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updated: 8/7/2014 5:51 AM

Bears QB Jimmy Clausen claims a veteran's mentality

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  • Quarterbacks Jimmy Clausen, left, Jordan Palmer are expected to see plenty of action Friday when the Bears host the Eagles in their preseason opener as they battle for the role of backup to starter Jay Cutler.

      Quarterbacks Jimmy Clausen, left, Jordan Palmer are expected to see plenty of action Friday when the Bears host the Eagles in their preseason opener as they battle for the role of backup to starter Jay Cutler.
    Associated Press

 
 

BOURBONNAIS -- The last time Jimmy Clausen played in a regular-season NFL game he was a rookie in 2010 with the Carolina Panthers.

Despite the relative inactivity, the former second-round pick (48th overall) has been around the NFL long enough to bring a veteran's mentality into Friday night's preseason opener. That's when his battle with Jordan Palmer for the Bears' backup job enters a new phase.

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"I don't feel like a rookie," Clausen said. "That was a long time ago, and I've learned a lot about the game; how the game in the NFL is played. (It's a) way different game than in college, more situational football, getting into the right play at the right time and moving the ball down the field."

Clausen, Palmer and rookie David Fales could all get healthy doses of playing time against the Eagles, since starter Jay Cutler isn't expected to make more than a cameo appearance. He could play less than that if, as expected, right tackle Jordan Mills (left foot) and right guard Kyle Long (ankle) do not suit up. Neither one practiced Wednesday.

Trestman, a long-time quarterback coach in the NFL before he became a head coach, is anxious to see what Clausen does with his opportunity.

"I'm excited to see him just like we all are," Trestman said. "He's had a good camp. He's picked up the system very quickly. He's throwing the ball well overall. He's been fairly consistent throughout practice knowing where to go with the football.

"He's in a serious competition with Jordan, and we'll see what both of them can do Friday night under the lights."

Clausen says he's trying not to put too much pressure on himself or make too big a deal about one game.

"I'm just trying to go out there when my name's called, make plays, get the team in the right play for the situation and keep the chains moving and put points on the board," he said. "It's playing football, whether it's practice or last Saturday night (at the Soldier Field practice) or a preseason game. You're just going out and play football. You've just got to execute and get guys in position to make it work."

That being said, it's doubtful that both quarterbacks will be on the final 53-man roster.

"Every day's a job interview whether it's on the practice field here for the Chicago Bears or going out in preseason games (and auditioning) for 31 other teams," Clausen said. "It's a job interview each and every day, and that's how you have to approach it."

Palmer has the benefit of having spent half of last season in the Trestman-Aaron Kromer offense, but he's thrown just 15 regular-season passes in his five years in the league.

"He knows the system very well, and he had some work last year but not a lot, even in practice," quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh said of Palmer. "That's where he's catching up now is on the field, and I think he's doing a good job. He's a tall, strong-armed guy who's smart, and he makes good decisions. So what else do you need in a quarterback other than experience?"

Maybe the Bears will find out Friday night.

• Follow Bob's Bears and NFL reports on Twitter@BobLeGere.

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