Mike McDaniel not ready to name Skylar Thompson starter against Vikings

Dolphins coach says it's too soon to determine whether rookie QB will get nod
New York Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams pulls down Miami Dolphins QB Skylar Thompson, Oct. 9, 2022
Posted at 10:48 PM, Oct 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-10 22:49:14-04

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Although the Dolphins have lost their top two quarterbacks in successive weeks, head coach Mike McDaniel said Monday that it's too soon to tell whether rookie Skylar Thompson will be the starter for this weekend's game against the Minnesota Vikings.

"It's too soon for me to really pinpoint that," McDaniel said. "There's, again, I kind of have to wait and assess the whole situation, which I do not have in scope."

Thompson, who was a seventh-round draft pick out of Kansas State, took over for Teddy Bridgewater after just one offensive snap in Miami's 40-17 loss to the New York Jets last Sunday. He finished the game 19-of-33 for 166 yards. He also threw an interception and lost a fumble.

Bridgewater started in place of 2020 first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa, who was injured in a Sept. 29 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Tagovailoa was taken off the field in a stretcher and is in the NFL's concussion protocol.

Although Bridgewater is showing no concussion symptoms, he must clear the NFL's five-step process to return, and there is no timeline for his return.

McDaniel said Thompson will practice Wednesday, when McDaniel said he hopes to "have a better feel of the direction that we should go that's best for the football team."

Bridgewater took a hard hit from Jets cornerback Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner on Miami's first offensive snap. The former first-round pick was immediately taken to the locker room and evaluated for a concussion.

Miami Dolphins QB Teddy Bridgewater leaves field after taking hit at New York Jets, Oct. 9, 2022
Miami Dolphins quarterback Teddy Bridgewater leaves the field after taking a hit from the New York Jets during the first quarter Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J.

A spotter saw Bridgewater stumble after the play.

"I was watching him intently," McDaniel told reporters. "It was the first offensive play of the game and I didn't see him stumble, but I'm also not really in the business of grading and coaching spotters. The rule is in place for player safety and I'm all about that. Honestly, whether he stumbled or not, the rules are the rules."

McDaniel said his "heart hurt" that Bridgewater was unable to play for the rest of the game.

It was the third consecutive week that a Dolphins quarterback had to leave the game because of an injury.

Tagovailoa also left Miami's Sept. 25 game against the Buffalo Bills in the second quarter but returned at halftime despite appearing disoriented, leading some to question why he was allowed back in the game. The team and Tagovailoa later claimed the injury was to his back and not his head.

McDaniel said he's embracing the challenge his team has been dealt at the quarterback position recently.

"I think I would feel guilt and feel as though I was shortchanging the Dolphins and the team if I was spending any time thinking about how hard it is," he said. "I think you always want your players to be healthy. I think you always make sure that your roster is built so that you have players capable to execute in light of any sort of injury, and you do that the right way, you're confident in all your players and whatever hand is dealt, you have to deal with."

Tagovailoa still remains in the concussion protocol, "but he is not ready to take the step to do some football stuff yet," McDaniel said.

Whether or not Bridgewater is cleared to return this week, McDaniel said he's confident the Miami native "will do everything it takes to prepare to play in a football game."

"What I do know is he's a pro, and if and when he's called upon, I know he's going to put his best foot forward for himself and his teammates," McDaniel said.