When Luke Falk was claimed off waivers from the Tennessee Titans 10 days ago, it was appropriate that the Dolphins were the team to do it.
After all, Miami was the only team that invited Falk to its headquarters for a pre-draft visit.
Falk, speaking publicly Thursday for the first time since joining the Dolphins, is now the latest developmental quarterback project that Miami hopes will bear fruit.
The Dolphins haven’t had a ton of those in recent years, less than many other teams. They’ve drafted only six quarterbacks this century, and only Ryan Tannehill has particularly worked out among a group that also included John Beck, Chad Henne, Pat White, Brandon Doughty and Josh Heupel.
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Falk presents a rare chance to develop a rookie quarterback that the Dolphins didn’t draft but came available when the Tennessee Titans opted to keep only Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbert.
Dolphins coaches believe Falk is worth the investment.
“We liked his football mind,” Adam Gase said. “From the system he came from [at Washington State], the knowledge he had, how he knew ins and outs of that. The way they called plays fits what we do. I liked his anticipation. He throws on time. He’s accurate. He kind of reminds me a lot of guys I have been around in the past. We’re fired up to get him here.”
Falk was very accurate at Washington State, completing 68.3 percent of his passes for 14,481 yards, 119 touchdowns and 39 interceptions.He was sacked 125 times in his career but impressed with his toughness, playing the final 10 weeks last season with a broken left hand (non-throwing hand).
Here’s what he had to say in a conversation with a couple of media outlets Thursday, including The Miami Herald. Some answers were edited for length:
Were you surprised or not when you got the call that the Dolphins had claimed him off waivers? “You didn’t know what to expect at all. I was happy I got the call..”
What did he think of his pre-draft visit here? “I loved it. I thought at the combine, their interview was awesome. When I came down here to visit with them, it was a great visit. Great coaching staff, good culture.”
What resonated in meetings with the Dolphins before the draft? “They just know the game of football. Even just being down here for a week, I’ve already learned so much in terms of x’s and o’s and how much they pay attention to details and everything like that.
“They are doing a great job in terms of trying to help me and get extra work after practice and get some extra meeting times as well. The QB room has been awesome. Danny has been awesome. Brock [Oswieler and David], Fales. Good people in that room.”
How has it been going from drafted by Tennessee to being fourth
quarterback here? “That’s how life goes sometimes. It started as a walk on at Washington State with seven guys. It’s a new situation. Control the things you can control and just try to work your butt off.”
What message did he get from Adam Gase/Chris Grier/Mike Tannenbaum when they grabbed him off waivers? “Try to learn as best you can and try to develop. Every day you are competing for a job and it’s no different here.”
Anything the Dolphins told you they liked about you? “Not really. The attributes I bring are accuracy and timing and being able to throw with anticipation. Those are some of my strong suits and hopefully I develop some other ones down here as well.”
Was it a letdown going in sixth round after some draftniks thought third or fourth?
“I definitely thought I was going to go higher but the cards fell where they may and you can’t do anything about that. I was a little disappointed but I was happy the Titans believed in me enough to give me an opportunity and now the Dolphins. Just trying to do my best to… stick.”
Why didn’t work out in Tennessee? “The numbers were [such] where they said they couldn’t keep three guys. I think they liked me there…. But things didn’t work out and Miami gave me an opportunity.”
Is there anything here that makes Miami a better fit? “There’s a lot more on the quarterback in terms of protections and all that. So I think you’ve got to really know the ins and outs of defenses and that is making me progress as a player. And they are taking the time to help me and really catch me up to speed because I’ve got a lot of vets in the room that have played a lot of football and know a lot. Same with coaches. They have been around great players. [Peyton Manning] and those types of guys.”
Anything specifically you believe you need to improve to be a long-term NFL QB ?
“I think everything. But just a sense of urgency, intensity. The game’s a lot faster, especially being under center. I’ve always been in the gun all my life and it’s been tempo drops. Under center, you’ve got to get going and you’ve got to be fast, got to be urgent. As John Wooden would say, ‘Quick, but not in a hurry.’ I think that would regard to me.”
Are you trying to catch up to speed? “I’m trying to just learn as best as I can in terms of the plays and stuff, and you’ve got the game plan on top of that in practice. We get throwing sessions after, and that’s where I get my body of work. I think those have been going real well, getting some coaching points from Dowell (Loggains). It’s been good.”
Did you mimic Mariota in practice last week? “I’m not nearly athletic enough to be Mariota.”
How many pre-draft visits did you have? “I had a lot of visits in terms of teams working me out. I had about 10 of those, but I only had one visit and it was here. This is the only NFL team I got to visit.”
What impressed you about your visit here? “The whole process was just awesome. I didn’t have very many visits to compare it to, so everything was surreal. I was coming in and watching film with [quarterbacks coach] Bo (Hardegree) and Coach Gase and [Dolphins offensive coordinator Dowell [Loggains], and especially when I was at the Combine and I walk in and Dan Marino’s in there. I was like, ‘Whoa, this is real.’ And Dan is in some of the meetings and stuff, too, so it’s still surreal for me.”
Marino say anything nice to you? “No. He just says, ‘What’s up, Luke?’”
Did you help last week sharing information about Tennessee’s offense “Dowell coached in that system for a while, so everything was on film. I just was trying to do my best to learn the playbook here and get caught up to speed. They already had all their installs pretty much in, so I’ve been playing catch-up the whole time.”
What was his initial conversation with Ryan Tannehill like? “When we first spoke he said, ‘Hey, I remember seeing you on the visit.’ But he’s a total pro in how he goes about his business. Very smart, intelligent, accurate. Just a real good leader.”
Mel Kiper noted Tom Brady is someone you try to emulate. In what areas have you tried to incorporate what he does?
“Shoot, I don’t know if I’ve really incorporated any of it, but what I like about the guy is how consistent he is and how he demands excellence from everyone around him. That’s what you try to be as a quarterback. You try to make everybody else around you better and elevate their play, so that’s one thing. Ryan does it, Brock does it, all these guys do it. It’s just the nature of the position. You have to.”