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Jay Cutler helped Jimmy Clausen learn the playbook

Updated: August 26, 2014 6:42AM

BOURBONNAIS — If there’s one place where Jay Cutler makes friends easily, it’s the quarterback room.

Newcomer Jimmy Clausen discovered that immediately after signing with the Bears last month. Cutler helped Clausen begin a crash course in coach Marc Trestman’s offense that could pay big dividends in training camp.

“He helped me out a lot — especially that first day, going through the formations and just the basic things they do in this offense,” Clausen said. “A lot of plays in the playbook aren’t necessarily the ones you run. So he kind of went through pretty much the entire playbook and said, ‘Hey, you need to know this.’ He really helped me a lot.”

Clausen, who will compete with Jordan Palmer and rookie David Fales for the backup spot behind Cutler, admitted he was surprised that Cutler did that.

“A little bit,” Clausen said. “Just hearing different things around the league — ‘Jay’s this. Jay’s that.’ But you’ve got to get to know a person, a man, on the team. He’s just like all the rest of the guys — just hungry to get out there every day, work hard and win on Sundays.”

If Clausen proves he learns as quickly as the Bears suspect, he might be the favorite to win the job.

“I’ve got a good grasp of [the offense],” Clausen said. “It’s just taking what I’ve been studying onto the field and having that translate into practice — getting the right play, getting out of plays. It’ll be interesting to get on the field and get going.”

Long on the mend

Right guard Kyle Long, who will miss the opening weekend of practices because of a viral infection, is in camp as he prepares to return.

“I was pretty sick and run-down this past weekend, but I’m feeling a lot better,” Long said Thursday.

Slauson like new again

Left guard Matt Slauson, who had surgery in the offseason to repair a partially torn right labrum, said he’s “shipshape” and ready to go for training camp.

Slauson had surgery on his left shoulder after the 2011 season and played in all 16 games with the Jets in 2012.

“I’m way more confident this go-round in my strength and stability in it, so I don’t think it’s going to be an issue,” Slauson said. “There’s no pain. I’m stronger now than I was [at this time] last year. The only thing that’s going to take a little bit is getting the confidence back.”

Bears in good condition

Various players reported no mishaps in the annual conditioning test — a series of 300-yard shuttle runs.

“It was great,” defensive end Lamarr Houston said. “Everybody finished, and everybody was in shape. Coach Trestman was impressed and so was our strength staff. And we looked good as a team.”

◆ The Bears put safety Craig Steltz, who had groin surgery, on the physically unable to perform list.


Twitter: @MarkPotash

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