Simms' Top 40 QBs: No. 21, Tua Tagovailoa

Chris Simms explains to Ahmed Fareed that Tua Tagovailoa deserves credit for running the Miami offense perfectly, but explains that his below-average arm lands him outside the top 20 of Simms' QB rankings at No. 21.

Video Transcript

AHMED FAREED: Who is 21 this year though? That is the question that everyone wants to know the answer to.

CHRIS SIMMS: They all want to know this one, huh?


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CHRIS SIMMS: There were all like, I need to know who's 21. That's the one this year.

AHMED FAREED: You were drinking your coffee. So I was like, let me just give another line here.

CHRIS SIMMS: Another line, [INAUDIBLE] my way through.


CHRIS SIMMS: Here we go. OK. Start it up. Start the controversies.


CHRIS SIMMS: Here we go, number 21, Tua Tagovailoa from the Miami Dolphins.

AHMED FAREED: Outside of the top 20.

CHRIS SIMMS: It was a tough one here. Man, it was close. I mean, it's tough. Damn, this is-- like I told you, this 9 through 21 range, when I was going through this, at 22, whatever, it is tough this year. It really was. Right? I think the big thing with Tua runs that offense to a T. That's what I love about him. OK? He's runs it to a T. We know it's about dishing the ball, getting it out of your hands. He arguably has the quickest release in football. So that's where he's amazing. There's no doubt about that. That's one of the first things you notice, when you talk about positives, I go, man, getting the ball out of his hands. RPO, I think other than Rodgers, he's the best RPO quarterback in football too. And it's because of his ability just flick it and then has all these different arm angles to go along with it. So I love that.


But OK, his arm is below average for an NFL starter. And it doesn't create much on its own. And that's a real thing. And then, I know people don't want to hear that and all that. But there's kind of the good and the bad right off the bat as far as the headline on Tua there, Ahmed.

AHMED FAREED: Matt M, 33, 4, 8, 6, 3.

CHRIS SIMMS: --questions right here. I knew it. I'll just grill him right away. We need to put security on you.

AHMED FAREED: Leave Tua outside the top 15 and we will break you.

CHRIS SIMMS: Coming up here--

AHMED FAREED: Dolphins fans--

CHRIS SIMMS: 1 Blakeley Street Stamford, Connecticut. See you outside.


AHMED FAREED: But even they're saying, outside top 15. So even they're like, 13, 14, we're OK with that.

CHRIS SIMMS: You're right.

AHMED FAREED: There you go. I'm 15, now we fight. Rogue blue-- rogue blood wim-- our worm. And what is that? Is it Y-W-R-M? Rogue Blood Worm says, "only people that think Tua is good are Dolphins fans. Literally no team would want him if he was available." So we have the yin and the yang here.

CHRIS SIMMS: I like that. OK, way to go, Pete.

AHMED FAREED: Someone harsher-- harsher than we're going to be here.

CHRIS SIMMS: So Matt M334863, I mean, it sounds like you've been to jail maybe, and maybe that's why you want to break me, OK. I got a Rogue Blood Worm to be here to-- you got my back.


AHMED FAREED: Exactly. Just call up Rogue Blood.

CHRIS SIMMS: Rogue Blood Worm, well, he's got some tricks.

AHMED FAREED: Yeah, which one is scarier, the guy with the prison code on his name or the--

CHRIS SIMMS: Rogue Blood Worm sounds like he's got like some real scary crap going on. You don't want to mess with him, right? I don't want to play any pranks on him. What is he going to put in my bed at night if I'm asleep?

AHMED FAREED: You don't want to know. Yeah, these are both scary dudes right here, but we appreciate you chiming in on the Tua conversation. So let me be one. Let me give a point that maybe Matt M33-97 would give, OK, because you said no strong arm.



AHMED FAREED: Let me go-- let me go to this stat for you. All right, you're ready for this? I'm about to bust your narrative right here.

Completed air yards per completion, so every time you complete a pass, how far did the ball travel through the air. You know who was number one last year?


AHMED FAREED: Tua Tagovailoa. He was number one over your guy, Josh Allen. So I-- so take that, but I will say, you want me to read the rest of the top nine here?


AHMED FAREED: It was Tua over Josh Allen. Number three was Marcus Mariota. Four was Justin Fields. Five was Zach Wilson. Six was Taylor Heinicke. Seven was Derek Carr. Eight was Jacoby Brissett. And nine was Ryan Tannehill, where guys like Joe Burrow was 18, Patrick Mahomes was 20, Tom Brady was 29, and Justin Herbert was 32. He should have been higher, but so maybe this stat is not indicative of a quarterback who has a strong arm and is torching teams down the field.


CHRIS SIMMS: It's a stat that goes-- there's just so much layers and stuff to dive into there, right? I mean, the whole league is scared of Mahomes throwing it deep. So they-- we've complained for three years before, can they find a more short passing game. Everybody is 20 yards down the field, right? So that's why they had to do it. Everybody plays them that way. Tua, it's almost the opposite, right?

Wait, it's speed reversed, it's the Shanahan run game. That's pretty good. Oh, it's the screens and all of that. Oh gosh, we got to worry about all that. Oh, it's his quick RPOs. We got to get up there and stop all that. Oh, now we've put everybody up at the line of scrimmage to stop all that, oh, and now they have the fastest guy in football running down the middle of the field.

So there is that, let alone, hey, fake this, fake that, I faked the reverse, I faked the run, and now Tyreek Hill faked running the post and curled up 15 yards over the middle and he's wide open. So they know how to use it all together the right way. Nobody would watch Tua film and go, oh man, it's lasers, and he's throwing bombs everywhere.

I mean, how many teams and players did we have make fun of Tua and that offense last year that he throws the ball one foot down the field, right? I mean, so it's a lot of looking for that, and then teams overplay it because it's dangerous. And then he hits a shot down the field, which he did do better at.


But do you think where I would fight back against, right, is, man, I mean, when you really break it down, there are so many yards and plays left on the field. I mean, so many. Now a lot of the times, they were good enough to overcome it, but like, there's a lot of games, and we were talking before the show, you know, hey, I'm watching their Lions game. I mean, yeah, he had good stats in the Lions game.

He should have had a little extra 150 probably, let alone some touchdowns instead of field goals or whatever else, where I go, man, I mean, top quarterbacks in football get this. This is a touchdown, gone, see you later. Instead Tyreek Hill's stopping to catch the ball and turn around where I go, that should have been a 60-yard touchdown, it was a 40-yard gain because the ball is under thrown.

Or man, that should have been hit your head, touchdown, under thrown, incomplete, right? Or you've heard me say even during last year, Jaylen Waddle wide open over the middle. Hit him on the run, he's going to run up the sidelines for a touchdown, but instead he had to stop, or go to the ground, or whatever.

We got a 15-yard gain, it was good, and we could all tell everybody how awesome Tua is, but I'm going to just sit here and go, like, if that was Andy Reid or Ken Dorsey watching film with Josh Allen and Mahomes saying, yo, you're better than that. You got to hit him on the run. That's a touchdown. You just left points on the board. What the [BLEEP] Patrick? What the [BLEEP], right?


But because of where he came from, we were like, oh, he completed it. He did it, yes. Hey, and that's-- so that's the expectation there. So I know now you got me into hater--

AHMED FAREED: No, no, no, no, but I'll bring you back here.

CHRIS SIMMS: But here, let me say a few more positives with him too because--

AHMED FAREED: You felt bad? You felt bad there for a second?

CHRIS SIMMS: Because there's a lot of good. There is-- like I said, the RPO game is as good as it gets. The variety of releases, I mean, they're awesome, they really are. He's a good athlete. He moves.

We know that. He's not a great runner, but he's a good athlete and can move in the pocket. But I mean, his releases on the RPO game, or dropback pass game, or even bootlegs, man, he's got a little of everything. I mean, he's really a wheeler and a dealer that way, and I love that about him.


He can-- again, another guy like I said earlier, just his release is arguably the quickest in football. Feet can be cockeyed and still get the ball, but then you get into down the field throws, the ball dies out down the field too much. Guys have to wait way more than you think, right?

AHMED FAREED: Those were some of his biggest plays too where Tyreek was able to come back to the ball, adjust, and the DBs were not able to adjust.

CHRIS SIMMS: Exactly. Right, we all get the positives, but it's like, you know, I almost-- I always throw this into the category of, like, the first person I ever saw that was like Matt Schaub of the Houston Texans. He'd put up all these great numbers, and great yards, and all this, and I go, yeah, but they lost.

Like, I know his quarterback rating was good and all that, but you know, I know he hit Andre Johnson down the middle there for 40, but that should have been a walk in 80-yard touchdown. Any other good quarterback would've been like, what the [BLEEP]? Why didn't he throw the touchdown there? But we were just, because of the expectation level, we were like, ah, good play, OK.

So that's where context gets lost a little bit, right? Talked about his moving. Hey, another thing that plays into this, he's not durable, kind of important. Again, you think I can't put that a part of the ranking, durability? I mean, it's been an issue his whole career so far.


CHRIS SIMMS: And then added on top of that, like you heard me say at the top, right, he does play small in the pocket. He loses control of power throws down the field, and to back to our headline, when teams, a la the 49ers, the Chargers. When teams took away some of those, oh, the easy bootleg, the easy screen, some of those tricks, and it became, oh, you got to hit 15 and 20 yard throws all day long, he couldn't deliver there. So that's where--

AHMED FAREED: It took a while for that book to come out on him too.

CHRIS SIMMS: Well, it took a while for teams to figure out, how do we defend all this stuff, you're right. And it usually only takes one team or two to give a little blueprint and a team goes, OK, wait, we can copy this, and I have a good idea on top of that, right? And that's where it goes, and that's such-- it will be interesting this year.

AHMED FAREED: They're going to need a new wrinkle.

CHRIS SIMMS: Teams are going to study them this year. The AFC East definitely is going, holy shit, how are we going to defend the Dolphins this year? What are we going to do, right? And then I'll be interested. It's definitely a good point by you.

AHMED FAREED: So just for the people out there that say we're running away from the numbers. Let's show the numbers last year, and they were outstanding in this offense for Tua last year. He ranked first in yards per pass attempt, first in touchdown percentage, 6% of his passes were TDs. He was first in passer rating.

And if this offense is functioning at a high level, Mike McDaniel does a good job with it, we could see numbers up there once again. And I think the positive for him, and let me throw this at you. Like, you're doing this ranking, if you're unfamiliar with the drill, as like, we don't know the teammates, we don't know the offensive system. So it's just like, we could have Tua trying to quarterback the Houston Texans right here, and how good is he going to look in that environment?

But if we were to say, we know the offense in this Miami Dolphins offense, you said what he's an elite at, running the offense, the RPO game, the quick releases. Like, in this offense, are there that many quarterbacks better than Tua at functioning in this particular offense? Like, he's not 21 in this offense. He is maybe top 10 at running what Mike McDaniel wants to run.

CHRIS SIMMS: He's a perfect, perfect fit for this offense. And where I will say he's got an advantage over a lot of people in football, like I said, is the RPO game, which is what they want to do. So all of that, there's no doubt, right? There's no doubt, yes.

But like, you know, hey, Mahomes is really good at RPOs. Josh Allen is too, right? Maybe can they get it out as quick? I don't know, it's debatable. But they make up for it because the ball gets there so quick.

So even though it might have not been, like, start the motion to throw it and then release might be a hair slower than Tua's, their ball in the air gets to people way quicker. And I know, like, people with the Tua thing they go, oh, the YAC, the YAC, the YAC is not that big. It's all in the air and all that.

AHMED FAREED: Yeah, the numbers indicate that he wasn't helped that much by receivers running after the catch.

CHRIS SIMMS: Right. Well, there's a lot of things to that. I explained a few, right? I mean, again, there's a bunch of examples where I go, the guy should have been running long after the catch, but he had to stop or go to the ground, right? Or where people take-- this is where people lose sight of arm strength, where I can go back and show you a few games and go, here, here's a 20-yard out route, right? The guy's wide open, but he had to wait forever for the ball, and then he either had to step out of bounds because the ball was forever to get there, or people rallied and now he got tackled.

Where I go, I can show you the same play, the same amount of space with Allen or Mahomes, they catch it, nobody's around them, and they get to turn up the field or run or whatever, because they got the ball quicker because of their ability to push the ball through the air better, right? So that's where that gets lost in translation too, let alone RPOs. Hey, this boom ball right over the middle, that doesn't usually lend itself to huge run after the catch.

Bootleg the same way, play action, Tyreek faked the post, run a 20-yard curl. Now I throw a ball that's not exactly a laser over the middle, right? That's not going to lend itself to yards after the catch too. So, again, there's some context there in that situation, let alone, he got a lot of looks where teams are crept very close to the line of scrimmage because they were worried about all the other shit they were doing in that offense.

AHMED FAREED: Despite all your negativity.


AHMED FAREED: I still might pick the Dolphins to win that division.


AHMED FAREED: They're so good defensively too, and they got some-- they got studs everywhere.


AHMED FAREED: But a lot of it will hinge on if Tua is healthy enough to play. So [INAUDIBLE], our good friend, says availability is an important ability for an NFL quarterback. How much does it influence your rankings? As an example, a quarterback like Tua might be ranked at 15 in pure talent and leadership, but has shown that he cannot stay on the field. How much do you discount now from his max and potential?

Yeah, like, what if I told you Tua's going to be healthy, I can guarantee you that. He'll play the whole year. He's durable. We don't even have to worry about his health anymore. How many spots do you think it bumps him up?

CHRIS SIMMS: Not a ton.

AHMED FAREED: Not that much?

CHRIS SIMMS: Not a ton. Maybe a little bit. You know, it could be this is where it got debatable with the guy we're going to talk about in a second, and definitely one of the advantages of why I put the guy in front of him, right? But yeah, maybe one or two spots certainly that I could look at to go, yeah, that could have been, but it certainly was a part of that, right?

And you know, again, there's a lot to like, and it's a great system fit, and he's got some charisma, and everything went in the right direction this year. But yeah, again, we're not-- we're all playing on the same team here, right? And yeah, I would try to run those things with Tua too. Sure, if I was the team, and I'd go, oh, let's run some of those plays, those are good for Tua.

But that doesn't mean the 20 other guys in front of him can't do that either, and then some other stuff as well. And that's where I think, again, that's the age we're in. We get lost-- it gets lost in translation. We just see numbers and wins and everything, and we don't evaluate anything for what it is.