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updated: 5/17/2014 7:18 PM

Kromer makes it clear: Backup QB spot up for grabs

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  • David Fales sets to pass during the Bears' rookie camp Friday. The sixth-round pick will battle Jordan Palmer and Jerrod Johnson for a roster spot.

      David Fales sets to pass during the Bears' rookie camp Friday. The sixth-round pick will battle Jordan Palmer and Jerrod Johnson for a roster spot.
    Associated Press

 
 

In case there was any doubt about sixth-round pick David Fales challenging Jordan Palmer for the No. 2 quarterback job behind Jay Cutler, offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer made it official.

"That's why we drafted David, to challenge for the No. 2 spot," Kromer said. "Right now he's challenging to be on the team.

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"He came in and in these first few meetings and practices he's done a good job of understanding and being able to call plays. He can visualize them; he can say them. And he appears to be intelligent in that way because he's picked it up very quickly. He's a good communicator. So we just need time to see what he's going to do when guys really start rushing on him."

First-year player Jerrod Johnson is also in the quarterback competition after spending part of last season on the Bears' practice squad. The 6-foot-5, 251-pound Texas A&M product has spent time with three other NFL teams since going undrafted in 2011.

For now, Palmer is the leader in the clubhouse, and at least one player will be odd man out, since the Bears are expected to go into the season with three quarterbacks at most.

"I've talked to these guys about where we are, and we can say that we've got three spots for two guys, essentially," coach Marc Trestman said. "I've told Jordan that he's going to have the first shot, (but) that the backup position hasn't been won yet. I talked to Jordan about it (Friday), and there's a competition. Jordan's been here and deserves the first opportunity and the reps to get there. But we're not going to put anybody in that position until we have to. We've got a long way to go."

Fales says there are similarities to the offense he ran the previous two seasons at San Jose State and Marc Trestman's offense. But he admitted the frenetic pace of a Trestman practice -- even a rookie minicamp practice -- takes some getting used to. Asked to describe it, Fales said: "Chaos, bring the rage, intense. Just intensity and always moving fast."

No snap decision:

Because 16-year veteran long-snapper Patrick Mannelly has not yet decided if his surgical hip will allow him to play a 17th season, there are three long-snappers participating in rookie minicamp.

In addition to Canadian Football League import Chad Rempel and first-year player Brandon Hartson, Chad Montgomery is getting a tryout.

Special teams coach Joe DeCamillis said there's no urgency to make a decision yet, but the Bears probably need to know Mannelly's thinking at least a couple weeks before they report to training camp on July 24.

"I don't know that we have to figure it out soon," DeCamillis said. "But I've been in contact with Pat. There's no pressure one way or the other. We just have to let it play out. He has had a great career, and I hope he continues a great career."

The rehab from Mannelly's January procedure was expected to be 4-6 months. The 39-year-old Mannelly is the franchise's all-time leader in games played with 245.

Numbers game:

Sixty-six players are on the field for rookie minicamp, including 38 players who are participating on a tryout basis and 28 players under contract, including draft choices, undrafted free agents and first-year players.

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