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Dolphins name Mike White backup quarterback behind Tua Tagovailoa

After a preseason long position battle to earn the second-string quarterback position, Mike White has claimed the role over Skylar Thompson.

Atlanta Falcons v Miami Dolphins Photo by Bryan Cereijo/Getty Images

Miami Dolphins quarterback Mike White will serve as the team’s backup behind Tua Tagovailoa, head coach Mike McDaniel told the media on Monday. The announcement comes after a training camp and preseason position battle between White and Skylar Thompson. All three quarterbacks remain on the team’s 53-man roster, with Thompson likely to be listed as inactive on gamedays, but available under the NFL’s new emergency quarterback rules.

The league will allow a third quarterback to dress for the game, but can only be used if the top two quarterbacks on the roster are both injured in the game. He has to be on the 53-man roster, keeping the team from using a practice squad elevation for the purpose, and, if either of the top two quarterbacks is deemed cleared to return to the game, the emergency quarterback must head back to the bench.

“This was a difficult one,” McDaniel said when asked who would be the backup quarterback and why. “I informed them late last week we will be going with Mike White as the backup to start the season. Feel super fortunate in our situation. It was kind of what we were hoping for. We’ve learned the hard way you need available players on your roster, just in general, and I thought Mike White and Skylar competed all the way until the last rep and when it really came down to it, I thought they both made just cases. For our football team, and really adhering to exactly what a backup quarterback needs to do, they’ll all be active each day, but to be able to understand our system in such a short period of time that Mike White did, and the command he really exudes in the huddle. You are really solving an imperfect puzzle as a backup quarterback where you don’t get any of the reps during the week and you have to master your situation, your craft, rep-less. I think we are relying on Mike White’s veteran experience and really all the growth he showed this offseason, I feel pretty comfortable with that.”

Miami struggled with injuries to their quarterbacks last year. Tagovailoa was forced to miss playing time due to multiple concussions. Teddy Bridgewater, Miami’s number two quarterback in 2022, also missed time for a potential head injury and due to a broken finger. Thompson, a seventh-round draft pick in 2022, appeared in seven games, starting two of them, last year for the Dolphins, tallying 534 passing yards on a 57.1 percent completion rate with one touchdown and three interceptions. He also started the team’s playoff game against the Buffalo Bills, throwing for 220 yards on 18-for-45 passing with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Thompson threw for 396 yards on a 64.5 percent completion rate with three touchdowns and four interceptions in the 2023 preseason.

White joined the Dolphins this year as a free agent signing, agreeing to a two-year, $8 million contract. He was originally a fifth-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2018, spending one season there before being a roster cut at the end of the 2019 preseason. He joined the New York Jets during the 2019 regular season, then returned in 2020, spending most of the year on the practice squad with short-term elevations and a promotion making him available for games. He returned as the backup in 2021 and 2022. He appeared in eight games in those two seasons, starting seven of them, and tallied 2,145 passing yards on a 62.2 completion rate with eight touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

White was 9-for-14 for 85 yards with an interception in the preseason this year. He saw limited playing time after sustaining a concussion against the Houston Texans in the team’s second preseason game.

Miami kicks off the regular season on Sunday with a visit to the Los Angeles Chargers. The team will release a full depth chart this week, but we at least now know how the quarterbacks will stack up.