Bears coach Matt Eberflus is insistent on secrecy about his backup quarterback, but his first depth chart of the season Tuesday had Nathan Peterman in that spot, followed by Tyson Bagent on third string.
The Bears will start Justin Fields in the season opener Sunday against the Packers, but it’s unknown who would come in for him if needed.
Bagent made the team as an undrafted rookie out of Shepherd University and is an intriguing developmental player for the Bears. Peterman is a seventh-year veteran who played three games for the Bears last season.
Because they’re both on the active roster, Bagent and Peterman are eligible to be the team’s emergency third quarterback under a new rule that takes effect this season. For example, Peterman could be active Sunday and Bagent inactive, but if Fields and Peterman both got hurt, Bagent could play.
If both reserves are active, the depth chart doesn’t preclude Eberflus from sending in either player in any order.
The Bears originally wanted P.J. Walker as backup quarterback, but he played poorly in training camp and preseason games and got cut last week.
There were few surprises on the Bears’ initial depth chart.
Their first-string wide receivers are DJ Moore, Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool. Cole Kmet is the starting tight end. Khalil Herbert is the top running back.
The offensive line starters are left tackle Braxton Jones, left guard Cody Whitehair, center Lucas Patrick, right guard Nate Davis and right tackle Darnell Wright. Teven Jenkins was supposed to be the starting left guard, but he’s on injured reserve for at least the first four games. It’s also possible the Bears will switch Patrick and Whitehair.
Defensively, the Bears listed starting cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson and Kyler Gordon and safeties Eddie Jackson and Jaquan Brisker in the secondary. Brisker has been working back from an injury, but there’s optimism that he’ll be ready to play.
The Bears will rely on newcomers Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards at linebacker.
Jack Sanborn also is listed as a starter, but the Bears probably will play in nickel defense the majority of the time, which means cornerback Tyrique Stevenson would be in for Sanborn. The Bears likely will go with Johnson and Stevenson as their starting outside corners, with Gordon playing in the slot as the nickel.
The starting defensive line features ends Yannick Ngakoue and DeMarcus Walker and tackles Justin Jones and Andrew Billings. Rookie defensive tackles Gervon Dexter (second-round pick) and Zacch Pickens (third) are second-stingers.