CenturyLink Field, with its deafening roars from the stands, might not be the right venue. And the Seattle Seahawks, playing their first home game after an 0-2 start, might not be the apropos opponent.
But at some point, the Bears will have to find out what they have in quarterback David Fales, especially if Jay Cutler remains sidelined by a strained hamstring.
“I have the confidence, and I know I can do it,” Fales said. “I know I just have to get a chance. I’m just continually trying to get ready, and when the time does come, I’ve got to know my stuff and play well and make plays.
“Obviously, I believe in myself, and I do think I can make plays, and when I get my chance, I will.”
Jimmy Clausen gets the first crack against the Seahawks. He’s the veteran who has been Cutler’s backup since the offseason program. He has played in hostile environments in the NFL; Fales hasn’t.
While Clausen’s strengths and failures are well-documented, the Bears still want to see what he can do in coordinator Adam Gase’s offense. Gase cited his own play-calling for some of Clausen’s woes against the Arizona Cardinals.
The difference is that Clausen, who’s 28 and in his sixth season, isn’t a long-term solution for when the Bears finally move on from Cutler. If Clausen flounders in Seattle and Cutler remains out, the Bears should start Fales in Week 4 against the Oakland Raiders at Soldier Field.
The Bears could be looking at another top-10 pick, possibly in the top five, and there will be quarterbacks to consider, namely Cal’s Jared Goff and Michigan State’s Connor Cook. They need to know what Fales can do.
Former general manager Phil Emery drafted Fales in the sixth round last year with the belief that he could develop into a viable backup. Fales, of course, believes he’s much more than that.
Fales enjoyed running former coach Marc Trestman’s offensive system, but Gase’s is even better. It includes having a comfort level with the zone-read option.
“There are a lot of the same concepts, but there is a lot more variety,” Fales said when comparing Trestman’s and Gase’s offenses. “There are more answers.”
Fales did reach a point in Trestman’s offense where Emery considered him a keeper. The New England Patriots, of all teams, tried to sign him off the practice squad late last season, but the Bears promoted him. The San Diego Chargers also had interest in Fales.
That the Patriots and Chargers, teams with franchise quarterbacks, came calling should signal that the Bears might have something in Fales. But this is where Fales wants to be.
With quarterback Zac Dysert in town to compete, Fales’ winning performance this preseason against the Cleveland Browns — 14-for-18 passing for 131 yards, two touchdowns and a 134.0 passer rating — could turn out to be the first sign of things to come.
“I like this offense, and I know I can play well,” Fales said. “Even the one game I played against Cleveland, I understand the pass [protection]. I understand the concepts. I know what to get to. I understand what it’s good against and what it’s not good against. I want to be here.”
RB Jeremy Langford
The rookie had a full series against the Cardinals when Jay Cutler was at quarterback. But will he run the zone-read option with Jimmy Clausen?
LB Shea McClellin
He’s off to a better-than-expected start, but now he has a mobile QB in Russell Wilson to chase around. Can he do it?
LB Pernell McPhee
He’s still beating himself up over his missed sack last week. Now he has an important job to do in containing the Seahawks’ zone-read option. This is his first time facing Wilson.
RB Marshawn Lynch
The veteran is a game-time decision because of a calf injury. But ‘‘Beast Mode’’ has struggled early this season with only 114 yards on 33 carries.
S Kam Chancellor
The Seahawks’ defense is happy to get its Pro Bowl safety back. He won’t be in game shape, but he can still make a difference.
DE Michael Bennett
Martellus’ brother is the Seahawks’ best pass rusher with two sacks and two quarterback hits in the first two weeks.
‘‘He’s a magician. He’s extremely fast, extremely quick, extremely instinctive. And [he’s] very confident with the ball, sees the field, has a feel for what’s around him.’’
— Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, on Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
Marc Mariani, No. 80, kick returner
The struggles of the coverage teams have overshadowed a decent start for Marc Mariani.
A Pro Bowl returner when he played for the Tennessee Titans, Mariani is averaging 26.8 yards on his kickoff returns through two games, and he returned a punt 20 yards against the Arizona Cardinals last week.
“Marc certainly did a great job on that 20-yard return, set us up across the 50-yard line,” special-teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers said. “There were a couple of guys that if they’d have finished a little longer maybe we would have scored on that play.”
All five of Mariani’s kickoff returns have gone for more than 20 yards.
Having Mariani handling kicks and punts also is a big difference from last year, when the Bears struggled to find a reliable returner in the early going.
“[He’s] a really good decision-maker,” Rodgers said. “[He’s] a tough guy, not afraid to catch it in traffic.”
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