Updated: August 6, 2014 8:50PM
BOURBONNAIS — Coach Marc Trestman is hesitant to address position battles in detail, especially before the Bears have even played a game. But the intrigue of a talent such as quarterback Jimmy Clausen is hard to ignore.
With Jay Cutler expected to make no more than a token appearance with the first-team offense in the Bears’ preseason opener Friday against the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field, the battle between Clausen and Jordan Palmer for the possibly all-important No. 2 quarterback spot will be at or near the top of the card.
“I’m excited to see [Clausen] 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 under the lights.”
Clausen, who did not sign with the Bears until June 7, expressed confidence that he’s ready for the challenge — at least as ready as he can be with the amount of time he has had to prepare.
“I feel great,” Clausen said after practice Wednesday. “I feel like I know the system — not to where I want to know it a year down the road, but I feel confident executing what the coaches call.”
Clausen played against the Bears in the preseason opener last year with the Carolina Panthers. Starting the second half, Clausen fumbled a snap on his first drive, with Bears rookie defensive tackle Zach Minter recovering. Clausen finished 5-for-9 for 51 yards.
“It’s playing football, whether it’s practice or last Saturday night in [Soldier Field] or a preseason game,” he said. “You’re just playing football. You’ve got to execute and get guys in position to make it work. “
Wilson returns to camp
Wide receiver Marquess Wilson was back in camp and in good spirits after undergoing surgery Tuesday to repair a broken clavicle. The Bears have not offered a timetable for his return and likely will wait until the end of the preseason to decide if Wilson will be put on the reserve/physically unable-to-perform (PUP) list. That would prohibit him from playing or practicing for six weeks.
Guard Kyle Long, who just returned from a viral infection Saturday, sat out practice Wednesday with a bum ankle but was not concerned about it. The Bears practiced lightly — in shorts after doing individual drills in pads — and have Thursday off before the game Friday.
Right tackle Jordan Mills also did not practice because of a sore left foot but should be ready if needed Friday. Cornerback Isaiah Frey still was walking gingerly with a pulled right hamstring he suffered in practice Tuesday.
Cornerback Tim Jennings missed his fifth consecutive practice with a sore quadriceps. Jennings has missed seven of nine practices in pads and was limited in the other two. Offensive lineman Eben Britton (hamstring) and safeties Chris Conte (shoulder) and Craig Steltz (groin) are still out.