The offense is ready to do some damage for the Chicago Bears, but they have unresolved issues on the depth chart, starting with the backfield.
Backup Quarterback: Jordan Palmer vs. Jimmy Clausen
Jay Cutler got his fat, new contract and with it virtually zero competition for the starting job. So it will be up to the Chicago Bears to sort out who will be backing him up. Josh McCown is gone so the job is wide open. Based on recent accounts and shifting winds, it seems two names have emerged as favorites to claim it. Jordan Palmer spent part of last season as the 3rd string backup. He’s 29-years old and much like McCown is a journeyman veteran. His experience in the system grants him a considerable edge.
Opposing him will be recent free agent pickup Jimmy Clausen. Once viewed as franchise quarterback material, the 26-year old fell on hard time in Carolina, struggling mightily his rookie year in 2010. The next season Cam Newton arrived and Clausen sank into obscurity. Not until the Bears picked him up did he resurface, a little humbler than before. That said, coaches are very impressed with his skill set, particularly his arm strength and accuracy. He seems like a natural fit for the Marc Trestman offense, much like McCown was. That is why Clausen is not just a spoiler but a legitimate threat to Palmer.
Backup Running Back: Ka’Deem Carey vs. Michael Ford
Much like Cutler is untouchable at quarterback, the same goes for Matt Forte at running back for the Chicago Bears. Still, the team is intent on easing his workload in 2014 in an effort to preserve his body for what will hopefully be a playoff run. That is why they will be looking hard at the backup running back competition. Whomever wins that job should expect to see his fair share of carries.
At present rookie 4th round pick Ka’Deem Carey is earning the eyes of the coaching staff. Not only was he a huge success at Arizona, but he’s a natural fit for the offense given his versatility as a runner, receiver and blocker. That doesn’t mean the job will be handed to him though. Lurking in the background is second-year man Michael Ford. During the 2013 preseason he flashed potential in the Trestman offense both as a runner and receiver. His lack of size was always a concern, but if he was able to improve his strength during the off-season then Carey won’t shake him off so easily.