PRO FOOTBALL

Palmer tees off in his Bears' debut

2013-08-29T22:30:00Z 2013-08-30T21:06:21Z Palmer tees off in his Bears' debutAl Hamnik al.hamnik@nwi.com, (219) 933-4154 nwitimes.com
August 29, 2013 10:30 pm  • 

CHICAGO | Jordan Palmer is not the Bears' starting quarterback, though you'd never know a guy fighting for the lowly No. 3 spot on the depth chart could be out of his skull with excitement.

Palmer is, and he's not apologizing for it.

"I can't put it into words how excited I am," he said.

The fifth-year veteran started Thursday night's preseason finale against the Browns with hopes of making the 53-man roster, which must be finalized by 5 p.m. Saturday.

Palmer and Trent Edwards are vying for that final spot, providing Bears' coach Marc Trestman chooses to go with three QBs.

If not, the practice squad might be an option.

"I've been in not this exact situation before, but I've been in situations where I haven't gotten a lot of reps and not really sure about the guys you're in there with," Palmer had said earlier.

"At this point, it doesn't become how many yards you throw for, how many touchdowns you throw. It becomes how do you manage each series, complete balls, move the chains and finish in the red zone."

Bears' starters were given the night off against a Cleveland franchise that has had five consecutive seasons with at least 11 losses.

The Browns, despite missing a pair of two-point conversions, hung on for an 18-16 win in front of 12,926 no-shows at Soldier Field.

"I feel ready to go and Coach Trestman has done an unbelievable job carving out enough time for me and Trent to get ready," said Palmer, who played at Jacksonville last season and is the kid brother of Cardinals' QB Carson Palmer.

Trent Edwards didn't sound quite as confident during the week.

"I wish I could've been here longer to absorb all the stuff on offense, but the bottom line is moving the chains," he said.

Palmer called his comfort level "strong to quite strong" and showed it the first half of Chicago's 10-3 lead, completing 11-of-17 passes for 111 yards, a short touchdown throw to Joe Anderson and a QB rating of 102.8.

"It says a lot about his preparation," Trestman said at halftime. "He came in here, he dug in, he has learned a lot of the offense and spent a lot of time on his own trying to assimilate all of it.

"I'm happy for him that he played very efficiently for us."

Edwards had a forgettable third quarter, completing 4-of-7 passes for 84 yards and a 23-yard interception touchdown return by James Michael-Johnson that glanced off the fingertips of receiver Fendi Onobun.

Edwards finished 10-of-17 for 135 yards and a QB rating of 59.7.

Robbie Gould provided much of the Bears (2-2) offense with field goals of 52, 21 and 44 yards but missed a 57-yarder with 1:09 to play.

Cleveland (3-1) scored 10 points in the final 6:47, aided by Harvey Unga's fumble at the Chicago 44, to pull it out.

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