Let’s end this nonsense about whether Teddy Bridgewater or Skyler Thompson would start at quarterback for the Miami Dolphins before it gets out of hand from a certain segment of fans.
If Tua Tagovailoa is out with his concussion issues, Bridgewater starts in the easiest decision of coach Mike McDaniel’s week.
It’s a non-starter as a starting issue. Bridgewater has played in 75 games, the majority as a starter, with a 90.4 quarterback rating. Thompson hasn’t played an NFL snap.
A year ago, Bridgewater ranked 12th in the league with a 94.9 rating in Denver.
A year ago, Thompson was at Kansas State on his way to being a seventh-round pick.
This is a road game, too, in the Meadowlands against the New York Jets. Another factor.
Bridgewater didn’t get an offer to start this year, but no team has a better insurance policy at quarterback. Now the Dolphins probably have to use that policy. Bridgewater completed 14 of 23 passes for 193 yards a touchdown and a costly interception to end the Dolphins’ chances in Cincinnati last Thursday. With a week’s work in practice as the starter, there’s no reason he doesn’t offer the best option.
Thompson looked good in preseason. He could come in and pull a Bailey Zappe, if needed. But this segment of fans pushing for him to start are overthinking this situation.
2. The Dolphins open as 3-point favorites against the New York Jets on Sunday. If you saw the Jets’ 24-20 win against Pittsburgh, you saw why. You also understand with the Jets and Pittsburgh as two of the next three opponents how the schedule lightens up. Throw in Minnesota at home and Detroit and Chicago and this is as light a stretch as the first month was heavy.
3. The one concern with the Jets is they’re somehow 2-2 and showed some late-game magic in both wins. Down two touchdowns with two minutes to go against Cleveland, they won. Down 10 points in the fourth quarter at Pittsburgh, they won. Their late-game recoveries rival the Dolphins wins against Baltimore and Buffalo. Zach Wilson, too, went 5-for-5 on the Jets’ winning drive in his first start of the year.
4. We’re nearly to the quarter-pole of the NFL season, meaning it’s too early for the playoff spots to mean anything, but it’s not too early to look anyhow. The shocker is the AFC has three teams with winning records: Miami, Kansas City and Buffalo. They’re all 3-1. Eight teams are 2-2. Again, there’s a lot to sort out with 12 games to go. But here’s the playoff seeding today:
1. Dolphins 3-1. A great first month, aside from Tua Tagovailoa’s injuries.
2. Kansas City 3-1. Patrick Mahomes just put up 41 points on the NFL’s previously best defense in Tampa Bay — the most Tampa Bay gave up in three seasons.
3. Jacksonville 2-2. They’re for real. Doug Pedersen is showing the problem was Urban Meyer.
4. Cleveland 2-2. Ugly loss to Atlanta on Sunday.
5. Buffalo 2-2. They’re the best team in the league.
6. Cincinnati 2-2. After an 0-2 start, they’re looking like last year’s team.
7. Tennessee 2-2. In his 11th year, Ryan Tannehill has five TDs, three interceptions and a 93.8 rating.
5. Quote of the week from NBC’s Rodney Harrison, who estimates he had at least 20 concussions in his career, regarding the Tagovailoa situation: “I would get hit, the entire stadium is spinning around, and I would go back into the game. It’s not worth it. And I would implore these young men: Don’t go back on that football field if you get hurt, because I don’t want them to have to feel like me and so many other former players that had to deal with concussions. Whether it’s depression, anxiety, paranoia, broken relationships, not being able to communicate with your spouse and things like that, it’s a lot. CTE takes you to a dark place, and I want these players to know, it’s not worth it. Please take care of yourself. Don’t depend on the NFL. Don’t depend on anybody. If something’s wrong with your head, report it.” That, folks, is why such a big deal is made about Tagovailoa’s head trauma.
6. New England is at the bottom of the AFC East and looking at starting their third-string quarterback, Zappe. But don’t go to a full sleep on them. The Patriots played their best game of the year Sunday in losing at Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers vs. Bailey Zappe? Green Bay needed overtime to win 30-27. Zappe took over for Brian Hoyer, who left the game after getting a kick to the head and going into concussion protocol. Starter Mac Jones is out a while with an ankle injury. Belichick has gone from chasing Don Shula’s win record with Tom Brady to chasing him with Zappe, a rookie out of Western Kentucky. Zappe was fine for a third-string rookie coming off the bench, too, completing 10 of 15 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown.
7. Has Raheem Mostert shown he’s the Dolphins primary back? He has 39 carries for 147 yards, a 3.8-yard average. Edmonds has 28 carries for 85 yards, a 3.0-yard average? Mostert also has seven first downs to Edmonds’ three. Receiving? Mostert has eight catches for 58 yards (8.5-yard average) and Edmonds nine for 56 (9.3-yard average).
8. It looked dumb on first glance, and it could have all sorts of AFC East and playoff implications come December. But I’m with Baltimore coach John Harbaugh going for it on fourth-and-goal from the 2 with four minutes left in a tie game against Buffalo. Put yourself in his headset. Buffalo has scored four of its previous five possessions. Harbaugh has a chance to go up a touchdown or make Buffalo take over at its 2-yard line. It couldn’t have turned out much worse. Lamar Jackson threw an interception in the end zone to give Buffalo the ball at the 20-yard line. Buffalo’s Josh Allen then did exactly what Harbaugh feared: His offense drove the ball 77 yards downfield, stopping only to run out the clock so the 21-yard field goal wins it. Harbaugh caught a lot of grief. And no one would have said anything if he’d kicked the field goal and Buffalo turned that 77-yard field goal drive into an 80-yard touchdown drive as it easily could have. But he made the odd-looking right decision that didn’t work out.
9. Stat of Week 4: Baltimore is the second team in NFL history to lead games (plural) by at least 17 points in their first four games of a season and lose, according to Elias Sports. Sunday it was against Buffalo. The first one was when the Dolphins came from 21 points down in the fourth quarter. The other team to descend to that was Minnesota in 2011. Does Jackson put out this tweet to Buffalo that he did to the Dolphins?
10. It’s odd to see stern, old-school Belichick with a man-crush on Aaron Rodgers. The coach who keeps to himself talked for a long time with Rodgers before and after Sunday’s game. Then came his assessment of the loss: “In the end, Rodgers was just too good. He made some throws that only Rodgers can make. We had pretty good coverage on some of those and he was just too smart, too good, too accurate. In the end he got us.”