LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Bears head coach Marc Trestman confirmed on Saturday that veteran quarterback Jordan Palmer will receive the first shot to serve as the team’s primary backup behind starter Jay Cutler, and that Palmer, Jerrod Johnson and 2014 sixth-round draft choice David Fales are essentially battling for two open roster spots.
“I’ve talked to these guys clearly about where we are,” Trestman said. “I’ve told Jordan that he’s got the first shot and that the backup position hasn’t been won yet. I talked to Jordan about it yesterday. There’s a competition. Jordan has been here and deserves the first opportunity. But we’re not going to put anybody in that position until we have to. We have a long way to go."
Two of the quarterbacks, Johnson and Fales, spent Friday and Saturday taking part in the Bears’ three-day rookie minicamp where they’ve received constant instruction and feedback from Trestman, offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer, and position coach Matt Cavanaugh. Rookie minicamp is an especially challenging event for quarterbacks, who are required to learn brand-new terminology and plays while throwing the football to receivers they've just met.
“I’m looking to see how the quarterbacks handle themselves and how they work in-person,” Trestman said. “I’m looking to see how do they take direction from Matt, myself and from Aaron. How they call the plays and can they handle the verbiage quickly. They have to learn a lot every night because they are leaning something new every night. Then they have to come here and spit it out because it’s a completely different language. They have to not only say it, but also do it.
“It’s not easy. But I think you can see a lot. I think we got a lot out of the quarterbacks and saw that David can make that transition. The play was called and he immediately was able to spit it out in the huddle and do the physical aspects of it as well.”
Although the 6-foot-5, 251 pound Johnson has been learning the offense for several months, Fales thinks he already has a decent grasp on the scheme based on what he ran in college at San Jose State, where he passed for 8,382 yards, 66 touchdowns and 22 interceptions in two seasons.
“It’s a lot of exact same stuff I did both years at San Jose State,” Fales said. “Some of the terminology is the same, too. That’s an easier transition, although the playbook has been very base. But having that offense at San Jose definitely made it easier.”