The Dolphins listed a whopping 16 players on their Thursday injury report.
And that doesn’t even count the 10 — including five offensive starters — who are out for the season.
Even by the NFL standards, this team is beat up.
And yet, the Dolphins for 13 weeks now have dedicated one of their precious 53 roster spots to a guy who has not played a down all year.
Third-string quarterback David Fales is the only Dolphins player who has been on the roster all season and not seen a down on offense, defense or special teams.
He was active for the five games Ryan Tannehill missed due to a shoulder injury, but Brock Osweiler never came off the field.
And now that Tannehill is back, Fales might not even be active the season’s final five games.
Yet keeping (and developing) three quarterbacks was the plan all along, and Adam Gase is sticking to it — even if some believe it’s a luxury the Dolphins cannot afford.
“I don’t look at it as a luxury,” Gase said. “That’s what we’re going to do. If we find guys we like, we’re going to keep trying to develop them and spend as much time with those guys as we can. The last three years, we’ve lost quarterbacks. We’ve just got to keep finding guys that we like and try to develop them. This year, when we’ve had injuries, we’ve been able to replace those guys. It hasn’t been somebody like sitting around that we have like an extra guy that we might not be able to get up. I don’t know how to explain it. It just kind of worked out to where it hasn’t been really a discussion or a worry.”
Gase means what he says. Which is why for the first month of the season, he carried four quarterbacks, including rookie Luke Falk, who went on IR in October with a broken wrist.
Gase has thought highly of Fales since their time together in Chicago, and was impressed by how he played in the 2017 regular season finale. The Dolphins were then out of playoff contention and Gase wanted to see how Fales would perform in a regular season game.
He completed 29 of 42 passes for 265 yards, a touchdown and an interception in Miami’s 22-16 loss to Buffalo.
But ever since, Fales has been a practice player, aside from his limited work in the preseason.
“To me, I like David’s anticipation,” Gase said. “I like the way his brain works, the way he sees things. He like what he does in practice, what we see every day. I like the way that he just keeps coming along, just keeps working.”