Teddy Bridgewater

QB Teddy Bridgewater Drawing Interest, Lions Made “Strong Contract Offer”

Teddy Bridgewater remains the top free agent quarterback left unsigned, but it sounds like his market is starting to heat up. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (via Twitter), the veteran has drawn interest from several teams. This includes a “strong contract offer” from the Lions.

After starting 29 games for the Panthers and Broncos between 2020 and 2021, Bridgewater reverted to his standard backup role with the Dolphins in 2022. He started two of his five appearances while filling in for Tua Tagovailoa, losing both of his starts while tossing four touchdowns vs. four interceptions.

While the 30-year-old is coming off his weakest statistical season in years, it’s no surprise that teams are starting to line up for his services. He went 16-18 as a starter between 2019 and 2021, completing 68 percent of his passes for 8,169 yards, 42 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions. Bridgewater has established himself as the top backup QB in the league, and his willingness to wait for a starting opportunity should afford him a few more contracts before he calls it a career.

Bridgewater would be a natural fit in Detroit; he’s familiar with Lions coach Dan Campbell from when the two were in New Orleans. Starter Jared Goff has been relatively healthy in recent years, never missing more than three starts in a season. Still, the 2023 campaign will mark Goff’s age-29 season and his eighth professional campaign, and following a surprising 9-8 season that saw them barely miss the playoffs, it’s not a huge surprise that the Lions would want some top-end insurance for their starting QB.

The Lions re-signed Nate Sudfeld earlier this offseason, but the 29-year-old profiles more as a third-string quarterback considering the 37 professional passing attempts on his resume.

Tua Tagovailoa To Miss Wild-Card Game

JANUARY 13: McDaniel confirmed it will again be Thompson at the controls. The seventh-round pick will make his third start of the season. Tagovailoa remains in concussion protocol, with McDaniel indicating (via NFL.com’s Cameron Wolfe, on Twitter) he has not advanced to the on-field activity stage of the protocol. The Dolphins have not ruled out Bridgewater as a backup option for Sunday’s Bills matchup.

JANUARY 11: The Dolphins will not have their starting quarterback in their wild-card matchup with the Bills, Mike McDaniel said Wednesday. Tua Tagovailoa has not been cleared for football activities yet.

This obviously represents a tough blow for the AFC’s No. 7 seed, but it was viewed as an uphill battle for Tagovailoa — who has suffered two confirmed concussions this season — to be cleared for Miami’s first-round game. Tua has not suffered any setbacks, per McDaniel, who said (via the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson) “compounding variables” are in play here. This likely refers to the third-year QB’s prior injuries this season. This will be the third straight game in which the Dolphins will not have their starter available, and it will be Tagovailoa’s fifth absence this season.

As of Wednesday, the Dolphins are preparing to give third-stringer Skylar Thompson another start. But McDaniel said (via Jackson, on Twitter) Teddy Bridgewater is working toward a return. A seventh-round rookie, Thompson has struggled — as could be expected — when called upon this season. Bridgewater, who suffered a dislocated pinkie in Week 17, has not finished either of the two games he started during his first Dolphins slate. It is unlikely Bridgewater will be able to practice much this week, McDaniel said.

The Dolphins qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2016. That team’s ensuing playoff game — a loss to the Steelers — involved a backup quarterback (Matt Moore). This will bring some familiar territory for Miami, which has not won a playoff game since the 2000 season. McDaniel’s Wednesday announcement, however, likely will allow Tua extensive time to recover before his fourth NFL campaign. His third presented his highest heights as a pro but also brought concerning injury developments.

Restoring some confidence after two uneven years to start his career, Tagovailoa finished the regular season third in QBR and led the Dolphins to eight of their nine wins. He also fared well in the Dolphins’ narrow loss to the Bills in Buffalo. But head injuries interrupted the Alabama product, who had aimed to return in time for a wild-card outing.

Tagovailoa displayed concussion-like symptoms in Week 3 against the Bills, and while the young southpaw returned to action shortly after that sequence, an NFLPA investigation into the Dolphins’ handling of that situation led to an overhaul of the NFL’s concussion protocol. Tagovailoa entered the protocol four days later, after being stretchered off the field in Cincinnati, and was again placed in the revised protocol a day after sustaining an unspotted concussion against Green Bay on Christmas Day.

Bridgewater, 30, would be the Dolphins’ best bet against the heavily favored Bills, but the veteran almost certainly will not be at 100% even if he does see action Sunday. Thompson completed 20 of 31 passes against the Jets’ tough pass defense, averaging just 4.9 yards per attempt. The Kansas State product has completed 57% of his throws this season.

Dolphins Rumors: QB Situation, Mostert

One of the biggest questions heading into the Dolphins’ wild card matchup in Buffalo this Sunday is behind center. Starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa blazed to an 8-1 start in games he played this year before floundering in a four-game slide to end his regular season. Tagovailoa missed the season’s final two games due to concussion issues after missing two games earlier in the year, as well, while dealing with a concussion. Head coach Mike McDaniel told reporters today that Tagovailoa has not yet been cleared for football activity, according to ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques. The team hopes to get more clarity on Wednesday.

McDaniel also gave updates on the team’s other two quarterbacks, according to Louis-Jacques. Rookie seventh-round pick Skylar Thompson filled in for primary backup Teddy Bridgewater as Bridgewater dealt with a combination of a knee injury and an injured finger on his throwing hand last week. In his second start of the season, Thompson reportedly sustained “some bumps and bruises,” potentially making him the third quarterback on the team’s injury report this week.

McDaniel provided some solace on Thompson’s situation, stating that, should Thompson have needed to leave the game this past weekend, he believed Bridgewater was able to come in. Clarity on Wednesday is much needed for a franchise that can’t guarantee any of the three quarterbacks will be able to start this Sunday in Buffalo. The team signed and elevated practice squad quarterback Mike Glennon last week as a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option.

In an unrelated injury note, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network confirmed today that starting running back Raheem Mostert broke his thumb in the team’s victory over the Jets yesterday. McDaniel spoke on Mostert’s injury, as well, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, telling the media that “it’s a serious injury.” Mostert will require surgery, putting his status for Sunday in question. If Mostert is unable to go, Miami will lean on Jeff Wilson and Salvon Ahmed to lead its running attack.

Dolphins To Start QB Skylar Thompson In Week 18

The Jets-Dolphins matchup will feature a meeting of third-string quarterbacks. While the eliminated Jets will start Joe Flacco, a Dolphins team playing for a wild-card spot will go with Skylar Thompson.

Mike McDaniel confirmed Friday the rookie will go in Week 18. Tua Tagovailoa is out for a second straight week, while Teddy Bridgewater is battling back from a dislocated pinkie. This will be Thompson’s second start this season, but the seventh-round pick has also made off-the-bench appearances — including last week in New England. This will be a rather pivotal outing for Thompson, given the stakes.

If the Dolphins beat the Jets and the Patriots lose to the favored Bills, Miami will secure its first playoff spot in six years. The team has used all three of its quarterbacks extensively this season, and the instability here has overshadowed the rest of the team for the most part. A Kansas City-area native, Thompson played five seasons at Kansas State and has attempted 74 passes this season. The 25-year-old passer will join Brock Purdy as seventh-round rookie QBs starting in Week 18, though the latter — chosen 15 spots after Thompson — has fared better and been given (by default) a steadier role.

[RELATED: Dolphins Add QB Mike Glennon To Practice Squad]

Thompson’s first NFL action came against the Jets in October, when Bridgewater was removed from the game with concussion-like symptoms. Bridgewater cleared concussion protocol and was available the following week, when he replaced an injured Thompson. McDaniel said the Dolphins need both QBs available this week, and the first-year HC expressed confidence (via CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones, on Twitter) Bridgewater will suit up as an emergency backup this week.

Bridgewater has exited both of his Dolphins starts. Given his draft status, Thompson (54.1% completion rate, 5.2 yards per attempt) has not exactly thrived when under center this season. Topping out at 12 touchdown passes in a college season, Thompson threw his first TD as a pro against the Patriots — in a 12-for-21, 104-yard showing.

Although the personnel is different, this regular-season-ending assignment reminds of the Dolphins’ previous playoff bid. Ryan Tannehill‘s late-season ACL tear brought in longtime backup Matt Moore, who quarterbacked the team into the postseason. The Dolphins lost to the Steelers in Round 1 that year. While the owners will vote on what happens at other sectors of the AFC playoff bracket Friday, it is of little concern to the Dolphins, who are aiming to avoid going from 8-3 to 8-9. Only three teams in the past 15 seasons — the 2021 Ravens, 2014 Eagles, 2012 Bears — have started 8-3 and missed the playoffs.

Tagovailoa remains in the top five in QBR, and his growth in McDaniel’s offense represents the main reason the Dolphins are in position to salvage this season with a playoff bid. But the former No. 5 overall pick has suffered two confirmed concussions, with concussion-like symptoms in a separate instance prompting a slew of scrutiny and leading the NFL to change its protocol. A recent report indicated Tagovailoa was targeting a potential wild-card game for a return, but McDaniel is staunchly refusing to allow timetables to be part of the latest Tua-return equation.

Dolphins Preparing To Use Teddy Bridgewater, Skylar Thompson In Week 18

The Dolphins have plummeted from 8-3 to 8-8 and are again navigating a Tua Tagovailoa concussion. The team still has a manageable path to the playoffs — a win over the Jets and a Patriots loss to the Bills — but it will probably have to complete part one of that scenario without its starting quarterback.

Mike McDaniel said Monday he is not thinking about Tagovailoa, who remains in concussion protocol, suiting up for Week 18 at this point. The concussion Tua suffered against the Packers was either his second or third of the season, and the first-year HC said he is preparing for either Teddy Bridgewater or Skylar Thompson to start against the Jets.

I feel compelled every conversation to reiterate, ‘There is no such thing as a timeline. It’s about today.’ … If he’s thinking about going there, I snuff that out,” McDaniel said of Tagovailoa’s timetable (via the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson). “I have no idea about any sort of when, if, why or how.”

[RELATED: Dolphins Cleared In Concussion Protocol Review]

A report Sunday indicated Tagovailoa is targeting a potential Dolphins wild-card game for a return. Tua missed two full games because of his Week 4 concussion, and while a first-round return would mirror that timeline, McDaniel reiterated he has not discussed a return window with his starter because he believes such conversations make “his recovery worse as a human being.” The rookie Dolphins HC did say Tagoavailoa told him he felt good Monday.

For the second time this season, Bridgewater left a start due to injury. Bridgewater started against the Jets but left with concussion-like symptoms. Against the Patriots on Sunday, the ninth-year quarterback exited because of a dislocated pinkie finger on his throwing hand. The Dolphins need both Bridgewater and Thompson to be available against the Jets, McDaniel said, adding the team will explore adding another quarterback this week. Miami does not have a QB on its practice squad.

Miami used the Bridgewater-Thompson setup in Week 5 — a 40-17 Jets romp — and considering Tagovailoa’s status, it sounds like it will be necessary for this matchup. The QBs combined to go 24-for-40 for 265 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in Foxborough. McDaniel said he would like to have his starter known Wednesday. Adding to the Dolphins’ QB predicament: neither Bridgewater nor Thompson has finished a start this season. Bridgewater, who suffered two concussions last season, has not made it through a start since Week 14 of last season. FiveThirtyEight gives the Dolphins a 42% chance to make the playoffs.

Dolphins QB Teddy Bridgewater Suffers Finger Injury; Latest On Tua Tagovailoa

The Dolphins’ late-season collapse continued today, and the team is now facing even more uncertainty at the quarterback position. Veteran backup Teddy Bridgewater exited Miami’s loss to New England and was unable to return.

The 30-year-old is believed to have suffered a broken finger in his throwing hand, as reported by Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper. The injury likely occurred on a throw in which Bridgewater’s hand hit a helmet while tossing an interception. His attempted tackle during the return from Patriots safety Kyle Dugger is suspected to be the cause, as head coach Mike McDaniel said after the game.

This marks the second straight time in which Bridgewater suffered an injury while starting for Miami this season. He played just one snap in Week 5 after being held out due to the NFL’s revised concussion protocols. His only other action in 2022 has come in relief appearances, and he has attempted only 79 passes this year. As was the case in October, seventh-round rookie Skylar Thompson finished the game under center for the Dolphins.

Of course, Bridgewater was in action because starter Tua Tagovailoa was sidelined with at least his second concussion of the season. The latter’s issues with head injuries has been a central storyline throughout the campaign, and played a significant role in the Dolphins’ ongoing struggles. Miami now sits at 8-8 with one week remaining and a Wild Card spot not the near-certainty it seemed to be until recently.

Tagovailoa’s status remains very much in question entering the final contest of the season. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported before today’s game that the 24-year-old is not expected to suit up for Week 18, with any hypothetical playoff contest targeted as a return date. Alper’s colleague Mike Florio corroborates that timeline, with NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport adding that Tagovailoa is currently considered day-to-day (video link).

With Bridgewater unlikely to be available, attention will increasingly turn to whether or not Tagovailoa is cleared to return – and, given his injury issues this year, whether the Dolphins show the same urgency in bringing him back that they did in the fall. If he remains sidelined, Thompson will likely get the nod for Sunday’s crucial game against the Jets.

Dolphins To Start Teddy Bridgewater In Week 17; NFL, NFLPA Launch Investigation

Teddy Bridgewater will return to action for the Dolphins. After indicating Tua Tagovailoa‘s latest stay in concussion protocol was indeed induced by a concussion, Mike McDaniel said Bridgewater is in line to start against the Patriots in Week 17.

This will be Bridgewater’s second start this season. The journeyman passer left his first outing after landing in concussion protocol. This is Tagovailoa’s second confirmed concussion this season, though concussion-like symptoms in Week 3 ignited a controversy and led to the NFL firing an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant and changing its protocols.

Although Tagovailoa head injuries have been one of this season’s defining storylines, the Dolphins are not yet planning to shut down their starter. McDaniel said this will be a day-by-day process. That makes sense when considering the disparity between the team’s record in games Tagovailoa finishes (8-4) and in games featuring Bridgewater or Skylar Thompson (0-3). The Dolphins have lost four straight and have plummeted to the AFC’s No. 7 seed. Tagovailoa being ready to go in Week 18 could determine Miami’s playoff fate, but the team will also need to factor in the former No. 5 overall pick’s long-term health ahead of that decision.

Tagovailoa missed two games because of the concussion he suffered in Week 4. That scary scene in Cincinnati came four days after the seminal sequence against Buffalo, when Tua returned to play shortly after showing concussion-like symptoms. The NFL has since revised its concussion protocol, leading to more attention given to players who show symptoms of head injuries. That said, spotters did not notice Tagovailoa displaying any concussion signs during Miami’s loss to Green Bay on Christmas Day. Tagovailoa also did not report any symptoms; he was placed in the protocol Monday.

The NFL and NFLPA are also moving forward with a joint review into the circumstances behind Tua’s most recent concussion, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports (on Twitter). This will be the second NFLPA probe into a Tagovailoa injury this year. A video that circulated on Twitter showed a possible concussion-inducing hit taking place in the first half. Tua did not leave Sunday’s game, and this inquiry will once again scrutinize the Dolphins and independent spotters’ handling of a head injury. The last inquiry did not find any violations, but changes nevertheless occurred.

Tagovailoa’s three-interception half in Week 16 did not knock him off his perch as the NFL’s leader in passer rating. The third-year QB still sits fourth in QBR as well. Miami’s Tyreek HillJaylen Waddle pairing has helped Tagovailoa to an 8.9 yards-per-attempt figure. That also leads the league. Going from Tagovailoa to Bridgewater will be a step back for the Dolphins — in a crucial spot.

Bridgewater, who suffered two concussions during his 2021 season in Denver, displayed signs of ataxia when taken out of his Week 5 start against the Jets. The 30-year-old QB navigated concussion protocol ahead of Week 6, when he replaced Thompson against the Vikings. Both Bridgewater and Tagovailoa cleared concussion protocol that week, but the Dolphins made Bridgewater their emergency backup over Tua. This season, Bridgewater has completed 37 of 60 passes for 522 yards to go along with three touchdown passes and three interceptions. He led the Broncos to a 7-7 mark last season, without the benefit of the defense this year’s Denver iteration has deployed, before a Week 14 concussion ended his time with the team. Sunday will be Bridgewater’s first start against the Patriots.

FiveThirtyEight gives the Dolphins a 62% chance to make the playoffs, but Tagovailoa missing both games would stand to reduce the team’s chances of booking a postseason spot for the first time in six years. Tagovailoa also becomes extension-eligible next month, and the head injuries he has suffered this season cloud the progress he has made.

Tua Tagovailoa Back In Concussion Protocol

On the heels of their fourth straight loss, the Dolphins received troubling news. Tua Tagovailoa is back in the team’s concussion protocol, inviting questions about his return to action and when his latest injury happened.

Mike McDaniel said it was too early to tell if this will sideline Tagovailoa for the Dolphins’ Week 17 matchup with the Patriots, but Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes Teddy Bridgewater will be the team’s first-stringer for much of this week in practice. Availability concerns aside, this particular player suffering another head injury will bring considerable scrutiny given the events from earlier this season.

McDaniel did not know if Tua suffered a concussion against the Packers or what play exactly landed him in the protocol again, saying no one recognized what hit could have triggered this. A Twitter user’s video is making the rounds, however, as to when this latest Tagovailoa setback occurred. If this is the play in which Tagovailoa suffered the injury, the third-year quarterback played the entire second half with concussion symptoms that were not noticed by independent spotters. Tagovailoa did not report any symptoms Sunday.

“This is something that just came across my plate a couple hours ago,” McDaniel said Monday. “As far as the game was concerned, no one recognized anything with regard to any sort of hit. I can’t really tell you exactly what it was. I’m not totally positive on that, but it was something that he met with the doctors today and discussed some symptoms and then from that, as you guys know, from there on, that’s between Tua and the doctors and we’ll move forward as information is projected towards us.”

This is Tagovailoa’s third bout run-in with concussion-like symptoms this season. The Dolphins’ handling of their quarterback produced a controversy in Week 3, when he showed concussion-like symptoms but was allowed to stay in the game — a Miami win over Buffalo. That initiated an NFLPA inquiry and led to the NFL revising its concussion protocol. Tagovailoa, whom the team said navigated concussion protocol during the Week 3 game, played four days later. The talented passer was then transported off the field during a game against the Bengals with a confirmed concussion. He missed the next three games. Based on this history, it is unlikely Tua will play against the Patriots.

The Dolphins are 8-4 in games Tagovailoa finishes and 0-3 in other contests, leading them toward the playoff bubble after they had bounced back upon their starter’s return. Tagovailoa threw interceptions on the Dolphins’ final three drives, dropping them to 8-7. Its playoff chances notwithstanding, the team will be under a microscope for how it handles what is either Tagovailoa’s second or third concussion this season.

Panthers QB Notes: Darnold, Mayfield, Rhule, Herbert, Stafford, Tepper, Watson

Although the Panthers are starting Baker Mayfield in Week 11, they want to see Sam Darnold in action this season. Steve Wilks said he would like to give Darnold some work, though the interim HC did not indicate that would be certain to happen this week against the Ravens. “I’m interested in winning the game. This is not pay $250 to get to play,” Wilks said, via The Athletic’s Joe Person (on Twitter).

Carolina used one of its injury activations to move Darnold onto its 53-man roster last week, but the former No. 3 overall pick did not see any action against the Falcons. P.J. Walker is out of the picture for the time being, after becoming the third Carolina QB this season to suffer a high ankle sprain. Mayfield will make his first start since sustaining his ankle injury in Week 9. Here is the latest from what has become one of the more complex QB situations in recent NFL history:

  • After playing hurt last season, Mayfield has not turned it around. On the radar for a potential franchise-QB deal in 2021, Mayfield is on track for free agency for the first time. The market for the former No. 1 overall pick may check in at $5-$7MM on a prove-it deal, David Newton of ESPN.com notes. Mayfield’s 17.7 QBR ranks last in the NFL.
  • This situation has been in flux since Cam Newton‘s 2019 foot injury. Prior to the team making the Newton-for-Teddy Bridgewater change, GM Marty Hurney and most of the Panthers’ scouts were high on Justin Herbert. But Matt Rhule did not view 2020 as the window to draft a quarterback, with Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com indicating in an expansive piece the team saw a jump from No. 7 overall to No. 4 — ahead of the QB-seeking Dolphins and Chargers — as too costly. While then-Giants GM Dave Gettleman was not keen on trading down, going most of his GM career without ever doing so, the Panthers not making a push for Herbert has led to QB chaos.
  • After the Panthers determined Bridgewater — a preference of former OC Joe Brady — would be a one-and-done in Charlotte, they made a big offer for Matthew Stafford. Negotiations between new Panthers GM Scott Fitterer and Lions rookie GM Brad Holmes at the 2021 Senior Bowl led to Panthers brass leaving Mobile believing they were set to acquire Stafford, Fowler notes. It is interesting to learn how far the GMs progressed in talks, because Stafford made it known soon after he did not want to play for the Panthers. The Rams then came in late with their two-first-rounder offer, forcing the Panthers and others to look elsewhere.
  • Rhule then pushed hard for Darnold, Fowler adds, after Panthers staffers went through film sessions evaluating he, Carson Wentz and Drew Lock. The Panthers sent the Jets second-, fourth- and sixth-round picks for the former No. 3 overall pick and picked up his guaranteed $18.9MM fifth-year option. Owner David Tepper begrudgingly picked up the option but became irked by the 2023 cost hanging over the franchise, per Fowler. Tepper is believed to have held up this year’s Mayfield trade talks in order to move the Browns to pick up more money on his option salary. The delay was connected to the Panthers already having Darnold’s fifth-year option to pay.
  • Tepper’s main prize during this multiyear QB odyssey, Deshaun Watson, was leery of the Panthers’ staff uncertainty, Fowler adds. All things being equal between the four finalists — Atlanta, Carolina, Cleveland, New Orleans — the Panthers were not believed to be Watson’s first choice. The Falcons were viewed as the team that would have landed Watson if the Browns did not make that unprecedented $230MM guarantee offer.
  • Fitterer offered support for a Mitch Trubisky signing this offseason, according to Fowler, who adds the team never engaged in extended talks with Jimmy Garoppolo‘s camp. While Garoppolo said the Panthers were in the mix, the team was believed to be leery of his injury history. Trubisky is in Year 1 of a two-year, $14.3MM deal. While Trubisky may well be available again in 2023, the Panthers — having added six draft picks from the Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson trades — will be connected to this year’s crop of QB prospects.

Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa, Teddy Bridgewater Clear Concussion Protocol

Skylar Thompson is expected to start for the Dolphins tomorrow, but the team’s other quarterbacks got some good news today regarding their health. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that Tua Tagovailoa cleared concussion protocol this morning. The starting QB will still be sidelined for tomorrow’s game against the Vikings, but he should be good to go for Week 7 against the Steelers.

Schefter adds (on Twitter) that Teddy Bridgewater also cleared concussion protocol today. Bridgewater is expected to be in uniform for Sunday’s contest, but he’ll serve as the backup to Thompson.

Tua’s late-September concussion kicked off an NFL investigation regarding the team’s handling of the head injury. However, sources made it clear to Schefter that the organization went above and beyond to assure he was healthy enough to clear protocol. Specifically, the Dolphins, the QB, and “his team of independent doctors followed a thorough process that far exceeded the NFL’s concussion protocol,” per Schefter’s source. In addition to advice from team doctors, Tua also referred to four outside opinions “who unanimously cleared him from protocol and all agreed that his scans showed no signs of long-term impact on the brain.” Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter), Tua traveled to Detroit and Pittsburgh to meet with doctors, and the QB suffered no setbacks during the process.

Bridgewater was never diagnosed with a concussion but was still required to go through the NFL’s protocol. Both Bridgewater and Tagovailoa were spotted at practice this week, and indication that their return was imminent.

While the Dolphins will soon get reinforcement at the position, they’ll be rolling with a rookie seventh-round pick this weekend. Thompson entered last weekend’s loss to the Jets and completed 19 of his 33 pass attempts for 166 yards and one interception. He also lost one fumble. With Thompson eyeing his first NFL start, he received a ringing endorsement from head coach Mike McDaniel.

“We were really excited to draft him,” McDaniel said (via NFL.com’s Grant Gordon). “That was a target of ours that we had on our mind. We didn’t have a plethora of draft selections, so it was easy to hone in on people and we were targeting him for a long time. And that being said, he’s exceeded expectations.”