'Tiebreakers' favor Clausen in Bears' backup QB battle

'Tiebreakers' favor Clausen in Bears' backup QB battle
August 24, 2014, 10:45 am
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Jimmy Clausen will start Thursday in Cleveland against the Browns with the situation basically being his job to lose at No. 2 quarterback. The productions of Clausen and Jordan Palmer have been just about even, and assuming a fourth game holding to that pattern, Clausen will emerge with several possible “tiebreakers” in his roster competition with Palmer:

Mobility

Clausen is more agile and mobile. He has been sacked just once in 39 drop-backs and has scrambled twice for 16 yards, not including a fourth-quarter dash through the middle against Seattle and a finishing one yard short of the end zone. The play was called back for holding but Clausen showed some burst.

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Palmer has been sacked twice in 31 drop-backs, not a real tipping point, but perhaps so when factored in with Clausen’s speed edge.

Upside

Palmer has spent half of last season and all this offseason with Bears coaches. Clausen has been a Bear less than three months. He is also younger than Palmer and has low mileage just by virtue of a shoulder injury wiping out 2013 and Cam Newton wiping out his starting gig in Carolina.

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General manager Phil Emery lavished praise on Clausen at the outset of training camp and coach Marc Trestman more or less wrote Clausen’s one interception of preseason off to technical (headset) difficulties.

Availability

The organization with opt for the player giving it the best chance to win football games in the event of losing Jay Cutler even for a portion of a game. Last year the decision was to go with Josh McCown as Cutler’s backup after Palmer performed very well in a preseason game against Cleveland. A reality is that Palmer was going to be available in an emergency, which did arise and which did send the Bears after Palmer in 2013. Palmer in all likelihood will be available if the Bears do release him as expected.

Clausen, however, has shown that he is back from any injury concern and after a solid preseason, is very likely to get a phone call if he somehow hits the street. Teams don’t lose track of former No. 2 draft choices.