Dolphins offensive coaches discuss what they saw from Tua, express confidence in Bridgewater – The Mercury News

There’s been a somber mood across Miami Dolphins facilities this week, specifically emanating from usually lighthearted coach Mike McDaniel on down through the team, when it comes to reaction to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and his second concussion suffered this season.

Two other coaches on the Dolphins’ staff closest to Tagovailoa, offensive coordinator Frank Smith and quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell, offered their perspective on what they saw from the third-year quarterback between a second half in the loss to the Green Bay Packers where he didn’t look like himself, throwing three fourth-quarter interceptions, and Monday, when it was identified Tagovailoa should get checked out by doctors.

“I think the process really probably started on Monday morning,” Bevell said Thursday. “For me, it was actually the night, because I go back and watch the game Sunday night.

“I just saw some things in the game [film] and then talked to Tua the next morning, and basically, from that information and the information that we had talking to [McDaniel], as well, thought it was important for him to be able to see the docs.”

Did Bevell notice Tagovailoa seemed off when talking to him?

“I don’t know what ‘off’ means, but I would just say there was enough information there that we thought it was important for him to be able to go see the doctor,” he said.

Bevell declined to speculate on whether the concussion, believed to have occurred on a play late in the first half where Tagovailoa’s head banged against the ground following a routine hit as he delivered a pass, caused any of the three interceptions.

Smith, during the game Sunday, found the three interceptions to be uncharacteristic, but he couldn’t pin it down to being influenced by concussion symptoms.

“There were some things where you’re going, ‘Huh,’” the offensive coordinator said, “but I mean, as far as my in-game conversations with him at that point in the game, I was locked in on other stuff. I didn’t really have any conversations with him in the game to be able to gather any information.

“My conversations with him weren’t really enough to warrant anything. After the game, I was the same thing as everyone when I found out. I was like, ‘Ah, interesting.’”

Smith said he didn’t speak directly with Tagovailoa on Monday when McDaniel initially questioned the quarterback upon reviewing his film from the Sunday game.

Tagovailoa has been at team facilities this week but mostly with the medical staff. The team is taking an approach of not putting pressure on him to think about anything beyond what he has to do on a given day. Tagovailoa has been involved in team meetings but not positional sessions with quarterbacks.

Through limited interactions with him, Bevell said Tagovailoa “seems to be okay.”

Smith relayed a similar sentiment as McDaniel did on Wednesday — when the usually talkative coach offered a rare one-word answer to detail what he felt about Tagovailoa’s concussion situation, “terrible” — but the offensive coordinator also has an eye on the present opportunity with backup Teddy Bridgewater in line to start against the New England Patriots this Sunday.

“There’s a human element when you invest so much with these guys,” Smith said. “You get to know them so well on a personal level. In a football season, in many ways, you get to know the players and spend more time with them than you do your own family, so the impact of injuries sometimes hits real hard.

“Ultimately, when you have injuries at any position, you’re always excited for the opportunity to see the rest of your team respond.”

And Bridgewater is a veteran with 64 career starts to his credit, who has come on in relief of Tagovailoa after a previous concussion in Cincinnati and relieving Skylar Thompson in the Oct. 16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

“I think you look at Teddy’s whole body of work. Teddy’s been in the NFL for a long time,” Bevell said. “He’s a cagey veteran player. He’s seen a lot of defenses. He’s played a lot of football, so I’m really excited about the things that he can bring to us. It’s really important that we do things that will help him be successful as well so I think there’s been a good collaborative effort, working together to make sure that he’s going to be able to be put in the best situation to help our offense be successful. But there’s a good history there of him playing really good football.”

Added Smith: “With his veteran presence, his knowledge of the game and his communication with us as staff and as teammates, we feel very confident in what concepts he likes, his understanding of the offense. We know, when Teddy’s called upon, he’s going to be able to do what we need him to do.”


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