“With Jimmy Clausen‘s performance vs. Seattle, is the release of David Fales more of a reflection of Fales being worse than him or is it salary/cap related? — @brentodento
“Well, they have a depth chart for a reason. Clausen opened the offseason ahead of Fales and remained there the entire time. That’s for one simple reason — the team believes he’s a better option and provides the team with a better chance to win than Fales, who has been placed on waivers twice now in five weeks. Fales was let go this week to make room for linebacker Jonathan Anderson, who was promoted from the practice squad because of an injury to Shea McClellin.”
Fales has been put back onto the practice squad so the Bears haven’t given up on him.
Having said that, what reflects badly on Fales isn’t the fact that he was released to make room for another player. It’s that he’s passed through waivers (twice) and remained on the practice squad without a peep of interest from other teams. I’d say that, more than anything else, is an indication that Fales, in his second year, is not considered to be a developmental prospect. At least not one with any potential to start.
Former Bears GM Phil Emery said when Fales was drafted that he was picked as a player with the “potential to be a backup”. That never made any sense to me. It seems to me like you pick players who have the potential to start and then let them fall to backup if that’s their lot in life. You never say never because the light may come on at any time. But it looks to me like the Fales pick is unlikely to pay dividends.
Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribuneanswers your questions. Here he addresses the strengths and weakness in the play of rookie safety Adrian Amos:
“The next progression in his game will be to begin making impact plays and get his hands on balls and show the range in the middle of the field, the trait you are really looking for from a free safety against the passing offenses in the NFL right now. But as I see it, Amos is doing everything they are asking him to.
“As far as the grades he receives from PFF, those are evaluations done watching television copies of the game. You can watch 10 plays without seeing Amos really be around any play because of the tight camera angles to the ball, especially in a game like the Bears had against the Chiefs, who had a lateral passing game or one that is short to very intermediate.”
This is essentially my complaint about PFF. They do their best but there are limitations and I wouldn’t take these grades too seriously.
One thing I’ll emphasize that is related to Biggs’ comment. Though the camera often won’t show where a free safety goes over the course of an entire play, you should be seeing him under some circumstances. This is particularly true of passes along the side line where safeties with good range come in near the end of the play over the top to assist a cornerback in breaking up the connection. I never see Amos doing this and I consider it to be a bad sign. In fairness, as Biggs implies, it’s possible that they aren’t asking him to help out under these circumstances – I won’t claim to know his assignments. But I am worried that he may lack the range to make plays on the ball.