By Chris Emma-
BOURBONNAIS (CBS) — The eagerness seems evident with each dropback. David Fales is desperate for his chance to succeed with the Bears.
Patience is the key throughout training camp, where quarterback reps come at a premium. It’s something Fales is managing. Yet, with each practice reps, his eyes are glancing deep downfield, looking for the big play — another opportunity to prove himself. He’s swinging for the home run far too often.
Pressing would be a dire mistake, one which the Bears’ rookie sixth-round selection can’t afford. He must make smart decisions on the fly, easier said than done with big, blitzing defensive linemen pressuring the pocket. Fales is learning to read and react — the greatest adjustment from college to pros.
“It’s more of the mental speed,” said Fales, who’s trying to make the Chicago roster as a reserve quarterback. “Getting adjusted and thinking a lot faster and reacting. It’s all mentally a lot faster.”
Fales fell to Chicago late in the sixth round, potentially a gift for a quarterback once projected for a second- or third-round selection. Bears general manager Phil Emery jumped at the prospect of bringing in the San Jose State star.
Still, opportunities on the field have been at a minimum for Fales, keeping the Bears from getting a true evaluation through a week and a half of training camp.
“He just needs the work, the reps, the experience in camp and exhibition games, the preseason games,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “We’ll continue to watch, but we like what we’ve seen up to this point.”
There have been several helping hands for the rookie, but none greater than starting quarterback Jay Cutler, a constant influence, both on and off the field. Cutler has gone out of his way to work with Fales, offering advice and guidance.
“He has a lot of tips that only he can give me, because he’s been doing it for nine years, and he’s on the field doing it,” Fales said of Cutler. “Some stuff that’s not written in the book — he has tips from experience.”
With Trestman’s preference to play the first-team offense and defense for the majority of scrimmage reps, Fales has been limited in training camp chances. Meanwhile, the Bears’ battle for a backup quarterback is a two-horse race between Jimmy Clausen and Jordan Palmer, each receiving more snaps than Fales in practice.
Being a rookie recently drafted by the Bears, it’s likely Fales will stick with the team’s practice squad if a spot on the 53-man roster isn’t available. However, he wants better.
Friday’s first preseason game, a home contest with the Philadelphia Eagles, will offer the Bears their best look at Fales. He’ll have an important opportunity to prove his worth. There can’t be any pressing or stressing when practice turns to a game.
“Can’t wait — I’m excited,” Fales said. “Just excited to get out and compete with all the guys and finally get some live bullets.”
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.