There is a hope surrounding the Miami Dolphins despite a three-game losing streak. That hope is embodied in quarterback Tua Tagovailoa who is returning to the starting lineup after missing the last two weeks with a concussion. The league leader in passer rating and yards per attempt average, Tagovailoa coming back to Miami’s offense should allow the team to open up the playbook and return to looking like the explosive unit they were early in the season.
Tagovailoa’s return has buoyed the confidence of Dolphins fans. Prior to Tagovailoa’s injury, 99 percent of Dolphins fans were saying they were confident in the direction of the team, an all-time high in our SB Nation Reacts fan polls. After the concussion, the fan confidence dropped to 89 percent, then down to 79 percent. Now, with the news that Tagovailoa appears to be healthy and ready to get back on the field, the fans are starting to once again believe in the team. Our latest SB Nation Reacts fan poll shows 82 percent of the fans confident in the direction of the Dolphins.
It may not be the all-time high, but it at least stops the fall and shows fans are ready to see the team return to winning this Sunday in a primetime game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This week, we asked two additional questions as well. After two-and-a-half weeks of seeing the Dolphins’ backup quarterbacks play in place of Tagovailoa, there are concerns about the offense when Miami’s starter is not available. With the offense struggling to score points over the past couple of weeks, we asked who fans think should be the team’s backup quarterback behind Tagovailoa: veteran Teddy Bridgwater, listed as the number two passer on the depth chart, or Skylar Thompson, the team’s seventh-round draft picks this year.
The answer easily came back in favor of Thompson, with 86 percent of the fans saying they would prefer the rookie over Bridgewater. The Dolphins offense has really struggled with Bridgewater under center, with too many passes at or near the line of scrimmage and little explosiveness being shown. Thompson has had a little more rhythm with the offense and, if nothing else, he would be getting NFL experience that could benefit him and the team down the road.
Interestingly, after the Week 4 injury to Tagovailoa, we asked a similar question, trying to decide who should be starting in the place of Tagovailoa. At that time, 64 percent of the fans believed Bridgewater should start over Thompson. The last two games clearly changed that assessment.
Finally, we returned to the question of the postseason for the Dolphins. We see a fall here in our poll results. Back in Week 4, this question was asked and 85 percent of Dolphins fans saw the team being able to make the playoffs even with the injury to Tagovailoa. Now, with Tagovailoa returning from that injury, only 75 percent of the fans think Miami is headed toward the postseason.
Make sure you check in next Tuesday as the next SB Nation Reacts polls are released.