For the first year of Tua Tagovailoa’s career, he shared a locker room with NFL fan-favorite Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The veteran started the season with the rookie starting for the first time in Week 7 against the Los Angeles Rams, a game that Miami would win 28-17. The rest of the season was interesting, with Fitzpatrick and Tagovailoa switching back and forth at points.
In 2021, Tagovailoa took over as the full-time starter and Fitzpatrick signed with the Washington Commanders (Football Team at the time). Fitzpatrick suffered a season-ending injury in the season opener and has since retired. For 2022, he’s joined Amazon’s pre-game crew, where he’ll be dissecting the play of quarterbacks all over the league.
This week, he joined “Pardon My Take” and was asked to talk about what Tagovailoa does better than any other quarterback in the league. Fitzpatrick took this time to delve into his strengths and weaknesses, as well as what it is that’s holding him back from being an elite, top-10 player at the position.
“If you’re a top-10 quarterback, you have to have at least one trait that is absolutely special,” Fitzpatrick said. “Something that you can do that really nobody else can do… With Tua, it’s not the arm strength. It’s not the ability to run. It’s not the ability to scramble or get out of trouble, so what is it? People would say ‘well, he’s a winner.’ Tyreek Hill says he’s the most accurate quarterback I’ve ever seen.
“When I first saw Tua, what popped out to me, because it’s hard for a young quarterback to come in and do this, the anticipation and accuracy. Those are the things that he has to be elite at, and I think that he’s very very good at. Very accurate and can anticipate.
“The problem is sometimes you have to create, and he’ll be able to scramble and get out of trouble and get you five yards, but he’s not going to be able to scramble around, escape the pocket and make the big plays down the field. So, he has to take what he has that’s elite, his accuracy, and hopefully, as he gets better, his decision-making. He has to be the best in the NFL at it because he’s limited in some of those other ways.”
Fitzpatrick had a vantage point of Tagovailoa that not many have, as he saw him in every practice and in the meeting rooms for a full year. Since then, he’s been able to watch him like the rest of us.
However, most would probably agree with this assessment. Tagovailoa is limited in ways, but there are things that he can do to prove a lot of people wrong this season.