McDaniel provides updates on Tua, Bridgewater, Mostert as Dolphins begin playoff prep

Head coach Mike McDaniel of the Miami Dolphins speaks with Tua Tagovailoa prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on November 06, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) (Michael Reaves, 2022 Getty Images)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The NFL’s regular season may have come to an end on Sunday, but it’s still a Victory Monday for the Miami Dolphins.

That’s because the Dolphins season isn’t over yet.

Miami has qualified for the NFL Playoffs for the first time since 2016 and just the third time in 20 years.

It’s a feat that has become a rarity for a franchise once considered among the NFL’s best, but the Dolphins have had a long and hard fall since the perennial playoff days of Don Shula and Dan Marino and the glory days of Bob Griese and Larry Csonka.

It’s certainly not a feat to be diminished, but let’s be real as we step back into the reality of the year 2023.

These Dolphins are going to have quite the uphill climb if they want to do more than just extend their season by a week, and it starts with getting healthy.

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has missed Miami’s past two games after suffering a concussion during the Dolphins 26-20 loss to Green Bay on Christmas Day. It was the second time Tagovailoa was diagnosed with a concussion this season.

He remains in the concussion protocol and Dolphins Head Coach Mike McDaniel has maintained that he won’t even discuss the idea of playing Tua until the 24-year-old has been cleared medically.

“The primary concern is that we lean on medical professionals for this, these medical opinions, and I don’t want to influence by over asking or trying to micromanage what the process is,” McDaniel said Monday. “When he’s medically cleared to practice, he’ll practice. Until then I’m not doing anything.”

McDaniel said Tua continues to follow the process and that, up until now, there have been no issues in his recovery.

“He was (in) good spirits through the weekend, and there were no setbacks or concerns with regard to today. But he’s feeling good, and we’ll see what tomorrow brings,” McDaniel said.

Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is dealing with a dislocated pinky finger on his throwing hand that he injured during Miami’s 23-21 loss to New England on New Year’s Day. He missed most of the week of practice leading up to Miami’s regular season-ending 11-6 win over the Jets on Sunday but was well enough to serve as backup quarterback to Skylar Thompson.

While Tagovailoa’s status will likely be unknown and undetermined until later in the week, the hope is that Bridgewater can get in a full practice load and be ready to play Sunday’s Wild Card matchup against the Buffalo Bills.

“He really worked, really, day and night endlessly, to be in a position where he could play for us if something happened to Skylar,” McDaniel said of Bridgewater. “So you kind of have to see the residuals of that and see where he’s at before making sound judgment on Wednesday, so I really don’t know.”

Ultimately with the quarterbacks, McDaniel is going to wait and see what happens when the team returns for practice later this week and go from there.

“I’ll be preparing for everybody that we have,” he said of the QBs. “I don’t have any clarity. We’re hoping to have better clarity on Wednesday.”

Sticking with the topic of injuries, Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert suffered a broken thumb during Sunday’s win over the Jets. McDaniel confirmed the injury on Monday.

“He will not be engaging in any competitive games of thumb war,” the coach joked.

McDaniel wouldn’t say whether the injury would keep Mostert out of Sunday’s playoff game, but did call it a “significant break of his thumb,” and said he believes Mostert was having surgery on Monday.

The two have a history going back several years to when both were in San Francisco, and McDaniel knows that Mostert will do everything he can to get on the field for his teammates.

“I never put anything past Raheem Mostert, I’ve learned that over time,” McDaniel said.

About the Author:

David Dwork joined the WPLG Local 10 News team in August 2019. Born and raised in Miami-Dade County, David has covered South Florida sports since 2007.