But after a subpar performance against the Eagles in the first preseason game of the year, followed up by a sharp outing from Clausen, the two quarterbacks have flip-flopped on the depth chart. Although coaches will say that it’s just to give the quarterbacks equal time and work, it was pretty apparent Clausen has outplayed Palmer and is in the lead for the primary backup duties to starter Jay Cutler.
Now that Clausen will see some time with some better players, it’s not unreasonable to think he’ll play even better, especially against a less talented Jaguars team. If he continues to show improvement and instill confidence in the coaching staff that he’d be able to fill in at a moment’s notice like Josh McCown did last year, then Clausen could all but seal the deal Thursday against the Jaguars.
Next week’s game against the Seahawks — the third of the preseason — serves as the dress rehearsal for the regular season, when the starters generally play into the second half. This leaves little time for Palmer to make up ground, with only one preseason game after that. But if Clausen flops against the Jaguars and Palmer finds some success, the battle could come down to the Browns game in two weeks.