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Former NFL executive sees similarities between Tua Tagovailoa and Tom Brady

Matt Johnson

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa heads into training camp with massive expectations thrust upon him and a team’s playoff hopes riding on his shoulders. Still facing plenty of skepticism, one former NFL executive believes those people should remember Tom Brady.

Putting Tagovailoa in the same breath as the greatest player in NFL history is a lot. While the Dolphins’ quarterback entered the league with a great resume, his results thus far have made him a disappointment. Entering his third NFL season, all eyes are on the 6-foot-1 passer this fall.

Miami eliminated excuses for Tagovailoa. After he played behind a porous offensive line in his first two years, the Dolphins significantly improved their pass protection this offseason. A poor receiving corps also received blame for Tagovailoa’s mediocre play, leading to Miami acquiring Tyreek Hill.

  • Tua Tagovailoa stats (2021): 67.8% completion rate, 2,653 passing yards, 16-10 TD-INT, 90.1 QB rating

Since hitting the practice field, the results for Tagovailoa have been mixed. While Hill is buzzing about his new quarterback, saying he is more accurate than Patrick Mahomes, a viral video of a “duck” throw on a deep ball by Miami’s signal-caller resulted in mockery.

Related: How Tyreek Hill, Terron Armstead impact Tua Tagovailoa

Tagovailoa’s arm strength is still the main source of skepticism. However, former NFL executive Scott Pioli explained to the Miami Herald why he is confident in the Miami quarterback and used Brady as an example.

“Tua’s arm strength will be just fine. First five years of Tom Brady’s career, critics said over and over that he can’t throw the deep ball. It’s all dink and dunk. Brady was deadly accurate. He was being told to make high percentage throws, because that’s what he could do best at that time. As he got older, he got stronger.”

Scott Pioli on Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa

TuAnon, the anonymous group supporting Tagovailoa, would also raise another point. Tagovailoa posted the third-highest completion rate (48.3%) on throws 20-plus yards downfield in 2022, per Pro Football Focus. Of course, it must also be noted that he finished 35th in deep-throw attempt rate (7.5%).

Ultimately, the only way for Tagovailoa to erase doubts about his talent is through his performance. While Brady didn’t have the elite arm strength, he made plays with exceptional timing, accuracy and a football IQ like we haven’t seen in NFL history. Unless Tagovailoa shows all that, the Dolphins will likely need their surrounding talent to lift up the quarterback more times than not.