NFL

Dolphins HC McDaniel confirms Tagovailoa is preparing to start in Week 7

By Sports Desk October 17, 2022

The Miami Dolphins are preparing to have Tua Tagovailoa return as the team’s starting quarterback for their Week 7 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, head coach Mike McDaniel told reporters Monday.  

Tagovailoa resumed football activities last week and cleared concussion protocols on Saturday, but remained inactive during Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings.  

"The plan is for him to approach the game as the starter," McDaniel said. “He'll be able to get those reps on Wednesday… we felt really good about how he was able to get back on the field."

Tagovailoa last had a full week of practice in Week 3 and has been inactive since being carted off the field with a concussion on September 29.  

The Dolphins jumped out to a 3-0 start this season, and their third-year quarterback appeared on his way to a career year. Miami is 0-3 since, and McDaniel is hoping that having Tagovailoa under center again will help the team find its way back in the win column.  

"He's a captain. He's a captain for a reason, and as I've told you guys from the onset, I think he's a very, very good player at that position," McDaniel said. "So very good players, they definitely give people a boost – not because of what other people aren't but more just because he is who he is.  

"So he's a strong fabric of this team, and that's exciting when you get to go play with one of your brothers, which is why the team will be excited, and it will be exciting." 

Tagovailoa’s first injury of the season came on September 25 when he took a hit from Buffalo Bills linebacker Matt Milano and appeared to hit his head on the ground. He stumbled when he got up and was immediately taken to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion.  

He returned to the game shortly thereafter and was not in the concussion protocol the following week, despite questions about why he was allowed to return to the game after displaying motor impairment.   

Just four days later, Tagovailoa was slammed to the turf by Cincinnati Bengals lineman Josh Tupou in a startling scene that has left many to question the NFL's efforts to minimize head and neck injuries, and led to the league altering their concussion protocol to prevent a similar situation from happening again.

Both injuries occurred after Tagovailoa extended plays outside the pocket.

"There's risks in this game and you've got to be able to control the controllables," McDaniel said. "One thing for him is you love his competitive nature, but there is a time in a play where you have to kind of concede, and that's where he's kind of been focusing on because it's something that's not natural to him.

"He wants to break every tackle, and he doesn't like when plays don't work. Well, sometimes they won't. 

"So that's something that he's mindful of, and I think that that's a consistency of all the really great quarterbacks that you think of, the guys that you look up to, the guys that kind of set forth the example of how to play the position, they do find ways to be available.

"Part of that is that concession, but that is – all things considered, that's probably a good problem to have in terms of a competitor. You just need to be able to understand your importance to the team and how sometimes the best play you can make is a throwaway."

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