How new Detroit Lions QB David Fales plans to win backup job

J.L. Kirven
Detroit Free Press
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Earlier this week, the Detroit Lions let former Michigan State quarterback Conner Cook go.

On Thursday, his replacement took the field hoping to win the job Cook couldn't. 

David Fales took snaps with Lions quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Tom Savage during the Lions' last day of OTAs. Fales' throws didn't look as strong as Stafford's or Savage's, but he completed every ball he threw. 

Despite the Lions having a new offense this season — led by new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell — Fales has to catch up if he hopes to beat out Savage for the backup position. The challenge isn't new to him. 

"I've learned a couple different systems," Fales said. "You kind of just take that same process and just try to knock it out."

Quarterback David Fales after practice in Allen Park on Thursday.

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Fales is coming off two years with the Miami Dolphins. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 2016, bounced to the Baltimore Ravens practice squad and then the Bears again in late 2016. 

In three games, he has completed 31 of 48 passes in his NFL career for 287 yards, a touchdown and an interception. 

Fales hopes to have found a home in Detroit after months of uncertainty. He had to manage working out and staying sharp while still enjoying time with his family and taking visits with the Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets. 

"It's definitely tough because you know this days gonna come, but you're just not sure when," he said.

On Thursday, Fales watched how Bevell's offense operated by looking at Stafford sling passes across the field. He knows he was brought in to add depth behind the one-time Pro Bowler, but hopes he'll get enough reps to learn the offense. 

Matthew Stafford passes the ball during practice Thursday.

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Up until arriving in Detroit on Monday Fales had never crossed paths with Stafford, other than their biannual meetings when Fales was in Chicago. But he looks forward to working with him. 

"He's an awesome guy," Fales said. "He's a vet and super smart and talented, it's awesome to watch him learn this offense too. We were kinda in a similar system with Adam Gase and Jim Bob (Cooter, Lions former offensive coordinator) last year. He's kinda helped me out along the way because we have some similar terms from last year." 

Tom Savage goes through drills during minicamp practice June 6 in Allen Park.

Stafford and Savage will likely dominate most of the reps at the start of training camp in July. In the meantime, Fales will study and he has old school methods on how to learn another playbook. He uses flashcards, reading and then redraws the play on the opposite side. He knows he won't get the reps he needs until he understands the mental aspect of the offense. 

"I'm just trying to throw my head down and learn this stuff as fast as I can so I can get a couple reps out here." 

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