This image is still in my head. I went to sleep last night and the loss to the Bengals didn’t bother me in the least. All I could think about was that poor kid lying on the ground with a potentially devastating injury. Thankfully, Tua Tagovailoa was released from the trauma center after just a couple of hours and traveled home with his team. Sometimes you have to separate the humanity from the sport. I wanted us to win this game yet I couldn’t stop thinking about Tua. I saw the game on Sunday, saw him stumble. I was told that an independent neurologist examined Tua and he was cleared of being concussed. I believe this 100%, not everything that happens with the Miami Dolphins is a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream for Gods sake! What happened Sunday has zero to do with what happened last night. This is a violent sport, and that hit last night was evidence of that. It wasn’t dirty per se, it was a physical play that used to be commonplace in any and every NFL game but sometimes the lions bite the gladiators, it happens. Listening to WQAM in Miami, all kinds of “experts” are chiming in on the Tua situation and it really sickens me. I know Ross made the bed and now he has to sleep in it, but this is just too much.
Without any real timetable on QB Tua Tagovailoa’s return, Teddy Bridgewater will be the QB going forward for however long Tua is unavailable. It’s a good thing we’re 3-1 and already 2-0 in divisional play, including knocking off top dog Buffalo. Teddy Bridgewater will get all the snaps and will be better prepared to be at the helm and lead this team. The Jets will have their young QB ( Zach Wilson) back so we won’t be facing Joe Flacco. CB Byron Jones should be back for this game, but will he be opposite X? CB Xavien Howard didn’t finish the game and if you watched the game, I’m not entirely sure he have started it. He clearly is not healthy and was doing his best, but he doesn’t have the speed right now to compete with teams best receivers. Whether or not he can rebound after a long rest, the Dolphins now have 10 days before they play 2 Sundays from now, remains to be seen.
The game last night was pretty odd. We had 7 more yards on offense than the Bengals and Dolphins RB Raheem Mostert (15-69) out rushed RB Joe Mixon (24-61) by 8 yards with 9 less carries. We actually had a good chance to take the lead down 20-15 and were driving to score when Teddy Bridgewater threw his first interception of the season with the Dolphins at the Cincy 29 yard line. We actually had a 15-14 lead as the 3rd quarter ended. Despite all that, there are major concerns for me going forward with this defense. We simply cannot get to the QB rushing just 4 or even 5. It’s shocking to me that this is the case because I expected so much more from LB Jaelan Phillips, especially when we added Melvin Ingram to the mix, and Ingram has been playing so well. Phillips has 6 total tackles and 1 sack through 4 games while playing 70% of the defensive snaps. Ogbah has also been neutralized and his stats mirror Phillips, 7 total tackles, 1 sack. With our secondary incomplete, the one on one man to man coverage is not sustainable with Keion Crossen, Nik Needham and Kader Kohou. All of these guys have done admirable work, and I’m not belittling any of them, but we had pro bowl caliber guys like Xavien Howard and Byron Jones back there, so it’s an awful lot to ask of these young players to cover the NFL’s best one on one with no help, because a safety is needed to blitz to provide pass rush help. The defense was built on the foundation of having the best cover corners back there, so you can’t substitute a couple of UDFA’s and expect the same results.
I think our offense is going to be fine, whether it’s Teddy Bridgewater, Tua Tagovailoa or even Skylar Thompson. I would like us to run the ball more, I liked Mostert getting more carries, you give that guy a little crease and he’s gone. Once again though, as I’ve said before, I don’t like our short yardage offense one bit. Not one of our backs can push the pile, we aren’t getting any push up front, and that includes C Connor Williams, LG Liam Eichenberg and RG Robert Hunt. Cincy defense blew up each and every short yardage play which thoroughly disgusted me. Good thing we have a fullback? Can we use him, and can he give a running back a crease? Like how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop, we may never know.
At 3-1, I should be elated, all of us should, and it’s not like last night’s team loss was so disheartening. I think to me it’s the uncertainty of Tua’s health, and my concerns about our defense that have me feeling down, and mostly it’s Tua for me. I feel so bad for the kid. Finally, the kid has someone in his corner, and he balled out with tons of confidence, and now this. As we all know, concussions seem to manifest more concussions. We’ve seen it happen with so many players in the NFL, I just hope Tua doesn’t become one of those players and become one of those statistics. Teddy Bridgewater has had some bad luck in his own right and now takes the reins of a very potent offense. I’m happy for him however long it lasts, and hope he prospers and enjoys success here in Miami.