(CBS) Third-string quarterback David Fales will start the Bears’ preseason finale against the Browns in Cleveland on Thursday night, Chicago coach Marc Trestman said Monday.
The decision comes because the Bears want to further evaluate Fales after he’s received little playing time in the first three preseason games as Chicago carried out a battle between Jimmy Clausen and Jordan Palmer for the backup duties.
The 26-year-old Clausen won that job when the Bears cut the 30-year-old Palmer on Sunday, and Trestman explained why Monday.
“They both competed really hard for the job,” Trestman said. “As I told Jordan, Jimmy played at a consistent level, as did Jordan. I really threw out the five or six plays Jordan had backed up (Friday) night. I know Jordan was terribly upset about that situation. That didn’t really come into consideration. You know, Jimmy’s played a lot more football in this league. He’s younger, and I thought the competition was very close. But I thought at the end of the day, I think the upside for Jimmy — his age, his experience — and he came highly recommended to me from some people that I trust from Carolina, his ability to handle the adversity he had in his first year (in 2010).
“So that, plus performance, plus experience, plus youth were a lot of the reasons.”
Clausen started 10 games and played in 13 for the Panthers as a rookie in 2010. Clausen hasn’t thrown a pass in a regular-season game since, as he lost his starting job the next year when Carolina took Cam Newton with the first overall pick in 2011.
Bears starter Jay Cutler won’t play Thursday, as is the custom for many starters in the preseason finale.
There’s a solid chance Fales will play the whole game Thursday. The Bears need to see more from him because they need to decide if he’ll take up a spot on the 53-man roster or if he’ll be waived and then likely signed to the practice squad.
The rookie Fales was the Bears’ sixth-round pick this past spring.
“He’s going to start the game, and we’ll see where he goes,” Trestman said. “I’d like to see him play a lot of the game. If we have to finish the game, we’ll finish it with Jimmy.
“I just wanted to get David in a position where he was getting on the Browns and was really taking some time to prepare on what’s really a short week for us.”
In participation news from Monday’s practice, offensive lineman Eben Britton (left hamstring), cornerback Kyle Fuller (right ankle) and cornerback Isaiah Frey (right hamstring) each returned to practice. Trestman didn’t know if any or all would play Thursday yet. He did call Fuller and Frey “day-to-day” in those decisions, though.
Receiver/returner Chris Williams participated in position drills after being a late scratch Friday with a right hamstring injury.
On the flip side, safety Chris Conte was absent from Monday’s practice after suffering a concussion in Friday’s loss at Seattle, which was Conte’s first game action since offseason surgery on his right shoulder. Conte is going through the NFL’s return-to-play protocol and will continue to be evaluated, Trestman said. His status for Thursday’s game is uncertain.