The soccer destiny of Tua Tagovailoa at all times got here with a second, shadow opponent past the front-and-center pondering and throwing crucial for him to grow to be the Miami Dolphins’ franchise quarterback.
Or perhaps well being at all times was Tagovailoa’s first opponent.
Maybe him being drafted coming off of main hip surgical procedure was a message. Maybe the video of him being knocked to the bottom Sunday in opposition to the Green Bay Packers and slamming the again of his head on the turf both reveals the any-given-Sunday hazard to all NFL quarterbacks or the added layer of hazard to a smaller, slower quarterback like Tagovailoa.
This is the third time Tagovailoa’s head has bounced off the bottom this season, his second journey to concussion protocol and the prime thought as he’s pulled away from the season is for godspeed and good well being.
Let’s begin there. The concussion risks are identified and apparent on this period and the hazards go far past a Sunday scoreboard as Tagovailoa, docs and the Dolphins nicely know. They’ll resolve what this implies for his future, each this season and past. There’s no must debate that now.
But it’s not simply Tagovailoa who has some pondering to do. The Dolphins should too. That begins within the short-term and the plain choice for coach Mike McDaniel to begin veteran Teddy Bridgewater on Sunday in New England. McDaniel mentioned on Monday that Bridgewater would get a lot of the follow performs this week, however stopped wanting formally saying he would begin in opposition to the Patriots.
With the playoffs on the road, with the sport on the street, Bridgewater is such the plain choose it wouldn’t be value any debate if McDaniel hadn’t picked rookie Skylar Thompson earlier this season. That was when Bridgewater couldn’t follow, although, as he was in concussion protocol the identical time as Tagovailoa.
There’s a long-term query for the Dolphins right here, too, and also you may go the aspirin throughout whereas asking this query with no actual reply: Can you belief Tagovailoa’s well being to grow to be the participant this workforce wants? Even earlier than trusting he’s that participant?
It was a typical NFL play on Sunday that possible did in Tagovailoa, so widespread nobody on the recreation observed it. The video reveals him slamming to the bottom whereas passing close to the top of the primary half, his head bouncing off the turf, and nobody paying any consideration as he moved on to the following play.
Until Monday afternoon, that’s.
“As much as I know, he’s displayed [concussion] symptoms and they enacted the protocol, which is all that needs to happen before you have to, by the player’s health, go through that whole process as they should,” McDaniel mentioned. “So it’s a little early. Like I said, I only found out a couple hours ago.”
If there’s no readability of the place this goes, there’s a transparent before-and-after take a look at Tagovailoa’s play on Sunday that might clarify his foggy head.
First half: Nine completions in 12 makes an attempt for 229 yards, a landing and a 144.4 passer score.
Second half: Seven of 13 passes accomplished for 81 yards, three interceptions and a 33.3 score.
Sunday’s downside might have been that straightforward for Tagovailoa — besides it’s not easy. Not in any respect. Not when you think about how recovering from a concussion, if it’s identified that, is trickier transferring ahead than recovering from a knee damage or shoulder downside. And a second concussion? Or extra?
Where this leaves the Dolphins (8-7) is anybody’s guess. They haven’t any first-round choose to take one other quarterback in subsequent yr’s NFL draft. They haven’t any cash to exit and purchase a beginning one for subsequent season. Bridgewater is as stable a backup plan as you may have, however that doesn’t reply the massive query.
You know, the one about discovering a franchise quarterback?
In November, Tagovailoa made progressive strides in 5 consecutive wins to be thought-about “The Man”. In December, he regressed within the 4 consecutive losses to the purpose all that feelgood was misplaced. And now he’s damage.
Now the Dolphins go to New England (7-8) attempt to win with Bridgewater. That’s not a foul proposition. The harder problem shall be transferring on with Tagovailoa, figuring out he’s simply one other widespread NFL hit away from struggling one other head damage.
Look, it occurs. Dan Marino was concussed within the Dolphins’ playoff recreation at Seattle in 1999 to the purpose he doesn’t keep in mind main the profitable drive. Troy Aikman performed a near-perfect recreation for Dallas within the 1994 NFC Championship recreation regardless of struggling a concussion to the purpose he doesn’t keep in mind the sport.
That’s the NFL. Or it may be. It’s time to fret about Tagovailoa’s well being. It’s time to marvel, too, concerning the Dolphins’ franchise quarterback. How the 2 keep collectively, or come collectively, or simply work collectively, is the concern for everybody transferring forward.