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Tua Tagovailoa not a QB option for Dolphins in Week 18

Dec 25, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) throws the football during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

With a playoff berth on the line, coach Mike McDaniel said the Miami Dolphins will start either Teddy Bridgewater or rookie Skylar Thompson in Week 18 against the New York Jets, with Tua Tagovailoa remaining in the league’s concussion protocol.

Tagovailoa is in the protocol for the third time this season after self-reporting symptoms following a Week 16 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He missed Sunday’s setback to the New England Patriots, the team’s fifth straight loss.

There is no timetable for Tagovailoa’s return, McDaniel told reporters Monday.

“I haven’t even thought about (Tagovailoa’s) playing status. It’s about him getting healthy each and every day,” McDaniel told reporters. “And so I can’t really even factor him into any sort of equation until we’re ready to broach that.

“Specifically as mandated, I haven’t had a discussion with Tua about when he’s playing.”

The Dolphins need to beat the Jets on Sunday and hope the Buffalo Bills beat the Patriots in order to clinch the final spot in the AFC wild-card picture.

McDaniel said it was too soon to know whether Bridgewater, who injured the pinkie finger of his throwing hand Sunday, would be able to play against the Jets. Multiple reports Sunday night said the Dolphins believed the finger was broken.

Tagovailoa had a strong start to the season, with the Dolphins going 8-0 in the first eight games he started and finished. But he threw a season-high three interceptions against the Packers on Christmas Day. He’s thrown for 3,548 yards and 25 touchdowns, both career highs in his third NFL season, along with eight interceptions on 64.8 percent passing.

Prior to exiting the Patriots game, Bridgewater completed 12 of 19 passes for 161 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The journeyman started one other game earlier in the season, also against the Jets — and left in the first quarter with a head injury.

Thompson, a seventh-round pick out of Kansas State, started the game after that against Minnesota and has seen action in six games as a rookie. He has thrown for 382 yards, one touchdown and three picks. The touchdown came Sunday against New England on a 4-yarder to tight end Mike Gesicki with 1:04 to play, cutting the deficit to two points, but it was in vain as Miami did not recover an onside kick.

“It’s just really a situation of, at this point in the week — Monday and Tuesday game prep — I’ll be preparing for both Skylar and Teddy, and then proceed as the week progresses,” McDaniel said.

–Field Level Media