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Hoge’s Notes: Could The Bears Keep Four Quarterbacks?

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Matt Blanchard. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Matt Blanchard. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Adam Hoge Adam Hoge
Adam is a senior writer, columnist and Chicago Bears reporter for...
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By Adam Hoge-

HALAS HALL (CBS) – Every NFL team would like to carry three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster, it’s just not always the best option if you’re forced to carry more guys at other positions.

The Bears are no different. In fact, Monday, head coach Marc Trestman even floated the idea of keeping four.

“Depending on (Matt Blanchard’s) situation, we’ll have to make a determination whether we’ll have three or possibly four on the roster, more likely three, and that could involve (Jordan Palmer and Trent Edwards) certainly at this point,” Trestman said. “But it’s still up in the air based on what happens the next few weeks and what happens with Matt.”

What happens with Blanchard depends on how bad the fractured knuckle on his non-throwing hand turns out to be. The second-year quarterback is still seeking out other opinions and is scheduled to see a specialist. The biggest hurdle to a return will be his ability to handle a snap. If Blanchard can return shortly after the regular season starts, it’s certainly possible he would clear waivers and could be added to the practice squad. That’s where you could see the Bears carrying four quarterbacks if they also elect to keep Jordan Palmer, who is the No. 3 quarterback behind Jay Cutler and Josh McCown at this point.

Trestman made it pretty clear Monday that he values insurance at the quarterback position. Essentially Trent Edwards was signed a day after Palmer just to ensure the Bears don’t get stuck with another situation like Thursday night when McCown had to return to the game and run a vanilla offense to avoid a further depth hit at the position.

“If something would happen to Jordan as the third, we still would have wanted to protect Josh, so that’s the reason why we’ve got two quarterbacks coming in,” Trestman said.

Splitting Playing Time

Trestman outlined his plan for how he’ll play the quarterbacks in the final two preseason games. Cutler will play at least the first half of Friday’s game in Oakland and could see some reps in the third quarter as well. McCown is then slated to play the third quarter and Palmer will finish off the game in the fourth.

Not surprisingly, neither Cutler nor McCown will see time in the final preseason game Aug. 29 against the Browns. Palmer will play the first half and Edwards will play the second half.

Two Weeks Vacation

Just two days ago, Palmer was sitting in his California office interviewing interns for his sports marketing company. Monday, he was at Halas Hall learning a very complicated offense.

“I didn’t even have an opportunity to go buy the razor, so, hence, the scruffy beard,” Palmer said. “It’s difficult, but at the same time all you can ask for is an opportunity, and that’s what this is.”

Palmer worked out for the Bears a few months back and has been staying in shape by working out, throwing the football and “surfing a lot.”

So what’s his mentality during this tryout with the Bears?

“I’m throwing to guys I don’t know, taking snaps from guys I don’t know, playing against guys I don’t know and in an offense I don’t really know,” he said. “How do you find completions? It’s not about throwing touchdowns, it’s not about not throwing picks, it’s about finding completions, and that is literally it.”

We’ll find out if that’s enough for Palmer to stick as the No. 3 quarterback, but for now he only took two weeks off from his regular job.

Notables:

- As expected, rookies Kyle Long and Jordan Mills will remain the starters at right guard and right tackle, respectively, Friday in Oakland.

- Mel Tucker acknowledged that second-year defensive end Shea McClellin needs to improve against the run.

- Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said Michael Ford’s 100-yard kick return was actually one of the poorer blocking efforts his unit had Thursday, making the run that much more impressive. That said, Ford only averaged 1.9 yards per carry on 15 carries at running back.

- Asked if he’ll have a say on final cuts, DeCamillis said: “Everybody has got a say. It’s the first time everybody has been through this here with this staff.”

Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.

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