MIAMI GARDENS — Teddy Bridgewater hates to see Tua Tagovailoa dealing with another concussion. At least, though, when the Dolphins visit the Patriots on Sunday, Bridgewater should have a chance to do something he longs to do.
“An opportunity to play some football,” Bridgewater said Wednesday.
It’s not as simple as it sounds.
When Tagovailoa was going to miss the trip to the Meadowlands to face the Jets in October, Bridgewater started — and lasted one play, pulled via a controversial call from the spotter who suspected a concussion.
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Bridgewater also played the next week, but it was in sudden relief of an injured Skylar Thompson against the Vikings. Bridgewater’s only other chance at extended action came in Week 4 against the Bengals, when Tagovailoa suffered a concussion and was taken to a nearby hospital.
So when Bridgewater talks about an “opportunity” to play, starting finishing a game would be nice.
The Minnesota game, on Oct. 16, was the last time Bridgewater played. For the nine games since, he has either not played or been inactive via injury, most recently a knee. It was only last weekend vs. Green Bay that he returned as the designated backup to Tagovailoa. When asked about the knee Wednesday, Bridgewater hinted it may not be 100 percent.
“I’m cool,” he said. “One day at a time.”
Bridgewater normally is one of the most jovial Dolphins in the locker room.
“Oh, he’s very funny,” receiver Tyreek Hill said. “I feel like when Teddy steps in the huddle, my first reaction every time I see him is like, ‘Bro, he’s about to say a joke and I’m going to laugh.’ ”
Teddy Bridgewater has serious demeanor this week
But Wednesday, Bridgewater had a more serious demeanor, perhaps out of respect for the gravity of either Tagovailoa’s situation, the team’s situation or both. The simplest route to the playoffs is for the Dolphins to beat the Patriots and the Jets in their final two games.
“This is why we thought it so vital to go after him in free agency,” McDaniel said. “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. I feel very fortunate to have him and for him to get his opportunity that he’s totally prepared for.”
Bridgewater is 33-31 as a starting quarterback in his career, including one playoff game for Minnesota in 2015. Big games are nothing foreign to him.
“Every time you go out there it’s an opportunity to just learn different things about your teammates, yourself,” he said. “And that’s pretty much it. We practice throughout the week, we throw routes on air. You get a good feel for the guys.”
For the season, Bridgewater has completed 37-of-60 passes for 522 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. Hill believes he has seen enough to know the offense can be effective rallying behind Bridgewater.
“You remember my comment from earlier when I said I can put up numbers with anybody? That still stands,” Hill said.
What gives him that confidence?
“Every quarterback is going to bring his own swagger into the huddle,” Hill said. “And I feel like when Teddy steps into the huddle, there’s like a different mindset for us all. We understand Tua has his things that he does very well. And then Teddy, he has the same thing. He has the same certain package of things that he can do very well as well. When he stepped in for us, in the fourth quarter against the Vikings and came in and balled out, we needed that as a team. Teddy’s a guy who has been in his league for a long time and he understands and he knows what it takes to get the job done to win games.”