Skylar Thompson was not good in Miami’s 40-17 loss vs. the New York Jets. Thompson knew it. And so did Miami Dolphins’ head coach Mike McDaniel. Here’s what Coach McDaniel said to Thompson after last week’s performance.
The one thing I said to him is that you take stuff, you learn stuff, but you also have to understand what the situation was last week....There were some things that he was definitely happy with. He definitely left the game feeling like, just like he thought in the preseason, that he’s an NFL player. But also, I made sure to (say), ‘Hey, look at these 10 plays that I know you’re not happy with. OK, what’s this common denominator?’ There was some footwork stuff, there was some timing stuff, all of which you can kind of connect to that was his first live full speed rep of that footwork, that concept, that progression. ‘So, this week, you’re going to be afforded all those full speed reps. Understand that game is that game – take it for what it is. You got, basically, your first start out of the way. This week, you have a great opportunity to hone-in on the details of all the things you’ll be asked to do on Sunday. So move forward with that and gain confidence with that because if that’s the worst that we’ll see, which you talk about controlling the controllables and if you’re going into a game, especially as a rookie, completely blind without reps, if that’s the worst you’re going to do, we’re all right. So you should get confidence, in an ironic way, from that game that you, without a shadow of a doubt, can play up to your own personal standard
But no one would’ve been perfect in that situation.
For starters, the Dolphins were already without starting right tackle Austin Jackson — who, say what you will, is superior to Greg Little. The real punch to the gut was losing All-Pro Left Tackle, Terron Armstead.
Yes, he has been banged up all season with a toe injury, but even at 69% Armstead is superior to what we’ve seen in years past. Unfortunately, on Sunday, his toe injury got worse, and he was unable to continue. So he stayed in New York to get his foot looked at. He’s back home now, but things don’t sound the most promising for Miami’s veteran left tackle.
And then, who could forget, two weeks ago — on prime time football — starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took one of the most brutal hits I’ve ever seen. He is still in concussion protocol (he’s getting better!), which meant Teddy Bridgewater would get the start for the Dolphins vs. the Jets — something many of us had only dreamed of at one point or another in our lifetime.
And then lightning struck twice — or so they say. #StumbleGate
New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner came in untouched on Miami’s first offensive snap, and with new protocols in place, the league was going to be extra cautious. (They also saw a stumble that never happened)
Bridgewater would not return and is currently in concussion protocols — without a concussion — according to head coach Mike McDaniel.
So, without Tagovailoa or Bridgewater, it was up to rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson to play all but one snap during Miami’s week five loss to the New York Jets. And for a 7th-round, third-string quarterback — who likely receives little IF ANY reps at all the starters — it was exactly what you expected.
Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly from Skylar Thompson’s NFL debut vs. the New York Jets
In his NFL debut, the preseason passing leader completed 19/33 passes (57.6%) for 199 yards and one interception.
It was a tough outing for the rookie quarterback, with a couple of nice passes sprinkled throughout. What was most impressive, and the one thing Thompson did show, was heart. He also had a big-time throw to Mike Gesicki down the seam — and should’ve had another to Tanner Conner that may have changed the entire outcome of Sunday’s game.
There also seemed to be a decent size of the playbook they had to remove during the game due to Thompson’s lack of reps in practice and what the offense was able to do with a third-string quarterback. It was less than ideal.
But don’t take my word for it — see for yourself. Here’s every dropback from Skylar Thompsons NFL debut vs. the New York Jets.
- 00:40 The play may have been called back due to a hold, but Thompson showed off the wheels on this play, something Mike McDaniel should utilize more this Sunday vs. the Vikings.
- 4:20 - Despite Jaylen Waddle getting tangled up with the defensive back, it looks like the ball hits Waddle on the hands. This is a solid throw from Thompson.
- 5:35 - Although the ball is a little late, I like this throw because Thompson is being hit as he lets this one rip. And despite it being thrown a little bit behind Cedric Wilson, he should’ve come down with the reception. Especially, with the defensive line slowly caving in.
- 6:15 - This may be one of Thompson’s best throws of the game. Perfect throw down the seam to Mike Gesicki, splitting the two safeties for a big chunk play. Nice touch on the throw, as well.
- Overall - Thompson showed heart and continued to battle through the final whistle. He may have been a bit hesitant, but he didn’t seem scared to take a chance when he saw his wide receivers in a favorable matchup. Furthermore, the game never looked too big for him. Thompson does an excellent job of seeing what the defense was doing and making the right reads — albeit a few were a little late. He looked like a rookie 7th-round draft pick and hopes to build on his performance in week 6.
- 1:43 - Thompson drops back to pass, and with only a three-man rush in his face, he senses phantom pressure and begins to get happy feet. The result is an impressive first-down conversion after a diving grab by Jaylen Waddle.
- 2:51 - The rookie 7th-round pick from Kansas State reads the coverage right but doesn’t put enough velocity on this throw, and D.J. Reed nearly picks it. Solid throw. I’d just like to see the ball come out of his hands a little faster.
- 3:14 - Bad throw behind his intended target for a near interception.
- 3:46 - Again, he does a good job of reading the defense and feeling the pocket collapse around him, but this is a first down if the ball is placed in the right location. This throw would’ve been completed with #1 at the helm.
- 4:05 - Eichenberg misses the defensive lineman on the stunt, and Thompson is brought down in the backfield for a loss. This could’ve been a big run play had Eichenberg put even a finger on the stunting defender.
- 4:41 - Thompson rips a nice pass to Tanner Conner down the seam, which is dropped. This would’ve set Miami up with favorable field position.
- 5:08 - This was when the entire game spiraled out of control. Thompson needs to do a better job of protecting the football. He appears to come off his first read way early (Sherfield at the bottom of the screen). By the time he recognizes the coverage, the ball is knocked out, and the Jets recover — setting up an easy touchdown.
- Overall - He was late with a bunch of throws; accuracy was off throughout the game. Occasionally, he sensed phantom pressure.
- 2:06 - Thompson is late with this throw. It’s in a poor location, and his arm is hit as the ball is let go, which allows Sauce Gardner to make a break on the ball. It was his first career interception. I think Tua rips this thing before Cracraft is out of his break for an easy completion at the sticks.
- 6:41 - Thompson tries to fit this ball deep to Cedric Wilson in the endzone, despite him being sandwiched in coverage. If he holds onto this ball another second, he may see the wide receiver crossing wide-open at the opponent’s 22-yard line.
- Overall - He needs to work on his poise in the pocket because way too many times, it seemed like he felt the pressure that may not have been there. He was rushing his throws and not trusting his eyes. Happy Feet. He would become gun-shy and pat the football when in some instances, he should’ve let it RIP!
One of the first things Thompson said on the podium after Sunday’s defeat was how excited he was to get back in the film room and see if what he saw on the field matched the game tape. He knew he had some good and a lot of bad; how he learns from some of those mistakes is what’s most important. Because, again, he’s a rookie quarterback.
“It’s hard to – I try not to make quick judgement on how I feel right after a game, because sometimes it’s different on tape than what we feel in the game. I just really try to hone in on my thoughts right now and what things looked like on the field to me every play and then try to go back and watch the film and try to correlate with my eyes, ‘Did I see this correctly? What could I have done differently on this play?’ There’s a lot to learn out there, I know that for sure. So, I’m excited to watch the tape and start improving on the things that I need to.”
This Sunday, Skylar Thompson gets his chance to prove to the world he’s learned from last Sunday’s mishaps. But most importantly, he belongs in the NFL. #InSkylarWeTrust
What were your thoughts on Skylar Thompson’s NFL debut vs. the New York Jets? What did you like? Dislike? Do you have faith in Thompson with a full week of practice under his belt? Or do you think the Dolphins are doomed without Tagovailoa and Bridgewater in the lineup? Let us know in the comments section below!