The NFL Network’s David Carr sees a lot of similarities between former San Francisco 49ers Hall-of-Fame quarterback Steve Young and Miami Dolphins signal-caller Tua Tagovailoa.
“When you look at the film, you see similarities, and you see why people get excited and why the Miami Dolphins are excited,” Carr said. “He looks like Steve Young. I mean, that’s the guy he is going to turn into. It’s just going to take a little time.
“You’ve got boot action, you move him out of the pocket, he sees everything very well. He gets through his first two progressions. He has the over-route right in front of him, makes a nice throw over four or five defenders, keeps it low to protect his football player. And again, it looks just like Steve Young. He’s the same type of player.
“I think the biggest thing with Tua is: Let’s just have some patience. The Miami Dolphins clearly have patience, they didn’t go out and get another quarterback … I think they love the fact that they have Tua. I think he’s going to be a great quarterback.”
Does David Carr have a point in comparing Tua Tagovailoa to Steve Young?
Anytime somebody compares an NFL quarterback still on his rookie contract to one of the best to ever do it, they do so at their own peril. In a first-round class that yielded three quarterbacks who played last year, Tagovailoa finished third behind Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers and Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals in that order. He only outperformed Jordan Love, who did not play.
While Tagovailoa unfairly got compared to the quarterbacking anomaly that is Drew Brees, there are interesting comparisons to Young besides the obvious left-handedness. Accuracy and throwing a pretty ball are the two things that jump off the page. However, mobility was always a key part of Young’s game dating back to his BYU days, and Tagovailoa is nowhere near the same athlete.
With that in mind, Young was infamously a slow starter in his professional career. He opted to pay in the now-defunct USFL to avoid being drafted by the utterly toothless Cincinnati Bengals in 1984. He played for the Los Angeles Express for two years before being rag dolled on another moribund team in the mid-1980s known as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Young needed some help.
He would be traded to the 49ers in 1987 to back up Joe Montana for a few years. Once Montana’s health deteriorated, he became the starter and San Francisco never looked back. So maybe a college prodigy turned late professional bloomer could be in the cards for Tagovailoa? However, that may require him to leave Miami, which would not be ideal. He could also be Sam Bradford.
Overall, 2021 will show us a ton for what the NFL future holds for Tagovailoa. If he improves off his so-so rookie season, Miami can be a playoff team out of the AFC. Should he continue to resemble a game manager out of Alabama, that could necessitate a move by head coach Brian Flores and general manager Chris Grier to look for his successor in next year’s 2022 NFL Draft.
While Carr’s comparison of Tagovailoa to Young is flattering, let’s hope he is Ryan Tannehill first.