The fourth preseason game meant very little to the small army of Bears starters who stood on the sideline. But for quarterback Jordan Palmer, a start against the Cleveland Browns was just the opportunity he needed.
Palmer started the game 11 of 13 for 111 yards, including a perfectly placed back-shoulder, five-yard touchdown pass to Joe Anderson in the second quarter. Anderson finished the opening half with four receptions for 64 yards.
“I just visualized things going well," Palmer said. "I visualized every ball getting completed. I visualized my reads going well. I visualized the offensive line playing great and everything else was noise."
Palmer credited time spent with a friend who just happens to be a sports psychologist for some of his success. The veteran signal caller zipped throw after throw to his targets with great accuracy during his first three drives. Terrence Toliver was an early favorite for Palmer, hauling in three first-half passes for 18 yards, ending the night with six catches for 49 yards.
"Jordan [Palmer] came in this week and worked hard," Toliver said. "We stayed after practice with him and I think he did a great job tonight."
Palmer understands how fickle the NFL can be, which helped him appreciate his performance against the Browns.
"It doesn’t always end up going well, but it was great to see it come to fruition tonight," Palmer said. "I didn't feel a whole lot of pressure tonight. I was just playing football for the Bears. Whatever the circumstances were in the fourth preseason game, I didn't care. I just had a blast."
Bears head coach Marc Trestman believes Palmer's success was a product of his immediate commitment to the opportunity provided to him here in Chicago.
"It says a lot about his preparation," Trestman said. "He came in here; he dug in; he has learned a lot of the offense and spent a lot of time, on his own, trying to assimilate all of it."
The final drive of the half was a little less impressive for Palmer, as the reserve quarterback had an intentional grounding penalty, a pass batted down at the line of scrimmage and two low throws that resulted in drops.
Regardless, Palmer proved that he deserves to be discussed heavily when the Bears decide if they will be keeping three quarterbacks on the roster to start the season.
"I'm happy for him that he came out and played very efficiently for us," Trestman said.
Palmer spent 2012 with the Jacksonville Jaguars and was a three-year backup (2008-10) for the Cincinnati Bengals. He is the younger brother of Arizona Cardinals starting quarterback Carson Palmer. The former UTEP product was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL Draft.