Skylar Thompson gives Dolphins great chance to win
MIAMI GARDENS — Teddy Bridgewater can't throw a football beyond a few yards and Tua Tagovailoa isn't ready to practice. Yes, the Dolphins signed quarterback Mike Glennon on Wednesday.
But in all likelihood, it will be seventh-round rookie Skylar Thompson starting against the Jets on Sunday, with the entire season on the line.
And Thompson is plenty talented enough and plenty confident enough to lead Miami to victory.
"Dude is fearless," Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said Wednesday.
After leading the entire NFL with a preseason passer rating of 138.4, Skylar has a regular season passer rating of 56.2, with extensive action against the Jets, Vikings and Patriots.
But that number is misleading.
Thompson, the 247th overall pick of the last NFL draft, out of Kansas State, has shown promise.
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Against a very good Jets defense, Thompson has a few things going for him on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.
Thompson has a strong arm. Thompson has moxie. And Thompson has mobility.
"He has an athletic component to his game that sneaks up on people because he does most of his work in the pocket," McDaniel said.
What Thompson showed on Sunday in relief during a loss at New England was hopeful.
Thompson was off-target on a costly interception. But he also completed third-down passes to Raheem Mostert and Jaylen Waddle and a fourth-down pass to Tyreek Hill.
Then there was a third-down scramble for a potential first down that was negated by a Hill illegal motion penalty. There was also a nicely extended play and touchdown pass to Mike Gesicki.
"A lot of encouraging stuff," Thompson said as part of brief comments Wednesday. "The interception is tough, but I felt like as the game went on, I was getting a rhythm there and made some plays."
If Thompson takes the majority of starter reps this week, that should be a huge benefit.
The Dolphins selected Thompson just ahead of the 49ers' pick of quarterback Brock Purdy of Iowa State.
Thompson and Purdy are friends. They were Big 12 rivals and roommates at a college all-star game.
"He's a great, great person, great guy," Thompson said. "Not at all surprised that he's having success. When we played San Fran, we got to talk a little bit about the offensive schemes and just how that works."
The Dolphins' offense is built on 49ers' principles. Purdy is 4-0 as a 49ers' starter and 5-0 including his relief victory against Miami. Purdy has 10 touchdowns and three interceptions and if Purdy can gain a cult-hero following in The Bay, why can't South Florida Skylar?
"When I see Brock Purdy, I see Skylar," Dolphins receiver Trent Sherfield said. "If he does start this week, he's just got to go out and prove it and I think he'll be just fine."
Thompson has been preparing as though he's the starter, even though he's started only once this season.
For example, after some practices this year, Thompson has worked with Sherfield and rookie Erik Ezukanma.
"We would go through the whole play script and the game plan and everything like that," Sherfield said. "So that's what stands out to me, you know, a young guy, a new quarterback, and that speaks volumes to his preparation can be a lot, even when it's not, you know, either in the game plan or even dressing for that matter."
The Dolphins have had terrible luck with quarterback injuries this season. Even Thompson played with a damaged and bloody fingernail last Sunday. Tagovailoa is concussed and Bridgewater has a broken pinkie finger.
"We haven't had a game yet that wasn't started by Tua that was finished by the same quarterback," McDaniel said.
Hence, the Glennon signing.
Glennon has 40 games played and 31 starts, but Miami surely hopes he's not needed against New York.
Thompson gives the Dolphins the best chance to win. He was hand-picked by McDaniel and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell as a fit for this offense.
Thompson showed his upside with a preseason that included five touchdowns and no interceptions.
Some fans even suggested he should compete with Tua for a #SkylarSZN.
Well, it's a one-game season now, and Miami, despite suddenly shifting to a Vegas underdog, has a legitimate shot with Skylar. Not your typical rookie, Skylar is 25 years old and doesn't seem to get rattled.
McDaniel noted that Skylar likes to play with a deliberate nature. But when things go sideways, McDaniel notes he does not "get panicky."
"If he is the guy, I'm very confident because I base my opinions on what I see," McDaniel said. "And what I see is a guy that can play NFL-caliber football and whose teammates believe in him."
Joe Schad can be reached at email@example.com
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: If Dolphins' Skylar Thompson starts, not Tua or Teddy, Miami can win