February 7, 2023

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Tua Tagovailoa would remain the starting QB;  The Dolphins expect him to be ready

Tua Tagovailoa would remain the starting QB; The Dolphins expect him to be ready

MIAMI – There is no doubt in the Miami Dolphins organization as to who the starting quarterback will be in 2023.

General Manager Chris Grier confirmed this in speaking with local media the day after their season finale loss to the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wild Card Round. Toa Tagovailoa He will resume his role as a regular starter for the team next season.

Tagovailoa has missed five games this season, including Sunday’s playoff game, after suffering two documented concussions. He was excellent when he played, however, racking up career highs in passing, passing touchdowns, completion percentage and yardage per attempt.

In Week 12, he had the third shortest prospect in the NFL to win the MVP award.

He had not cleared concussion protocol leading up to the Sunday game, and he did not do so until Monday afternoon. The Dolphins said they take things with him day in and day out but still expect him to return to his role when he is healthy.

“Twas the starting quarterback,” Greer said. “I don’t know how we can say that more clearly than we’ve been all this season… We expect him to work and talk to doctors and consultants and everyone we’ve dealt with. We fully expect him to be back after that year, 100% ready to go.”

Tagovailoa led Miami to a 3-0 start to the season, but then launched an NFL investigation when he hit the back of his head on the floor against the Bills in Week 3 and fumbled while trying to get back into the huddle. He was taken to the locker room and evaluated for what was initially described as a head injury, but an unaffiliated consultant neurologist along with the Dolphins team physician determined that the fumble resulted from a previously reported back injury. Tagovailoa returned to the game and led Miami to a 21-19 victory over Buffalo.

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He was not diagnosed with a concussion and was not placed on concussion protocol after the game, and started the Dolphins game against the Cincinnati Bengals four days later. Tagovailoa hit the back of his head on the floor again in that match, knocked him unconscious and was briefly hospitalized with a concussion. He would miss the team’s next two games, both losses, before returning against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 7 and promptly leading Miami to five straight wins.

That winning streak was soon followed by a five-game losing streak, and he suffered his second documented concussion after hitting his head in a similar manner against the Green Bay Packers in Week 16. Tagovailoa did not play for either of the latter two teams. Regular season games with Teddy Bridgewater And Skylar Thompson Starting from the New England Patriots and New York Jets game, respectively.

Grier said that despite his concussions, Tagovailoa wore one of the safest helmets used in the NFL this season. He also said that the team did not believe Tagovailoa was more likely to suffer concussions in the future.

“I think from what our doctors and counselors we’ve talked to through the NFLPA, that’s not a true statement,” Greer said when asked. “I don’t think he’s more susceptible than anyone else… From all we’ve been told, that’s not a concern.”

The Dolphins face a May 1 deadline to exercise Tagovailoa’s fifth-year option on his rookie contract. Regarding his willingness to exercise the option or negotiate a long-term agreement, Greer said he believes “everything is on the table” for them moving forward.

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Financially, Miami is in a tough spot, as it is expected to enter the 2023 season with about $9 million over the salary cap. The team has decisions to make on the two impending free agents Mike GesickiAnd Eric RoweAnd Rahim Mostert And Nick Needhamamong others.

“We’ve always had flexibility and we’ve done a lot of work to make sure we keep that,” Greer said. “What it is now is not what it will be at the start of the season. We will continue our process here to assess everything.”

The Dolphins will also have to decide on defensive tackle Christian Wilkinswho is entering the final year of his rookie contract.

The 2019 first-round draft set career highs in passes defended, tackles and tackles for a loss, but he said he’s not worried about his contract status.

“I’m not paying attention to it. I’m not in control of it,” he said. “It’s up to the powers that be… But, as I said, I control what I can control, I do what I can on the field. If I do what I can do around the building and things like that, then ‘everyone will take care of himself’.”