Dolphins HC Mike McDaniel Gives Update on Tua Tagovailoa’s Status Heading Into Week 6

by Nick Geddes
(Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Miami Dolphins (3-2) quarterback Tua Tagovailoa returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since suffering a concussion in the Week 4 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) on Sept. 29.

Multiple independent neurologists cleared Tagovailoa to resume limited football activities. That puts him in Phase 3 of NFL‘s return to participation protocol. Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said that Tagovailoa will remain out this Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings (4-1).

“In these situations, you are relying on all medical advice and what people can do and what we’ve been told is he can go out and throw and do some individual work this week,” McDaniel said, via ESPN. “So that’s exciting for everybody just because, you know, really we just miss his personality. He’s a guy that we rely on that, not to mention all of his play and all that stuff.

“Now, when talking about this week and playing, I don’t see a scenario — I don’t see him being active. I do not plan to have him play at all.”

McDaniel noted that there is a “definite scenario” in which Tagovailoa clears concussion protocol this week. That, however, does not mean he will play right away. McDaniel said it would be a disservice to both Tagovailoa and the Dolphins if he were to play on Sunday.

“He hasn’t done a thing on the football field for literally two weeks,” McDaniel said. “So, I don’t think that that would be fair to the player. That wouldn’t be fair to the team … I don’t feel comfortable putting him in that situation.”

Teddy Bridgewater Remains in Concussion Protocol

With Tagovailoa out, the Dolphins will start rookie Skylar Thompson under center. Teddy Bridgewater, who started in last Sunday’s loss to the New York Jets (3-2), left the game after one offensive play.

Bridgewater was sacked in the end zone by Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner. He was quickly taken to the medical tent and then the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion by an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant.

Bridgewater was ordered to go into the protocol after the ATC spotter ruled him a “no-go.” Though Bridgewater passed his concussion evaluation, the spotter believed he saw him stumble. That triggers the ataxia amendment under the NFL’s updated concussion protocols, which now considers a lack of control of body movements as a “no-go” symptom. Bridgewater, as a result, was not allowed to reenter the game.

Dolphins Turn to Rookie in Week 6 vs. Vikings

It was all Thompson from there, who completed 19-of-33 passes for 166 yards and one interception. Sunday will be the first-career start for the 2022 seventh-round draft pick out of Kansas State. He should be backed up by Bridgewater, who remains in concussion protocol but is eligible to practice in a limited fashion on Thursday. McDaniel said that having another quarterback on the sideline with Thompson will help him feel more comfortable.

“It’s huge because in a game experience for a quarterback, you get coached, there’s a lot of stuff going on and you’re taking in information from one, two, three voices,” McDaniel said. “But then when you have a peer that has gone through it and has seen it, that translation — it might be one word, it might be a pat on the back. All that teammate support is a very immensely huge thing for a player like that … Having that support from his brother on the sidelines this week. Because it was a lonely sideline last week.

“All Skylar had to talk to was [Dolphins quarterbacks coach Darrell] Bevel and myself, and we’re great guys, but not that great of conversations.”