Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa (concussion) won’t play vs. Patriots; Teddy Bridgewater expected to start

Tua Tagovailoa’s most recent concussion will keep him out of Miami’s starting lineup this weekend.

The Dolphins are moving forward with Teddy Bridgewater as the team’s starting quarterback for at least Miami’s Week 17 game against New England, coach Mike McDaniel told reporters Wednesday.

“Moving forward today and the whole team’s approach is (that) Teddy Bridgewater is the starter,” McDaniel said. “This is why we thought it was so vital to go after him in free agency. This is why he’s done such a diligent job during the course of the season with his own injuries and such, to be prepared for this opportunity and I know the team is very excited and feels very fortunate to have him and him to get his opportunity that he’s totally prepared for.”

Tagovailoa suffered his second concussion of the 2022 season during Miami’s loss to Green Bay in Week 16, but didn’t exhibit or report symptoms until the following day, leading to a quick placement in the league’s concussion protocol.

NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said Tuesday that Tagovailoa exhibited zero injury behaviors and reported zero symptoms “that would have triggered the (league’s concussion) protocol” during the Christmas Day game. McDaniel effectively confirmed this in speaking with reporters, explaining he and his staff didn’t notice any cause for concern regarding Tagovailoa until they reviewed film in the hours after the game. The Dolphins coach added that Tagovailoa did indeed suffer a concussion against Green Bay.

“We had some questions — kind of feel like we had an idea that ‘hey, did something happen during this portion of the game?'” McDaniel said Wednesday. “(We) questioned him. We continued to question him, and once we got some information back, we were like ‘you need to go see the doctor.’ So to say without absolute certainty that it was this, that or otherwise, there were just some things that caused us to really prod. As a result, we felt like he needed to see medical professionals.”

On Tuesday, the NFLPA and NFL initiated a joint review of the application of the league’s concussion protocol as it pertained to Tagovailoa, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported.

Tagovailoa’s concussion has caused plenty of concern for his well-being, especially considering his first concussion forced him to miss two games earlier this season. He’s been through plenty medically in his short career, dealing with a number of issues after working his way back from a significant hip injury suffered while in college at Alabama.

When asked how he felt seeing his quarterback endure another medical setback, McDaniel was succinct, leaning into the microphone and uttering one word: “Terrible.”

“In regards to Tua, I have been advised by medical professionals that it’s critical that Tua worries only about the day that he’s currently in and nothing else,” McDaniel said. “He is in the building, but beyond that, as medical professionals will tell you, any added pressure, anything beyond that day does not behoove the process at all so I will take that very serious and worry about his health first and foremost, and take the advice of medical professionals.”

Miami will proceed with a veteran backup in Bridgewater who has appeared in four games this season, including one start in which he left the game due to a concussion sustained in the first quarter. He returned a week later as a replacement for rookie Skylar Thompson, completing 23 of 34 passes for 329 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in a loss to Minnesota.

Bridgewater has plenty of experience to handle the duties of a starting quarterback for a team that still has chances of reaching the playoffs. With Tagovailoa sidelined, Bridgewater will be tasked with doing so for at least Week 17.

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