The Phinsider’s annual 90-in-90 series is back today with another in-depth look at the players who are currently vying to make the Miami Dolphins’ 53-man roster. This series of articles takes a look at each individual on the roster, breaking down how they performed in 2017, why they could progress or regress in 2018, and the odds that the player makes the team when the regular season arrives.
This year, we have already finished reviewed wide receiver Leonte Carroo, punter Matt Haack, safety T.J. McDonald, running back Buddy Howell, wide receiver DeVante Parker, defensive end William Hayes, wide receiver Isaiah Ford, safety/cornerback Walt Aikens, defensive end Claudy Mathieu, linebacker Kiko Alonso, cornerback Xavien Howard, long snapper Lucas Gravelle, wide receiver Danny Amendola, tight end A.J. Derby, running back Frank Gore, defensive tackle Gabe Wright, wide receiver Kenny Stills, cornerback Tony Lippett, and kickers Jason Sanders and Greg Joseph, and left tackle Laremy Tunsil. rookie tight end Mike Gesicki, and linebacker Raekwon McMillan, and wide receiver Jakeem Grant. Today, we take a look at quarterback David Fales.
Fales spent the majority of the 2017 season as the third quarterback on Miami’s depth chart behind veterans Jay Cutler and Matt Moore. It wasn’t until week 17, when Miami was officially out of the playoff race and the coaching staff wanted an extended look at the backups, that Fales got a chance to receive real playing time.
In that game against the division rival Bills (a playoff team with plenty to play for) Fales played admirably. The 27-year old recorded 29 completions on 43 attempts (67.4%) for 265 yards, one touchdown, and one interception for an 82.0 QBR in a hard-fought 16-22 loss. He connected well with DeVante Parker, who accumulated six receptions for 64 yards in the contest, as well as Kenny Stills who caught three passes for 34 yards.
Why he will progress
Fales has now played under Adam Gase for several seasons, both in Chicago (where Gase was an offensive coordinator) and in Miami. Now entering his second year in Gase’s Miami edition of his offense, Fales should have an extremely solid understanding of how to run the team’s attack. Another offseason with the team’s returning pass catchers like Parker, Stills, Jakeem Grant, Leonte Carroo, etc. should only further help Fales to build chemistry with Miami’s playmakers.
This is also the first time in Fales’ career in South Florida that he has a legitimate shot at earning the no. 2 position on the quarterback depth chart. Having competition for this position with Brock Osweiler and David Fales should only push Fales further.
Why he might regress
There are few reasons to believe Fales will regress at this point in his career. He’s young, he’s been healthy as of late, and he’s entering the second year in this iteration of Gase’s offense. Though, one point that I’d be remiss to ignore is the fact that we have quite a small sample size of Fales in regular season play. This means that if he is called into action as a starter for any reason this year, it’s entirely possible that he performs above or below the standard he set in that Week 17 game up in Buffalo.
Chances of making the 53-man roster
As we head into training camp, early reports indicate that Fales is in the lead in the backup quarterback competition. He’s reportedly impressed the coaching staff (specifically Gase) repeatedly, though the job is not yet his by any means. During training camp and the preseason, which is when position battles really heat up, we’ll get a better understanding of where each of the three backup passers stand with regards to their roster chances.
At this point, I would venture that the Dolphins keep just two quarterbacks on the roster considering the team’s depth at other positions like wide receiver, cornerback, safety, and linebacker. With this in mind, it appears Fales has the best shot at backing up Ryan Tannehill, at least for now.