Following his first-career NFL touchdown pass, quarterback David Fales was given the football from the play to keep forever. The rookie is hoping that ball isn't his only memento from Thursday night's 33-13 loss to the Cleveland Browns.
|David Fales completed 13 of 24 passes for 146 yds, 1 TD & 1 INT against the Browns Thursday.|
Fales would like a roster spot along with that special keepsake. The team's sixth-round draft pick, Fales didn't leave the sideline in the past two preseason games for the Bears, but was the only quarterback on the field on Thursday. He showed good poise and some flashes of talent, including the 32-yard touchdown he tossed in the second quarter to veteran wide receiver Santonio Holmes. However, he also made some mistakes, and now he is left to wonder if he has shown the team's coaching staff enough in the three-and-a-half months since he was drafted to warrant a spot on the depth chart.
The Bears must cut the roster down from 75 players to 53 by Saturday at 3:00 p.m. CST. The following day, the team can sign 10 players to its practice squad.
"I thought I did a pretty good job, personally," Fales said of his performance against the Browns. "I also think that we all worked pretty well together with all of the guys we had out there."
The rookie's best moments of the night came in the first half, against Cleveland's first-string defense. Fales completed 11 of 17 passes during the game's first 30 minutes, throwing for 117 yards and the touchdowns to Holmes, good for a quarterback rating of 107.2 heading into halftime. Five different receivers caught passes during the half, and Fales had two completions of longer than 30 yards.
Fales completed only two passes in the second half. He finished the game with 146 yards on 13 of 24 passing, with one touchdown and one interception.
Indecisiveness was a problem for the rookie all game long. Fales took a 13-yard loss on a sack in the first quarter by holding on to the ball too long, and he threw an interception in the third quarter after throwing late on a crossing route to receiver Chris Williams. Afterwards, coach Marc Trestman reflected on his performance and what he must do to improve.
"(David) got bounced around pretty good tonight," Trestman said. "He got back up and made some throws. He hung in there tough. It was a good effort."
Now comes the waiting game for Fales. Trestman, a former quarterback coach, praised the signal-caller's intelligence and skillset earlier in the week leading up to the Browns game. Now that the contest is in the books, it is up to the coach and general manager Phil Emery to determine if the rookie fits best on the active roster as the third quarterback behind Jay Cutler and Jimmy Clausen, or if that spot is best utilized by a player at another position. The Bears carried only two quarterbacks out of training camp last season, though those were different circumstances, as the team had not invested a draft choice in a player earlier that year.
If Fales is released, the Bears can sign him to the practice squad if he clears waivers. However if another team puts a claim in on the quarterback, that organization must put Fales on its 53-man roster to keep him.
"I'm just doing as well as I can day-by-day, rather than trying to make the roster," Fales said. "We will see what decisions are made (this weekend) and in the future."