First-year Chicago Bears coach John Fox remains coy on naming a starting quarterback, but all signs are pointing toward Jimmy Clausen facing the 0-2 Seattle Seahawks in their home opener Sunday.
According to various reports from around the NFL, Jay Cutler will miss at least two weeks with the hamstring injury suffered in the Bears’ 48-23 loss Sunday to Arizona.
Clausen, the Notre Dame product, came on in relief in that game and completed 14 of 23 passes for 121 yards.
Clausen has good size (6-foot-2. 210 pounds). He comes from good pedigree as the USA Today national high school offensive player of the year back in 2006 at Oaks Christian in California. And he was considered one of the best Notre Dame recruits in decades.
He was selected in the second round of the 2010 draft by the Carolina Panthers. As a rookie, he made 10 starts, but won just one game — against Arizona in December.
One of those starts also came against Seattle at CenturyLink Field. He was 18 for 34 for 169 yards. His lone interception was returned 26 yards by Lofa Tatupu for a touchdown in a 31-14 Panthers’ loss.
After Carolina drafted Cam Newton a year later with the top overall pick, Clausen was a backup for the next two seasons.
Clausen signed with the Bears as an unrestricted free agent before last season, and beat out Jordan Palmer for the backup job. He started one game against Detroit.
He re-signed with Chicago this past offseason — and took all the first-team snaps Wednesday in practice.
“Just let Jimmy do what he is doing, and everyone else just (needs to) focus on doing their job to make’s Jimmy’s job easier,” said Bears tight end Martellus Bennett, younger brother of Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett. “He has been doing a great job. This would be a good game for him to show he can play out there. He wants to play well, and we want to play well for him.”
But facing the angry reigning NFC champions on their home field is certainly a lot to ask — especially against a defense that got back strong safety Kam Chancellor on Wednesday from his holdout.
“The key is going to be able to executive in a pretty hostile environment with it being the Seahawks’ home opener,” Fox said. “I have been there before, and the crowd noise obviously is tough on the visiting team, no matter what colors you wear.”
On the conference call with out-of-town media, Fox was asked if Clausen would start against Seattle.
Apparently, Fox got his signal callers mixed up.
“Well if he is healthy, he starts,” Fox said. “If he is not, Jimmy will start.”
The reporter corrected Fox on which quarterback he asked about — and repeated the same question.
“Oh, oh, oh — back to what I said, repeat the same answer,” the coach said with a chuckle.
Fox did admit if the game was played mid-week, Cutler would not be healthy enough to suit up.
One of the bright spots from the Seahawks’ 27-17 loss at Green Bay on Sunday was the play of nickel cornerback Marcus Burley, who often was matched up with Randall Cobb on the inside.
Burley, whom Seattle traded for with Indianapolis last season. was on the field for 69 of the team’s 71 defensive snaps, and had seven tackles while defending Cobb.
He was thought to be on the bubble for a roster spot out of preseason, but played one of his best games for the Seahawks on Sunday.
“I felt pretty comfortable, even though there are always things to work on and get better at,” Burley said. “(Cobb) is a good receiver — as good as it gets in the slot.”
Lynch rests calf; Wagner limited
Since running back Marshawn Lynch (calf) rarely practices on Wednesdays, there is little reason to be alarmed for his availability Sunday with what the team lists as a new injury.
All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner (ankle) was limited, just like he was last week prior to the game against Green Bay — and he played against the Packers.
Reserve cornerback Tharold Simon (toe) and safety Steven Terrell (hip) remained out. Special teams player Mike Morgan (hamstring) was also sidelined. Starting cornerback Cary Williams (thigh) was a full participant.
In Chicago, receivers Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) and Eddie Royal (back/hip) missed practice, as did linebacker Jon Bostic (ankle).
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