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Analyzing Tua

By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.

You knew it was going to happen. Just hours after the Miami Dolphins had their playoff hopes dashed, the skeptics came out in force to throw shade on rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa. Some are even questioning the former Saint Louis School star’s future with the team. True, Tua had a horrible outing against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, throwing 3 costly interceptions, including a disastrous pick-six. But the entire team played miserably in all phases of the game.

Here are some of the comments we’ve found from around the Web concerning Tua and his future with the Dolphins:

♦ “The Dolphins will hear plenty of questions over whether they have their quarterback of the future and whether it will be prudent to consider another one in the draft. It’s too soon to bury Tagovailoa, especially when the offense around him was depleted most of the season, but Tagovailoa didn’t do much to eliminate those questions. Herbert’s success, after he was drafted one spot behind Tagovailoa, will also hang over Tagovailoa and the Dolphins. The pressure is mounting for Tagovailoa’s second season already. It’ll be a long time before anyone shakes the memory of what happened Sunday.” – Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports

♦ “Before the season I said that I was ‘worried’ about Tua. I watched Herbert’s size, arm, and mobility, and I see Burrow’s ‘flexible’, Tony Romo-ad libbing, and ‘make it up’ coolness, and Tua is very ‘system’ and very ‘safe.’ Yes, he will be accurate but I worry about him. He had 5.7 yards per attempt yesterday – that’s playing it SAFE. A lot of young quarterbacks are hard to evaluate because they go to bad teams, but with Tua, it’s different because the coach appears to be great, the GM aced the Draft and free agency, the culture, the momentum, the defense, and the special teams are all excellent. The offensive line and the weapons are not great but they seemed to work for Ryan Fitzpatrick, whose yards per attempt is 8th in the league, where Tua’s is 30th. Josh Allen and Tua were on the same field yesterday and when you look at the quantifiable ‘IT’ stuff like size, mobility, confidence, arm, and swagger, it’s a 4.0 student and a 2.8 student. It’s ‘B-‘ to ‘A+.’” – Colin Cowherd

♦ “At this point for the Dolphins, every other question must take a backseat toward making sure Tagovailoa is the answer. They must answer it now, not in 2022. The Dolphins are in the unique position of rising in the standings (10-6) while soaring in the draft order (third, via the trade with Houston). If the Dolphins haven’t convinced themselves their franchise QB is already here, there will not be another golden opportunity in the near future to draft him — one would hope.” – Hal Habib, Palm Beach Post

♦ “At the end of the day, Tagovailoa is still a rookie and everyone who is concerned about his play needs to remember that. He still has tremendous upside and with quality weapons and more creative play-calling, could absolutely be the franchise quarterback for this team for the next decade. Games, as we saw from Tagovailoa on Sunday, were bound to happen in a rookie campaign and while it came at a terrible time, there is still a lot to be excited about with their rookie.” – Nick Belotto, PhinPhanatic.Com

♦ “Here’s all you know from this season: When journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick ran the offense, it ran well enough. When Tua ran the offense, it clunked and clanked and looked like it belonged under Friday night lights. That was acceptable in October when Tua took over for Fitzpatrick. By January, when this franchise invested 9 starts in him, it raised questions about where it’s all going. The line of former NFL types doubting Tagovailoa’s talent is snaking out the door now, too. Former general manager Mike Lombardi doesn’t see an “elite trait” in Tua. Former quarterbacks Phil Simms, who didn’t like him pre-draft, and ESPN’s Matt Hasselbeck say he can’t see the whole field. Former coach Rex Ryan added a reason for visual problem on ESPN on Sunday: He’s too small to see his receivers.” – Dave Hyde, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

♦ “In a perfect world, they would have gotten more out of Tua, although it’s important to remember the 22-year-old is barely a year removed from a career-threatening hip injury. He was also operating under tough circumstances after a coronavirus-impacted 2020 offseason. Is it somewhat of a shame he didn’t make waves immediately like fellow top-10 pick Justin Herbert? Sure, but there’s no way to call him a bust after nine starts, he still has an All-Pro-level ceiling, and his team is positioned to do everything possible to make life easier on him with more support and insurance entering 2021.” – Brad Gagnon, Bleacher Report

♦ “The smart play for the Dolphins would be to realize that they must use their time and capital this offseason to lean further into what makes Tagovailoa tick, not to spend hard-earned capital on a situation that will only continue to muddy his future. Let what is happening in Philadelphia be not a lesson in preparedness, but a case study in how messy adding another young quarterback into the fold can make a previously stable situation. Tagovailoa was running an offense in 2020 designed by Chan Gailey, a coach who has a long history with Fitzpatrick and a tendency to favor conservative game plans. And while this may sound like simply a long list of excuses, it’s meant to be a long list of counterweights to the inevitably hefty opinion that somehow, for some reason, Sunday exposed a player for not having that nebulous “right stuff.” There is a much larger sample size of good than bad. Sometimes bad games happen, which, especially in this context, is unfortunate. The only thing worse would be making an absurdly reactionary decision because of it.” – Conor Orr, SI.Com

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