Tua Tagovailoa has been at the center of concussion discussions around the league in recent days, and the Dolphins have made an unsurprising decision with the quarterback. Head coach Mike McDaniel announced on Monday that Tagovailoa will not play in Miami’s Week 5 game, meaning that veteran backup Teddy Bridgewater will get the start.
“I can comfortably say he’ll be out for this game against the Jets, but anything beyond that, we’re just focused on making sure he’s at optimal health and then crossing that bridge,” McDaniel said, via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer (Twitter link). “So it’s a little early for definitive timelines.”
Tagovailoa was carted off the field during last Thursday’s game against the Bengals with a concussion. That, in turn, came four days after he suffered what he and the team termed a back injury which caused him to notably stumble. An investigation into the team’s handling of the situation remains ongoing, but it has already had notable consequences.
The unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant who was involved in the 24-year-old’s case has been terminated by the NFLPA. In addition, changes are being finalized to the league’s concussion protocols which are aimed at avoiding a repeat of his situation. In the meantime, attention is turning to Tagovailoa’s long-term health.
McDaniel reiterated his confidence in the team’s medical staff, adding that their decision on Tagovailoa’s return will depend on the new protocols, which could take effect as early as this week (Twitter links via Adam Beasley of Pro Football Network). With the timeline for his return uncertain, it remains to be seen if the Alabama alum will be placed on IR.
For at least this week, though, Bridgewater will prepare for his first start in Miami. The 29-year-old threw for 193 yards, one touchdown and one interception in relief of Tagovailoa on Thursday. The game against the Jets will mark his first start since his one-year stints as a stop-gap with the Panthers in 2020 and the Broncos in 2021. Known for his consistent, if underwhelming, levels of production, his ability to lead a much-improved Dolphins offense will be worth watching.
Backing up Bridgewater will be seventh-round rookie Skylar Thompson, who impressed during training camp and the preseason. The Dolphins also added extra depth behind them, by re-signing former UDFA Reid Sinnett to the practice squad.