurance behind Josh McCown. Palmer made another good impression and was on the roster for the remainder of the year, with the result that his impression improved.
The organization thought enough of Palmer to get a contract done with the little-used brother of veteran Carson before free agency opened in March.
And with the draft looming, Palmer is effectively ensconced as Cutler’s backup, a reflection of Trestman and GM Phil Emery’s evaluation of what they have seen since last August. As to confidence in Palmer:
“Absolutely,” Emery said. “I told [Palmer] that the other day — the same thing I told Josh – ‘Glad you’re here, looking forward to your contributions and we’re counting on you.’ And Jordan, since the time that he came last year has been nothing but a positive. He performed well in a preseason game, and I understand that’s the fourth preseason game, normally that’s the seconds and thirds and the back end of the roster, but you still want people to show that they have upside and perform well.
“He has been a backup in the league, obviously in Cincinnati, so he knows what the weight of that position is and how to carry himself and how to contribute positively to the team in that role. And to get himself ready to go every week in case there was an injury.”
The Bears are expected to take four quarterbacks to training camp. They went with three last season initially in part because of plans to have Cutler get additional work in the new offensive system of Trestman.
They signed Jerrod Johnson to the practice squad at two different points last season, then signed him to a reserve/futures contract at the end of the 2013 season.
“Excited to see Jerrod on the field for longer than a week or two,” Emery said. “You know, we brought him in to take a look at him, but we had to release him because we had other needs on our practice squad at the time depending on what had happened with our 53-man roster. So I told him when we released him that we would like to bring him back and we did.”
The Bears have serious interest in the top quarterbacks this draft, not for themselves, but for purposes of going off the board and leaving players at positions they want to address.
Emery projected that two, perhaps three, quarterbacks will be taken before the Bears’ turn at No. 14.
“I will tell you there has never been a draft that I’ve been involved with that you don’t, especially when you’re not looking to take a quarterback, that you’re not counting quarterbacks,” Emery said. “Because you are hoping more are taken in front of you than less, so that it kicks up quality players up to wherever you’re drafting. So yeah, you’re very cognitive of their talent level and where their perceived level is and who might take them and what that means in terms of your pick.”