The Bears reduced their roster to the required 75 players on Tuesday morning with an injury settlement for backup quarterback Matt Blanchard, whose fractured knuckle in the San Diego game ended his preseason and sent the Bears scurrying for veteran quarterback depth.
Blanchard, first signed by the Bears in May 2012 after a 45-0 run at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, is eligible for the practice squad or could sign with another NFL team, but not until after week 10 under injury settlement terms.
Blanchard was likely ticketed for the practice squad before the injury. He spent the first 12 weeks of 2012 on the Bears’ developmental squad, was waived and then re-signed in January.
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His numbers this preseason were solid: 16-for-19 passing for 192 yards, no TDs, an interception and a passer rating of 86.8. He had taken six sacks and had the team’s longest preseason completion, a 52-yarder to rookie Marquess Wilson at Carolina. The results were a big step up from last year’s 9-for16 passing and a rating of 47.4.
Neither Jay Cutler nor Josh McCown will play on Thursday against the Cleveland Browns. Jordan Palmer is scheduled to play the first half and Trent Edwards the second in an extended audition for the emergency quarterback spot.
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How the Bears handle that position remains to play out. Edwards and Palmer have gotten an introduction to the offense in the past couple of weeks and could be released with the expectation that one would likely be available to bring back rather than use a roster spot needed elsewhere.
Some areas that may need added roster coverage:
The Bears currently are on course to use an extra spot on special teams for returner Devin Hester, for example. Also, the status of tackle Jonathan Scott’s knee is unclear since he is not yet practicing following a scope. And Earl Bennett has not played all preseason because of a concussion suffered in practice more than four weeks ago.