When Josh McCown signed a two-year, $10MM deal with the Buccaneers in March, the position of Bears backup quarterback swung wide open. And when the team added San Jose State’s David Fales with a sixth-round pick two months later, the competition got that much juicier.
Three men are competing for the No. 2 spot on the QB depth chart: Jordan Palmer (brother of Carson), Jerrod Johnson and the aforementioned Fales. Palmer is the leader in the clubhouse, according to Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune, a spot he’s earned with experience. A sixth-round pick in 2007, 2014 will mark his eighth season of professional football.
Johnson spent 18 days on the practice squad in September, Wiederer notes, and has yet to throw a pass in the NFL after entering the league in 2011 as an undrafted free agent from Texas A&M.
Whoever wins the spot has big shoes to fill — McCown shined bright last season filling in for an injured Jay Cutler, leading the league in fewest interceptions per throw and winning three of five starts. The biggest reason for his success, per quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh, was the relationship he shared with Cutler.
“Josh was a great example of a guy where, although he knew he was going to be backing up Jay, he truly approached every day like he was going to be getting all the reps,” Cavanaugh said. “He worked very hard. And not only that, he was selfless enough to know that although I’m competing, I want to be able to help Jay too.
“Those guys had a unique relationship that Jay really counted on. Josh was his sounding board a lot. Sometimes when coaches speak to you, it’s coach-speak. You want to hear one of your buddies say, ‘Hey, they’re right.’ Or, ‘Let’s talk it through and then we’ll approach them about it.’ So there’s a role to be played there.”