Bears' Jordan Palmer will be No. 2 QB Friday
Not everyone would consider it a great opportunity to participate in a job competition against the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks in front of their deafening home crowd at CenturyLink Field.
But that's the way Jordan Palmer's looking at Friday night's game in Seattle.
Palmer is battling Jimmy Clausen for the top spot -- and maybe the only spot -- behind starting quarterback Jay Cutler. Palmer will follow Cutler in the rotation against a Seahawks defense that was the NFL's best in six key categories last year, including passing yards allowed, average gain per pass allowed and interceptions.
Both teams will play their starters longer than in any other preseason game, possibly into the third quarter. So Palmer may not see many of the Seahawks' starters, but he also won't benefit from playing with most of the Bears' starters.
Everyone will have to deal with the racket.
"It's a great opportunity because of the environment," Palmer said. "There's going to be some adversity that we're going to have to deal with (regarding) the noise. It's a great opportunity to show some composure and move the team down the field."
In limited preseason work, Cutler has a 123.3 passer rating, but he'll face a tougher test than he did versus the Eagles and Jaguars.
"Jay will work certainly into the second quarter," coach Marc Trestman said. How much longer he plays, possibly, into the first possession of the third quarter, "will be dependent on a number of different things," the coach said.
One factor will be how well an offensive line still missing right tackle Jordan Mills protects Cutler, who has not been sacked in the preseason.
After Cutler departs, Palmer should play about a full quarter, as will Clausen, who will close. Rookie sixth-round quarterback David Fales is not expected to play.
Cutler and the No. 1 offense have the luxury of two more weeks to tinker with any problems they encounter Friday night. More is at stake for Palmer and Clausen, especially if the Bears decide to keep just two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster.
Fales seems a logical choice for the practice squad, which has been expanded this year from eight to 10 players. In that case, both veterans could stick, but that's iffy.
Palmer says he doesn't have time to ponder how the QB battle and the numbers game will play out for the final roster spots.
"I seldom think about the competition," he said. "We have so much stuff on our plates as quarterbacks in this system every day to get prepared for practice, to get prepared for preseason games. I'm locked in."
Palmer played just the fourth quarter last week in the second preseason game but helped the Bears rally from a 12-point deficit to a 20-19 victory, directing a pair of late TD drives.
"It was a lot of fun going in down 12 and trying to get the most out of each play and letting guys make plays," the sixth-year veteran said. "It's a confidence builder."
In five NFL seasons over six years, Palmer has zero starts and has thrown just 15 passes while playing in only four games. He's thrown just 3 passes since 2009 (completing them all).
"I'm grateful for any opportunity," he said. "I'm at the point in my career, where it could have been over a couple of different times. Just to be competing against quarterbacks that are really, really good, I'm excited. That's the only way I'm looking at it."
Every play, positive or negative, could be the one that determines who stays and who goes, but that's not the mindset Palmer wants to have as he goes into any game.
"That's why I'm definitely not thinking about it that way," he said. "I'm thinking about trying to get the most out of each series and putting together some drives and trying to win a game. The other stuff, it doesn't really enter my mind."
By the time Clausen gets in, he'll be playing with some second-team guys and some third-team hopefuls. Some he'll be familiar with, some he won't -- pretty much the plight of any backup QB in the preseason.
"It's definitely difficult," Clausen said. "You don't get a lot of (practice) reps with some of the guys. You just have to adjust, trust that they're going to be in the right place and put the ball there for them."