LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman revealed Thursday that the club was looking to trim its roster of five quarterbacks as mandatory minicamp concluded, and he expects recent addition Jimmy Clausen to be one of the signal callers to stick.
“We’re going through the process today of trying to work a little bit with our roster,” Trestman said. “I think that Jimmy has competed, and done a good job for the time that he’s been here. I expect that he’ll be with us.”
Trestman declined to go into details about potential roster moves because the team hasn’t yet completed them, but the expectation is the Bears will release at least one of the quarterbacks on the roster.
“We’re really going through finalizing and finishing the process with some roster movement today,” Trestman said. “It’s not complete yet, so I think it would be [in]appropriate to talk about it at this moment.”
Signed just 10 days before the start of minicamp, Clausen spent his first few days with the Bears at Halas Hall taking a cram session with the coaches in an attempt to learn the offense. Although Trestman and general manager Phil Emery expressed confidence in current No. 2 quarterback Jordan Palmer as Jay Cutler's primary backup, Clausen, a former second-round pick of the Carolina Panthers, caught the staff’s attention during the three-day minicamp, while Palmer appeared to struggle.
Palmer had missed time during organized team activities recovering from a strained right pectoral muscle.
Trestman said Clausen’s performance over a short period with the Bears extended beyond what the quarterback did on the practice field.
“No. 1 is how he handled the room. That room is hugely important; the chemistry, the karma, whatever you want to call it,” Trestman said. “In that room, the communication’s got to be good. Jimmy’s done a very good job, very maturely fit in and taken the place of trying to learn and work to learn the offense. He’s grinded at it. He spent long hours here. He’s had help from the guys in the room to get him to the place he is today. So we’ll see. We’re going through the process of working with our roster. I think he’ll be one of the guys that we do bring back, and we’ll take it one day at a time when we get to training camp.”
Clausen signed a one-year contract worth $645,000 with no signing bonus, and immediately stiffened the competition for the job of No. 2 quarterback. At 26, Clausen is a relatively young quarterback with experience as a starter.
The team likes Clausen's football smarts, and mechanics. Clausen's mental toughness also played into the team's decision to sign him. Clausen started 10 games as a rookie in 2010, but threw for three touchdowns and nine interceptions in 13 total contests played.
Headed into his fifth NFL season, Clausen has thrown 284 more passes than Palmer, with 147 more completions for 1,499 yards.
UPDATE: The Bears also announced these roster moves at the conclusion of minicamp. Chicago has released veteran defensive lineman Israel Idonije, quarterback Jerrod Johnson, tight end Fendi Onobun and safety Sean Cattouse. They also signed linbacker Conor O'Neill and defensive lineman Jamil Merrell.