The Miami Dolphins have to beat the New York Jets Sunday to have any chance of making the playoffs. That’s about the only part of Miami’s season finale with any real clarity.
Six days out from the most important day of Mike McDaniel’s young head coaching career, there’s real uncertainty about who will start at quarterback in Week 18.
Miami Dolphins Quarterback Injury Update
What we can say with pretty strong conviction: It won’t be Tua Tagovailoa. While he’s making progress from his second (at least) concussion of the season, Tagovailoa remains in the protocol, and McDaniel isn’t even entertaining ideas about playing him at this point.
But Tua’s backup is hurt too. Teddy Bridgewater was again unable to finish a game he started for the Dolphins due to health issues. On Sunday, he dislocated the pinky finger on his throwing hand while trying to make a tackle on a pick-six.
Skylar Thompson took over for Bridgewater and will start Sunday if Bridgewater isn’t able to grip the football. So McDaniel and his staff will draw up two sets of plans for this week — one with Bridgewater as the starter, the other with Thompson.
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“There’s a lot of variables that are going on,” McDaniel added. “Realistically, we have to have both of our existing quarterbacks … ready to play regardless. We can’t just have one healthy quarterback.”
McDaniel hopes to have definition on his Week 18 starter by Wednesday, but that isn’t set in stone.
The Dolphins have had internal discussions about adding additional depth to the position. Tagovailoa, Bridgewater, and Thompson are the only three quarterbacks currently in the locker room.
The Dolphins did briefly bring back Reid Sinnett to their practice squad when Tagovailoa was concussed for the first time this season, but Sinnett is now a member of the San Antonio Brahmas of the XFL.
Bridgewater played 44 offensive snaps Sunday. Thompson played the last 27. Bridgewater completed 12 of 19 passes for 161 yards, one touchdown, and an interception. Thompson — 12 of 21, 104, 1-1 — wasn’t quite as efficient but got better as the game progressed.
The Dolphins are 0-3 in games in which Bridgewater or Thompson have started this year.
The latest on Tua Tagovailoa
That last stat illustrates the importance of Tua to this offense. Could he return if the Dolphins make the postseason? Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reports that Tagovailoa wants to, but McDaniel said Monday that’s news to him.
“I have no idea about any sort of when, if, why, how, with regard to Tua,” McDaniel said. “It is a day-to-day process, really that is most important that we adhere to, getting him better every day and healthy as a person. … I don’t really have a timeline, unfortunately.”
McDaniel, on where Tua stands in the concussion protocol:
“I don’t really know the stages at this point, to be honest. … All I know is I saw him today, and he told me he felt good. … We’re letting medical professionals completely assess, so there’s no breakdowns in communication.
“I feel compelled every conversation to reiterate, ‘There is no such thing as a timeline. It’s about today,'” McDaniel added. “If he’s thinking about going there, I snuff that out.”