Clausen appears to have won trip to Bears' camp
When it comes to cramming, it appears Jimmy Clausen passed his first test with flying colors.
The 2010 second-round draft pick of the Carolina Panthers was without a job as recently as June 4. But he signed with the Bears the next day and spent the next two weeks playing catch-up, trying to put himself in contention with three other quarterbacks for what likely will be two backup spots behind Jay Cutler.
On Thursday, the first of those five quarterbacks was cut (first-year player Jerrod Johnson).
But Clausen looks like a keeper.
"I think he'll be one of the guys we bring back, and then we'll take it one day at a time when we get to training camp," coach Marc Trestman said. "Jimmy has competed and done a good job for the time that he's been here, and I would expect that he'll be with us."
It's possible one more of the hopefuls -- veteran Jordan Palmer and rookie David Fales are the other contenders -- could be cut before training camp begins. The Bears could go to camp with all four remaining quarterbacks, but no more than three will be on the 53-man roster.
Clausen's biggest challenge was balancing learning a new system in a hurry without putting too much pressure on himself.
"It's a fine line," Clausen said minutes before Trestman's vote of confidence. "The biggest thing for me is just hearing the play and spitting it out in the huddle. It was some long nights staying up and early mornings to catch up."
Clausen did enough in a hectic two weeks to impress Trestman and the offensive staff.
"No. 1 is how he handled the (quarterback) room," Trestman said. "That room is hugely important, the chemistry, the karma. The communication has to be good. Jimmy has done a very good job, very maturely fit in and learn the offense.
"He's grinding at it. He's spent long hours here. He's had help from the guys in the room to get him where he is."
After struggling as a rookie starter, Clausen did not play at all the following three seasons behind Cam Newton, but he's looking forward to a new beginning.
"It's a great opportunity to get a fresh start here in Chicago," he said. "I'm just going to be ready for training camp."
The competition for backup spots behind running back Matt Forte also is expected to be fierce at training camp.
Fourth-round draft pick Ka'Deem Carey and undrafted rookie Jordan Lynch will be competing against Michael Ford, an undrafted rookie in 2013 who played special teams last year, second-year free agent Shaun Draughn and Louisville's Senorise Perry, another undrafted rookie.
"I think (Lynch) is up there with all the other guys," Marc Trestman said. "The issue we have is we have a logjam from (No.) 2 to 5, and Jordan is in that logjam."
Lynch's versatility and his expected contributions on special teams will help his chances, as they did for Ford last year.
"A lot of that (decision) is going to be balanced out with special teams and other aspects of it," Trestman said. "I'm looking forward to seeing (Lynch) in pads and seeing these younger guys play in the games and competing both at the running back position and at the special teams side of it, and Jordan's doing well."
Recuperating at home:
Chris Conte, the starting free safety in 40 games the last three seasons, did not participate in any of the off-season programs as he recovers from shoulder surgery. He wasn't even in attendance Wednesday or Thursday.
"We sent him home because he's been sick with something that could be contagious," Marc Trestman said. "(But) it's nothing serious, I want to make that very clear."
Coming and going:
Veteran defensive end Israel Idonije's contract was terminated, and tight end Fendi Onobun and safety Sean Cattouse were cut after Thursday's final minicamp practice.
Defensive end Jamil Merrell and linebacker Conor O'Neil were signed.
The roster currently stands at 88, two short of the maximum.