Dolphins rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson will start Sunday’s regular-season finale against the New York Jets and veteran Teddy Bridgewater will serve as backup, if possible, coach Mike McDaniel said Friday.
Thompson, the seventh-round pick from Kansas State, said he doesn’t need to do anything out of character for the Dolphins to win. If the Dolphins win and Buffalo beats New England, the Dolphins are in the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
“You know, like, that’s one thing I’ve been telling myself all week is I don’t have to be be a hero,” he said. “I’ve just got to be Skylar Thompson and that’s what I’m excited to go do is to go out there, smile, have fun, and play the game that I love.”
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (concussion) has been ruled out and hasn’t practiced as he is still in concussion protocol, McDaniel said.
Recently-signed quarterback Mike Glennon might be available to serve as a backup or No. 3 quarterback on Sunday. Glennon would have to be elevated from the practice squad.
It’s unclear whether the Dolphins would keep both Bridgewater, who is recovering from a dislocated little finger on his right (throwing) hand, and Glennon on the active game-day roster with Thompson as the starter.
For the season, Thompson is 40 of 74 (54.1%) for 382 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions and a 56.2 passer rating.
“For me to get this opportunity, [and] seeing my guys Tua, Teddy deal with some injury, for me to get this opportunity, that’s never how you want to draw it up, how it happened,” Thompson said. “But unfortunately that’s how things have been shaped this year and I’ve got a great opportunity here, something I’ve always worked for and dreamed for my whole life, and put a lot of time in this game to get to this point, and to see it kind of play out this way is very exciting.”
Armstead to be a game-day decision
Pro Bowl left tackle Terron Armstead (toe/hip/knee/pectoral) is listed as doubtful on Friday’s injury report and McDaniel said he’ll be a game-day decision. Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard (knee) and edge-rusher Bradley Chubb (hand/ankle) are listed as questionable, but McDaniel said he’s optimistic they’ll play.
Wide receiver/punt returner Cedrick Wilson Jr. (hip) is doubtful, opening the door for another punt returner such as wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Offensive tackle Kendall Lamm (ankle) is also listed as doubtful.
Bridgewater (knee/finger), fullback Alec Ingold (thumb) and safety Eric Rowe (quad) are listed as questionable.
The Jets will start veteran quarterback Joe Flacco because Mike White, who attended University School, is sidelined with a rib injury.
Armstead absence hurts
The Dolphins are 1-3 in games in which Armstead misses due to injury or doesn’t finish due to injury.
Armstead, a team captain, one of the team’s best players and someone who helps other offensive linemen in team meetings during the week, is in danger of not playing Sunday. But he’s contributing.
“We see Terron every day,” offensive coordinator Frank Smith said. “He’s in every meeting. He’s always actively participating, making sure he communicates with the guys. Not having him out there obviously is always challenging, but we’re relying on the guys that are stepping up in his place or in his stead – play on words.”
With Lamm ailing, Armstead would likely be replaced by Greg Little if he can’t play. Armstead’s presence would be missed in the run game as well as pass protection.
“Anytime you don’t have one of your better players in there, there’s going to be an effect on everything – run, protections, mentality, attitude,” running backs coach Eric Studesville said. “He’s a captain of this team for a reason, so I think anytime that he’s out of there, something is missing.”
If the QB carousel spins again…
Neither Thompson nor Bridgewater has started and finished a game for the Dolphins this season, as injuries have interrupted their three starts. It’s a disruptive thing to change quarterbacks mid-game due to injury, but if it happens Sunday, the Dolphins think they’ll be prepared.
“It’s probably more challenging just the nature of they’re controlling cadences, they’re controlling rhythms of the ball being snapped,” Smith said of inserting a different quarterback during a game.
“The communication in the huddle is a little different from all of them. So there’s little minor things that go that you’re just getting used to in the course of a game. But…we’re professionals — everyone, us coaches, players —and just trying to make sure that if there are in-game adjustments, if that’s with personnel, making sure that we do in our preparation trying to get guys enough work, timing, hours together.”