I’m going to be honest. I really thought the Dolphins were making a huge mistake by starting Tua over Ryan Fitzpatrick. He was still filling in pretty well under center for the Dolphins, leading the Dolphins to wins over the Jets and 49ers (Weeks 5 and 6) and keeping the game close against the Seahawks in Week 4. Fitzpatrick was really upset with the way things shook out and I don’t blame him, considering the Dolphins more or less just dumped him halfway through the season. I thought Tua was going to spend the whole year learning under Fitzpatrick, who has been known to be a good mentor to the other quarterbacks on his teams.
But so far Brian Flores’ decision to start Tua starting in Week 8 appears to be a good one. As of today, the Dolphins have won 5 straight games and sit just behind the Bills for the AFC East division lead. He helped pick apart the Cardinals’ defense in Week 9, completing 71% of his passes for 248 yards and 2 touchdowns and adding 35 rushing yards on 7 attempts. He wasn’t asked to do much against the Rams in Week 8, with the defense doing most of the heavy lifting. And on Sunday, against the Chargers, he put together a rating of 106.9, tacking on 169 passing yards and a couple passing touchdowns.
I’m still not completely buying it. I can’t see him taking such a big leap over the rest of the season, especially as teams start to get more tape on him. I want to believe that his start is legit, especially because he’s played well against some solid defenses like the Rams and the Chargers. But he took over in the middle of the season, leaving teams with little time to prepare for the switch at quarterback. So, Tua may be reaping the rewards of playing against defenses that aren’t ready to defend him in particular.
I think Flores’ decision looks better each week that the Dolphins continue to rack up wins. But I would caution anyone that thinks Tua is already the quarterback that everyone expects him to be. “It’s early” is one of my favorite sayings in football, because anything can happen in a game or over the course of a season. “It’s early” for Tua’s career, and I’m interested to see where it goes from here.