Tua Tagovailoa

Latest On Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa

9:50pm: There were a number of updates throughout the first full day following the second in-game injury to Tagovailoa. Just after noon today, McDaniel informed the media that Tagovailoa was experiencing a headache and, as an extra precaution, was taken to undergo another MRI, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Jackson updated his followers following the testing that revealed “nothing serious/alarming.” He went on the clarify that while every head injury is a serious concern, there was “nothing discovered in testing that would create new concerns about whether he should resume playing football,” noting that, right now, the only barrier to Tagovailoa’s return to the field is the NFL’s five-step concussion protocol.

Retired center and second-term NFLPA President J.C. Tretter released a statement on Twitter around midday today. He explained that the Players Association initiated their investigation because Tagovailoa was permitted to return despite displaying what Tretter called “‘no-go’ symptoms.” He went on to say that, while there admittedly is not “an objective and validated method” for diagnosing brain injuries, the league should err on the side of caution and player safety and work towards eliminating the potential for human error.

The chief medical officer of the NFL, Dr. Allen Sills, laid out what he knew of Tagovailoa’s treatment before the Thursday night game, according to Tom Pelissero and Judy Battista of NFL Network. He explained that Tagovailoa “was checked for concussion symptoms every day” from Sunday until the game on Thursday and that an “independent neuro expert had to clear him.” The NFLPA will verify this information and use it to inform their determinations. Pelissero added that once the review has concluded, “the results will be released publicly.”

8:58am: Tua Tagovailoa was at the heart of controversy and speculation heading into last night’s game, and his health status remains a major talking point today. The Dolphins QB was sacked, then suffered a head injury which left him on the ground for several minutes. He was ultimately stretchered off the field and taken to a local hospital, where he was alert and had full movement in his extremities. 

The episode would have been noteworthy in its own regard, but was doubly so given the hit Tagovailoa sustained on Sunday which caused him to stumble and briefly leave the game. The team’s handling of his situation has since become the subject of an NFLPA investigation, which is ongoing. While it appears at this point that the Dolphins correctly followed concussion protocol in that instance, the fact that the 24-year-old suffered a major injury after playing on a short week has drawn the ire of the player’s union.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith texted a message to current and former association members, via Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, which reads, “We insisted on these rules to avoid exactly this scenario. We will pursue every legal option, including making referrals against the doctors to licensing agencies and the team that is obligated to keep our players safe.”

When asked about the potential connection between the two injuries and the team’s decision to play Tagovailoa in spite of the quick turnaround, head coach Mike McDaniel reiterated his confidence in the Alabama product’s recovery from Sunday’s game and the team’s compliance with concussion-related procedures. He said, via NFL.com’s Grant Gordon“I don’t think that an injury from last week made him fall the same way this week, but yeah, I do not have any, like absolutely zero patience for, or will ever put a player in position for them to be in harm’s way.

“There’s an independent specialist that specializes in specialty brain matter, so for me, as long as I’m coaching here, I’m not going to fudge that whole situation… People don’t vary or stray [from protocol]; we don’t mess with that, we never have as long as I’ve been head coach, so it’d never be an issue that you guys have to worry about.”

Tagovailoa travelled back to Miami with the team while wearing a neck brace, per Josina Anderson of CBS Sports (Twitter link). She adds that initial scans showed nothing broken in his neck or spine, and that he will undergo an MRI after arrival. While his short-and long-term recovery timetable will be worth monitoring, this situation will also be underscored by other storylines for the foreseeable future.

Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa Active For Tonight’s Game

Tua Tagovailoa will be under center tonight when the Dolphins take on the Bengals. The team announced on Twitter that Tua will be active for Thursday Night Football.

[RELATED: Latest On NFL’s Investigation Into Handling Of Tua Tagovailoa]

Tagovailoa has been dealing with back and ankle injuries stemming from Miami’s Week 3 win over the Bills, with the QB later admitting that his back has been most troublesome. He went through limited practices on Tuesday and Wednesday in preparation for tonight’s game.

Tua was injured while attempting a QB sneak on Sunday, and he exited the game on the next play after Matt Milano shoved him to the ground. The QB hit his head and stumbled on to the field before heading for the sideline, prompting him to enter concussion protocol. He ended up returning and finishing the game, and while the NFL’s subsequent investigation is ongoing, it appears that the organization followed the proper protocols.

The 24-year-old has lived up to expectations during his third season in the NFL. Through three weeks, Tagovailoa has compiled 925 passing yards, eight touchdown passes, and only two interceptions while guiding Miami to a 3-0 start.

If Tua was forced to miss any time, the Dolphins would be in good position to temporarily replace his spot in the lineup after inking Teddy Bridgewater this offseason. Seventh-round rookie Skylar Thompson is also on the active roster, and it sounds like all three QBs will be active for tonight’s game.

Latest On Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa

The NFLPA investigation of the Dolphins, related to their handling of Tua Tagovailoa‘s concussion protocol, is ongoing. This process is expected to last a week or two, according to NFL executive VP Jeff Miller, who adds (via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, on Twitter) there is every indication the team followed the protocol.

Although Tagovailoa’s quick return to action against the Bills sparked the union’s inquiry, he is not a lock to face the Bengals on Thursday. The Dolphins have listed their starting quarterback as questionable for Week 4 with back and ankle issues; Tagovailoa went through limited practices Tuesday and Wednesday. He said Tuesday the back issue has caused him more problems.

Tua said it felt like he hyperextended his back during a quarterback sneak Sunday, and Matt Milano shoving him to the turf on the next play produced a head hit and post-play stumble that sent him into the protocol. The third-year passer blamed the noticeable stumble on the back injury.

Mike McDaniel said postgame Tua navigated concussion protocol, but the talented southpaw added (via the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson) that his back “started to lock up” on him during the second half against the Bills. McDaniel is optimistic Tagovailoa will play against the Bengals; the Alabama alum called his new HC late Monday night to discuss his status.

Even if the investigation clears the Dolphins, their quarterback continues to run into injury trouble. The severe hip injury Tagovailoa suffered late in his junior year affected his draft stock, though not much as it turned out. In the Dolphins’ home Bills matchup last year, Tua sustained rib fractures that sent him to IR. Thumb and finger maladies have also sidelined Tagovailoa for a game apiece during his Miami stay.

The team has a highly capable backup in Teddy Bridgewater, who worked as a starter (with the Panthers and Broncos) over the past two seasons. Bridgewater, 29, took three snaps in relief of Tagovailoa in Week 3. While Bridgewater is a seasoned option, Tagovailoa is having the best stretch of his short career. After his 469-yard, six-touchdown day against the Ravens, he averaged 10.3 yards per attempt on 72% passing in Sunday’s injury-bisected game. Leading the Dolphins to the AFC’s lone 3-0 record, the oft-questioned passer ranks first in QBR entering Week 4.

NFLPA To Investigate Handling Of Tua Tagovailoa Concussion Protocol

There was a moment during today’s AFC East matchup in Miami where it didn’t look like the Dolphins would have quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for the second half of the game due to a potential concussion. Tagovailoa underwent the required concussion protocol and returned for the second half to lead his team to a win over the division rival Bills. The NFL Players Association, though, is reportedly initiating an investigation into the handling of the concussion check, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. 

Tagovailoa received a late hit from Bills linebacker Matt Milano around the two-minute mark of the second quarter. When Tagovailoa had released the ball, he was pushed backwards by Milano and, upon landing on his back, Tagovailoa’s head snapped back against the turf. As he hurried back downfield to rejoin his offense, Tagovailoa appeared to slip or stumble, prompting the officials to remove him from the game to undergo the league-mandated concussion protocol. Tagovailoa came back out with the Dolphins offense for the second half and proceeded to lead his team to a victory.

Instigating an investigation insinuates that the NFLPA has some notion that the protocol for Tagovailoa’s safety was not completely aboveboard. Whether they believe the results were influenced to allow a potentially concussed player to return to play or whether they believe the results were ignored, the NFLPA clearly wants to make sure that Tagovailoa was not put in any danger by returning to the game.

Tagovailoa had a different story for his injury and stumble, according to Josh Alper of NBC Sports, telling the media, “On the quarterback sneak, (I) kinda got my legs caught under someone and they were trying to push back. It felt like I hyperextended my back. On the next play, I hit my back and kinda hurt it. Then I got up and that’s kinda when I stumbled. For the most part, I’m good. Passed whatever concussion protocol they had.”

This would excuse the Dolphins in the eyes of the Players Association for the time being, if true. While it might be questionable to send your quarterback onto the field with back issues, there is no league mandate preventing it. After the game, Tagovailoa credited adrenaline with his ability to continue playing after sustaining the back injury but did admit that he felt “uncomfortable.”

Regardless of the results of the investigation, Miami may be without its young lefty for its next contest. If Tagovailoa finds it harder to perform without the rush of adrenaline, he will have only a short period of time to recover, as the Dolphins are set to play the Bengals on Thursday night this week.

Dolphins Notes: Running Backs, Offensive Line, Tagovailoa

The Dolphins were busy reworking their running backs depth chart during the offseason. After signing the likes of Chase Edmonds, Sony Michel, and Raheem Mostert, the team didn’t have much room for another veteran. Speaking to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, running back Duke Johnson said Miami never offered him a contract in free agency.

The veteran had a productive five-game stint with the Dolphins in 2021. After making a name for himself in the passing game, Johnson averaged 66 rushing yards per game…a leap from his 23.6-yard career mark. The 28-year-old RB ultimately finished the campaign with 371 yards from scrimmage and three scores on 75 touches. The organization initially expressed interest in re-signing Johnson following the season, but Mike McDaniel’s hiring ultimately changed the team’s plans.

“They just wanted to go in a different direction,” Johnson said. “I figured McDaniel wanted his guys; Raheem Mostert is one of his guys. I know the nature of the business. No hard feelings.”

Johnson ended up landing a one-year deal with the Bills in March.

More notes out of Miami…

  • When the Dolphins signed Connor Williams this offseason, it was expected that the lineman would slide in at left guard. However, ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques writes that Williams is now the front runner to start at center. The 25-year-old trained at the position throughout the offseason to help improve his versatility, and it seems like it worked. Incumbent starter Michael Deiter is still in the picture, but Louis-Jacques opines that the starting center gig is Williams’ to lose.
  • ESPN’s Todd McShay recently opined that 2022 is a prove-it year for Tua Tagovailoa, and if the QB fails, the Dolphins are in a good position to pursue one of next year’s top QB prospects. Jackson quickly dismisses that notion, however. In the hypothetical where Tagovailoa does fail and the Dolphins decide to pivot next offseason, their various assets may not be enough to pull off a trade. While the Dolphins have an extra first-round pick thanks to a trade with San Francisco, Jackson writes that few teams would be interested in bailing on a franchise quarterback for a platter of middling firsts…especially when the majority of the teams that could be in contention for a top pick would all have their own QB issues.
  • When asked which AFC team had the best offseason, PFR readers ranked the Dolphins third. Besides their blockbuster acquisition of wideout Tyreek Hill, the Dolphins also brought in offensive tackle Terron Armstead, extended cornerback Xavien Howard, and re-signed defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. The Broncos finished first in the poll, with the Raiders finishing second.

Dolphins GM Talks Watson, Payton/Brady Rumors, Howard

THURSDAY: Set to pursue a media gig, Payton indicated to veteran NFL reporter Jason Cole (via Twitter) he would “probably not” have been interested in this Dolphins setup had he been given the chance to speak with the team. Once Payton lands with a network, the subject of his next coaching stop figures to come up fairly frequently.

WEDNESDAY: It’s already been a busy offseason for the Dolphins. The team hired a new head coach in Mike McDaniel, dealt with the fallout of former HC Brian Flores‘ lawsuit, and brushed off continued rumors regarding their quarterback position.

While speaking with reporters today, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier addressed many of the major story lines surrounding the organization. Most notably, the GM acknowledged that “the door is shut” on acquiring Deshaun Watson from the Texans. The organization has been continually connected to Watson over the past year, but the team’s decision makers seem focused on moving forward with Tua Tagovailoa.

Grier also addressed a recent report that indicated the organization pursued Sean Payton as their head coach and Tom Brady as their starting quarterback. While the GM discussed the team’s brief pursuit of the coach (which we detail below), he said the Dolphins “never had a conversation” with the future Hall of Fame quarterback.

The Dolphins general manager provided a handful of additional thoughts on the state of the Dolphins, which we’ve compiled below (h/t to Cameron Wolfe of NFL.com):

More on the Dolphins’ commitment to Tagovailoa as their starting quarterback:

“Mike and the staff have come in to do a lot of work, studied a lot of Tua and they feel good about his developmental upside, what he can be and then the fit in the offense. I think we’re good with Tua.”

On the Dolphins pursuit of Payton:

“[We called the Saints] to see if he is done with football or does he want to coach. … They told us no, they weren’t going to grant permission. So that was it.

“We stopped to see if he would have interest at all. So, I don’t even know if he would have interest.”

On cornerback Xavien Howard, who is seeking a new contract following back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons:

“My anticipation is that Xavien will be here next year. We made the promise to him — after the season, we’ll make the adjustment … just to be truthful with him and do it, that’s the right thing to do.”

On impending free agents Mike Gesicki and Emmanuel Ogbah:

“Mike knows how I feel about him. I drafted him and have had separate conversations with Mike. We’ve had limited talks with his agents.”

“As it got to the end of the season with free agency, both of those guys get to this point, they want to be able to see what their options are. They both told us they want to be back in Miami. They both love it here, they want to be back. We’ll see what happens.”

On Flores’ class-action lawsuit against the NFL and three teams (including the Dolphins):

“(At) some point when it’s done [i can discuss], maybe in the future, but I can’t comment on this right now.

Dolphins GM: Door Shut On Deshaun Watson

The runaway leaders in last year’s Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, the Dolphins have officially bowed out. GM Chris Grier confirmed Wednesday the “door is shut” on a trade for the Texans’ star quarterback, NFL.com’s Cameron Wolfe tweets.

Grier endorsed Tua Tagovailoa‘s progress ahead of his third season, following new HC Mike McDaniel in that regard. With the Dolphins being the only team for which Watson waived his no-trade clause, this opens up the playing field. Watson, of course, remains embroiled in the off-field scandals that have thrown his career off course. The timetable for resolutions in Watson’s civil and criminal cases remains murky, with a lengthy NFL suspension perhaps looming.

Buzz about the Dolphins acquiring Watson amid his off-field trouble intensified ahead of the 2021 trade deadline, when they were the only team left standing. Watson did not waive his no-trade clause for the Eagles or Panthers at that point. Stephen Ross was believed to have pushed Grier and Co. for weeks to finalize a Watson deal, but the Dolphins wanted conditions attached to the draft picks exchanged in the swap. No deal came to pass, and it has now been more than a year since Watson’s trade request surfaced.

Watson was reported to be interested in the Buccaneers and Vikings as destinations, and the Panthers — who showed considerable interest before the accusations of sexual misconduct and sexual assault emerged — still loom for the ex-Clemson superstar.

The Dolphins targeted Tagovailoa for over a year and were in position to land him due to the hip injury sustained late in the southpaw’s Alabama career. Of course, the Dolphins tried to pivot to Joe Burrow, offering the Bengals three first-rounders to move up in 2020, but were rebuffed. This QB pursuit has emerged in Flores’ lawsuit, which accused Ross of offering six-figure payments for 2019 losses.

The team will aim to move past these major headlines and build around Tagovailoa, who has struggled with injuries and inconsistency as a pro. The Dolphins, however, saw receiver unavailability and a bottom-tier offensive line hinder Tua’s development last season. The Watson pursuit almost certainly affected the passer as well. It seems the Dolphins will try to give their starter a legitimate chance to succeed next season.

Dolphins Expected To Stick With QB Tua Tagovailoa

While rumors will always persist, it sounds like the Dolphins are going to stick with their current QB. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Tua Tagovailoa is expected to be the Dolphins starting quarterback for the 2022 season.

[RELATED: Dolphins GM Chris Grier On Deshaun Watson, Tua Tagovailoa]

According to the writer, the organization has “significant” belief in the former fifth-overall pick. The front office will no longer pursue a top-end QB, which would seemingly take them out of the running for Texans QB Deshaun Watson, who the organization has been connected to for the better part of a year. While the team’s new head coach is expected to “evaluate every facet of the football team, including the QB,” the hope is that the new HC will continue to help with Tagovailoa’s development (vs. pushing for a replacement).

Rapoport adds the caveat that the plan is “barring some sort of unforeseen occurrence,” like a “high-profile QB demanding a trade to the Dolphins.” This is an interesting distinction; the franchise won’t pursue a top QB unless that top QB explicitly says he wants to play in Miami. This could indicate that the report is merely posturing by the Dolphins front office.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter provides a bit more context (on Twitter), noting that the firing of Brian Flores was what ultimately “diminished” the Dolphins’ chances of acquiring Watson. According to Schefter, Flores was one of Watson’s main proponents, while owner Stephen Ross was on Team Tua. However, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com pushes back at this notion, tweeting that he’s heard that Ross was “obsessed” with acquiring the Texans QB.

Tagovailoa dealt with injuries once again in 2021, but he still managed to start 12 of his 13 games. The Dolphins went 7-5 in those 12 starts, and the 23-year-old finished the season having completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 2,653 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.

Waddle Sets Rookie Receptions Record

The 18-game NFL regular season sees another record fall. In the Dolphins’ first drive of today’s game against the Patriots, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa found his favorite target, receiver Jaylen Waddle, three times, pushing Waddle’s rookie-season total receptions to 102 and cementing that Waddle would end the day with an NFL record.

Waddle finished the game with 5 catches for only 27 yards, but those first three catches resulted in Waddle passing Anquan Boldin for most receptions in a single season for a rookie in NFL history. Boldin’s record of 101 receptions has stood since 2003. Waddle came into the game with 99 catches, so his 5 today make the new mark to beat 104.

Like most records this season, this will have a bit of an asterisk on it, since the record was reached in an 18-week season, as opposed to a 17-week season. While Waddle did technically catch more balls in the same amount of games as Boldin, Waddle did have the benefit of a week of rest outside the traditional bye week when he missed their Week 15 game against the Jets on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Waddle was joined today by T.J. Watt who tied Michael Strahan’s record for most sacks in a single season with 22.5. While Watt also had the luxury of being able to miss a game and still play the same amount of games that Strahan did back in 2001, Watt actually accomplished his total while only appearing in 15 games this year. This is sure to be a continuing trend in the coming years as players are given an additional opportunity to pad their stats.

Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa Won’t Start Tonight

Tua Tagovailoa will likely miss his second-straight game. NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe reports (via Twitter) that backup Jacoby Brissett will be starting for the Dolphins when they take on the Ravens tonight.

Tagovailoa has been dealing with a small fracture in the middle finger of his throwing hand that forced him to miss last Sunday’s game against the Texans. Per Wolfe (on Twitter), the quarterback is still dealing with a grip issue and corresponding discomfort. Fortunately, it sounds like the QB is getting better, and the team is hopeful he’ll play next weekend against the Jets. Just like last week, Tagovailoa will still be active for tonight’s game. If Brissett is forced to exit the game, Tagovailoa will be forced into the lineup, injury and all.

The Alabama product has posted a disappointing 86.7 quarterback rating in his 15 professional games, and his persistent injury problems are preventing him from generating any positive momentum. Before the finger ailment, he previously missed three full games this year (and most of a fourth) due to a rib injury. In the five games he’s started, Tagovailoa has completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 1,040 yards, seven touchdowns, and five interceptions. He’s added another 62 yards and two scores on 15 touches.

Brissett has already started four of his seven games this season. The veteran has completed 64.4 percent of his passes for 1,127 yards, five touchdowns, and four interceptions. Per Wolfe, Brissett got the majority of the starting reps at practice this week, and the team was preparing for tonight’s contest as if the 28-year-old would get the start.