The New England Patriots defense will not have to go up against Miami Dolphins starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in Week 17. As was announced by Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel on Wednesday, the team will turn to backup Teddy Bridgewater for Sunday’s game.
Tagovailoa entered concussion protocol after Miami’s loss to Green Bay on Sunday, and per McDaniel has been advised to take a day-by-day approach. As a result, the team is handing the keys to its offense over to Bridgewater for the time being.
“The whole idea of taking day-to-day is kind of rough on coaches, who have to plan for a bunch of people,” McDaniel said.” The approach that I’m unequivocally taking today — I met with him yesterday, I met with Teddy yesterday. I was exchanging ideas and talking through some stuff all the way until like 10:15 last night; that was his bed time. And so, moving forward today the whole team’s approach is Teddy Bridgewater’s the starter.”
A former first-round draft pick who is on his sixth team since entering the NFL in 2014, Bridgewater has seen action in four games so far this season. Along the way, he completed 37 of 60 pass attempts (61.7%) for 522 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.
He spent most of the season as Miami’s top backup option behind Tagovailoa, though. The starter’s recent injury history — he already missed two games earlier in the year with a concussion — has now forced the Dolphins to elevate him to the QB1 position yet again; Bridgewater already started the team’s 40-17 loss to the New York Jets in Week 5.
Despite Bridgewater’s status, McDaniel expressed confidence in him on Wednesday.
“This is why we thought it’s so vital to go after him in free agency,” he said. “This is why he’s done such a diligent job over the course of the season, with his own injuries and such, to be prepared for this opportunity.”
As for the Patriots, they are not expecting much of a structural change out of Miami even with another player lining up under center.
“I would say they’re both very experienced quarterbacks at this point, especially playing in this scheme,” Patriots assistant coach Jerod Mayo said on Tuesday. “But I would say it doesn’t change too much. They still have weapons all over the field. It’s still going to take a team effort to really slow these guys down. So whoever’s playing quarterback, we’ll be ready, and hopefully we can go out there and play at a high level.”
The game between the two AFC East rivals is scheduled for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff at Gillette Stadium.