Consider this a companion piece, a double feature, to the previous comic. I was trying to find a way to combine both QBs issues into one joke but wasn’t able too, probably because they are just different enough. But they both more or less start from the same point: unrealistic expectations.

Lamar has a lot of people who look at his shortcomings as a passer and focus on that, ignoring how much he actually has accomplished and that player development is a thing that usually takes time. Tua has a lot of people who got hype poisoning and have already deemed him a bust without giving the poor guy any time to prove himself. It’s not all the Dolphins fanbase, it’s not even most, it is just a subset of people with wacked out expectations who are impatient and stupid.

When Tua got drafted I think Dolphins fans were more hyped than any other fanbase. The franchise openly tanked, and Tua hype was on the menu from week 2 on. Despite winning enough games to end up at pick #5, Cincy took Joe Burrow and teams 2-4 all had what they thought was their QB of the future (those teams were Washington, NYG, and Detroit, so lol in retrospect). The Dolphins got the guy they wanted for years. The hype was on.

Tua did not live up to the hype. He was average at best, didn’t do anything of note, and was replaced by Fitzmagic near the end when Miami decided to try for the playoff push. What some people seem to fail to realize is that…uh…there’s no reason to worry? Not yet? For fucks sake, I know NFL fans have lost their sense of patience as QBs have entered the league more NFL ready then they used to but come on.

First up, the obvious: Tua was recovering from an absolutely devastating hip injury that many people feared would actually straight up end his football career. Yes, he was cleared to play, but there is a difference between cleared to play and fully recovered. It was his first time on a football field in a long time. He surely had some issues finding his sea legs. Not everyone is Adrian Peterson after an ACL tear, and Tua’s injury was really bad. I’d be willing to cut anyone slack after what happened with him.

Then, piled on top of that, you have Covid during your rookie year. Last year was not normal for anyone. Training camps and workouts got slashed or removed altogether. The normal bonding and practice that normally occurs just…didn’t exist. Tua didn’t get preseason games to re-find his sea legs. He didn’t get long camps to work out with his new teammates. He was stuck in a bizzaro limbo like most of us. I didn’t read up much on scouting reports but from what I recall a lot of Tua’s game at Bama was precision and timing. He wasn’t a big improvisor like Burrow nor a big athlete. He was smart and precise. When you game demands something like that, practice is absolutely vital. He never got a chance to spend hours finding his rhythms with his teammates. I think improvisors have an edge in early NFL careers because they can get themselves out of a jam on a bad team with ease. You can train an improvisor to eventually settle in and play pocket ball when needed, but the other way around doesn’t really work.

What else? Well, how about his college success poisoning people? Tua was incredible at Bama, but Bama was just an extremely well constructed team to begin with. He probably got too much credit for the juggernaut.

The other thing that really jumps out to me is Fitzmagic and the playoff push on a franchise not ready for it. In my humble opinion, the Dolphins made a mistake late in the year by trying to go for the playoffs instead of focusing on developing the team. The Phish were playing with house money. Nobody expected much out of them. Their roster was gutted and full of inexperienced youth. They overplayed compared to expectation against mediocre to bad teams (The Rams were arguably the only “good” team they beat) and when the season was winding down, they had a chance. Tua got a minor injury, Fitz came back in, and Fitz went for it in typical Fitz fashion and the Dolphins rallied behind him. They missed the playoffs because Fitz is cursed but really, was this squad going to beat the Bills, Chiefs, Titans, Ravens, Browns, Colts, or Steelers? Maybe the Steelers/Colts. The divisional round was probably their absolute ceiling.

A lot of the Tua doubters point to Fitz playing better than Tua in the later season as part of the reason the team should move on from Tua or at least consider trading him. But like, of course he did? Fitz has been in the league since 1943 or something and has been taking over the starting job and playing gonzo football for his entire career. That’s his jam. Fitz just fucking goes as hard as possible. He chucks it deep and gives no fucks. He was once again in a position to give no fucks and go hog wild. Of course the guy with tons of experience in this exact scenario played better than the rookie, recovering from a hip injury, on a rebuilding team, in a year with no training camp. I would have been shocked if Fitz didn’t outplay Tua last season. Unfortunately in the long run I wonder if the benching and subsequent dismissal from the fanbase around it is going to hurt Tua. You’d hope not, but nobody likes working in a place that you don’t feel fully supports you.

Lastly, Justin Herbert kinda did that thing where a guy everyone labels as a huge bust before he even plays went out and lit up the league, which just made poor Tua look worse in comparison.

Tua had a huge amount of expectations on his back and it shouldn’t be a mark against him that he didn’t meet them. Considering everything, I think he was acceptable. He was likely always going to need development time because, you know, most players do, and this next season should be a far more reasonable portrait of his abilities. He’s presumably the guy now with Fitz gone, he’s got a big shiny new weapon, a year of experience in the system, an extra year of recovery from the hip injury and most importantly, a chance to practice with his boys. I’m excited to see what he can do.

EDIT: Apparently Tua is left handed and I somehow never noticed that