Bears QB Trevor Siemian: ‘If I gotta play, I’ll be ready’

Quarterback Justin Fields, who separated his left shoulder and suffered partial ligament damage when he was tackled along the sideline with about two minutes to play in Sunday’s loss to the Falcons, was limited for the third-straight practice Friday.

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Chicago Bears v Cleveland Browns

Trevor Siemian throws a pass during a preseason game against the Browns.

Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Every time Bears quarterback Justin Fields has been knocked to the ground this season, Trevor Siemian has had the same thought: Is this the one?

That’s the life of a backup QB — always one brutal hit away from sprinting onto the field.

“Every time the starter gets hit or gets to the ground, you keep an eye on him an extra second longer than everybody else,” Siemian said Friday. “That’s part of it. But Justin is a tough dude, too. As I watch him, I have that in the back of my mind. You’re monitoring the starter every play.”

Or, this week, every practice snap.

Fields, who separated his left shoulder and suffered partial ligament damage when he was tackled along the sideline with about two minutes to play in last week’s loss to the Falcons, was limited for a third straight practice Friday. The Bears are calling him questionable for Sunday’s game against the Jets and making his starter status as blurry as they can.

Being named the starter “would be news to me,” Siemian said.

The Northwestern alum, who started one game for the Jets in 2019, has thrown a single pass for the Bears, which came late in a blowout loss to the Cowboys on Oct. 30. Amazingly, Fields has yet to miss a snap because of injury, even running once and throwing a pass (albeit for an interception) after he hurt his shoulder.

“Every week, you’re ready to go,” Siemian said. “You anticipate to play every week, truly. That’s how you have to prepare to stay in it. It could happen the first snap. It could happen on Play 62. You’ve just got to be ready to roll whenever your number’s called.”

If it is called, the Bears’ playbook figures to look different. Siemian joked he’d been studying “some old Wing-T film.” Wide receiver Chase Claypool tried to maintain, with a smirk, that Siemian is just as dangerous a runner as Fields, the NFL’s top running quarterback.

“We call him Trev the Blur,” he said, joking.

In reality, a Siemian start would mean a more traditional offensive approach for the Bears, who have a league-low 229 passes this year. Siemian, however, doesn’t work often with the first-team receivers. Fields gets almost all the starter reps during a healthy week.

“That’s how it is for a backup quarterback, and that’s kind of the understanding when you come in,” Siemian said. “You’re the 2 — you’ve got to be ready to play, whether you get all the reps or none. The expectation is to play and play well.”

Chemistry with the receivers is “as good as it can be” for a backup, Siemian said. When he’s not taking snaps, he knows what to look for.

“That’s part of my job too, is staying back and watching guys run routes, reading their body languages, looking at coverages, staying engaged in the meetings,” he said. “I feel good where that’s at.”

Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said Siemian’s experience gives the Bears confidence. He has started 29 career games, coming off the bench during the game only five times. All but six of his starts came with the Broncos in 2016-17 after he replaced Peyton Manning following the Hall of Famer’s retirement.

Siemian went 0-4 as the Saints’ starter last year but won two games in which he got considerable snaps off the bench. On the season, he was 108-for-188 for 1,154 yards, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions, with an 88.4 passer rating.

If he needs to play, Siemian — who has dealt with a separated left shoulder twice in his career, calling it “uncomfortable” with a wince — won’t be intimidated. Coach Matt Eberflus has praised his performance in quarterback meetings, citing his “great functional intelligence to be able to operate the offense.”

Whatever it looks like.

“I’m here. I’ve got to be capable of doing some of [the rushing] stuff,” Siemian said. “If I’ve got to play, I’ll be ready.”

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