Considering he’s never taken a regular-season snap and has thrown just 16 passes in preseason games, No. 3 quarterback Matt Blanchard remains a mystery for the most part.
But, from what coach Marc Trestman and his staff have seen so far, the Lake Zurich High School graduate remains in the Bears’ plans. Because he was a practice squad player last season, Blanchard was eligible to participate in the weekend rookie minicamp, and he got extensive reps.
“He’s articulate in the verbiage of our offense,” Trestman said. “He’s picked it up very quickly. The reps have really helped him. He’s got very good fundamentals. He needs to improve like every quarterback does, (but) he has a good base.
“The ball easily comes out of his hand, as you can see. When he’s over the top on his throws, it’s a very natural throwing motion. It comes off his hand very easily and very naturally and he’s got some mobility.”
That doesn’t mean, however, that Blanchard, who was undrafted out of Wisconsin-Whitewater last year, has locked up a spot on the 53-man roster.
“He’s got a long way to go,” Trestman said. “We were in shorts (during the minicamp). I think we’ll see a little bit more out of him when we get into (training) camp and get some pads on him. When we get into the preseason games we’ll see a little more about what he has.”
In addition to doing film work and learning to break down opposing defenses and recognize coverages last year and in the current off-season, Blanchard says he’s benefited from being in the presence of veteran quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Josh McCown.
“As a third quarterback, your goal is to be an observer and watch the head guy and see what he does,” Blanchard said. “Jay’s been a great role model to me; same with Josh. I’ve watched those guys. They’re two solid veterans who have had a lot of success in the NFL, so it’s just studying them and watching how they carry themselves and how to be a pro.”
End of the road:
All the draft picks, except for offensive linemen Kyle Long and Jordan Mills, whose schools haven’t yet completed finals, will be back on the field starting today for the first of 10 OTAs (organized team activities).
Almost none of the 30-odd players who were in over the weekend on a tryout basis will continue in the off-season program.
“They all gave us their undivided attention for the entire weekend,” coach Marc Trestman said. “Their effort was outstanding, and we did everything we could to create an environment that they could try to fulfill their dream, which is to play in the National Football League.
“Obviously we couldn’t keep everybody. I spoke to a number of the tryout guys that won’t be with us, and we’ll make a decision on a few that we’ll carry over into next week from this camp.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.