Jordan Palmer (above) knows he’s in a battle with Jimmy Clausen and David Fales to back up Jay Cutler. | Jessica Koscielniak/Sun-Times
Updated: September 4, 2014 6:38AM
BOURBONNAIS — Jordan Palmer technically is first in line for the Bears’ No. 2 quarterback spot behind starter Jay Cutler.
‘‘He has been here the longest,’’ coach Marc Trestman said.
‘‘He knows the system very well, and he had some work last year,’’ quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh said.
But even Palmer, who has been with the Bears since October, knows those advantages wither as Jimmy Clausen — whom the Bears signed well into their offseason program June 5 — and sixth-round draft pick David Fales learn Trestman’s system. He’s in no position to handicap the competition, but he’s aware of the tenuous spot he’s in.
‘‘It’s tough to tell,’’ said Palmer, who has appeared in four NFL games in five seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals (2008-10), Jacksonville Jaguars (2012) and Bears (2013). ‘‘I’m really only focused on the plays that I’m given and when I get in. We have a competitive group. Dave Fales is getting better every day. Jimmy Clausen is a really good player. And Jay is playing like he’s ready for an MVP season.’’
Palmer, 30, is hardly the people’s choice. Clausen is a former prodigy, Notre Dame All-American and second-round draft pick. Fales is a rookie starting with Trestman at the ground floor.
But while Palmer is aware of the competition, he said he’s not hearing footsteps.
‘‘I think you can only control what opportunities you’re given,’’ the pragmatic Palmer said. ‘‘There is competition across the board at a lot of positions on this team. So when I go in, I’m focusing on making sure I’m moving the team and going through my reads the way the coaches ask me to do it.’’
Cavanaugh is a long way from handicapping the battle for the No. 2 quarterback job, too. At this point, he said Palmer is right there with everybody else. But he stressed none of the candidates has much experience in Trestman’s system.
‘‘[Palmer] knows the system very well and had some work last year — but not a lot, even in practice,’’ Cavanaugh said. ‘‘So that’s where he’s catching up now is on the field, and he’s doing a good job. He’s a tall [6-5], strong-armed guy who’s smart and makes good decisions.’’
The Bears covet quarterbacks who can make decisions and avoid turnovers more than anything in Trestman’s offense, and Cavanaugh said those are two of Palmer’s strengths.
‘‘He showed in the preseason last year that he can make good decisions and not turn it over,’’ Cavanaugh said. ‘‘Those are some staples of a quarterback that’s got a chance to make it. He did a good job of that last year, and he’s showing the same signs this year.’’