Chicago Bears: Five Most Important Offensive Backups

2 of 6

Dec 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jimmy Clausen (8) throws a pass against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. The Lions defeated the Bears 20-14. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Clausen, QB

The most important backup on the Bears offense isn’t a surprise.

Quarterback for the Bears has been a controversy since starter Jay Cutler struggled in 2009, his first season in Chicago. Except for when Josh McCown was playing well in 2013, it’s never really been a controversy over who should start; it’s always about Jay’s inconsistent play, his surliness and, of course, the psychoanalytical babbling about his body language.

There isn’t a starter controversy this year, either. No one thinks (or really should want) Jimmy Clausen to start. However, this is the reality: Jay hasn’t played a full season since 2009. He was hurt in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013; and in 2014 he was benched for Clausen for the penultimate game of the season against Detroit. And with a new regime – who I expect to be less forgiving of the Jay being Jay games that surface every other week – in place, there will likely be less tolerance for his inconsistencies.

Enter Clausen, who is in many ways the anti-Cutler. He doesn’t have an overly strong arm, doesn’t have Cutler’s mobility, and I’ve never heard anyone complain about how his shoulders droop after coming off the field.

Clausen started one game last year (a 20-14 loss to Detroit), throwing for 181 yards with two touchdowns against one interception. He also had mop-up duty in disastrous losses against Green Bay (twice) and New England (thankfully only once). He didn’t impress, but didn’t embarrass. So far, he seems to be doing well in the new Bears system, in which new Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase called Clausen is a “perfect fit,” according to Jeff Dickerson of

Mainly, Clausen is one of the five most important backups for the Bears due to Cutler’s injury history and inconsistencies, but also because the other quarterbacks on the roster – rookie Shane Carden and incumbent second-year player David Fales – are unproven. If anything happens to Cutler, Clausen will see extensive playing time at the most important position in the game, and that is why he is on the list.

Next: The Next Good Back?