J.C. Jackson
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

J.C. Jackson Was 100% Correct About Tua Tagovailoa

Week 1 of the NFL season saw the Miami Dolphins eke out a close victory over the New England Patriots, 17-16. Following the game, New England cornerback J.C. Jackson had some choice comments on Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa:

That’s what Tua do. If he doesn’t have his first read, he’s just gonna throw the ball up and that’s when we capitalize on defense when he makes mistakes like that.

via Andrew Callahan, The Boston Herald

Many chalked Jackson’s comments up to post-game frustration, which is certainly a valid theory. Even if that were the case, he was spot-on with his characterization of Tua’s play.

Tua Tagovailoa Struggles After His First Read

A quick look at the stats proves Jackson right. Theo Ash posted the following to his Twitter yesterday:

If you don’t follow Theo for NFL analysis, I highly recommend it. Really smart guy.

If you click the picture, it will expand and give you the stats from last season. Last year, Tua threw to his first read at a substantially higher clip than league average (green numbers). Looking at his stats after the first read are extremely alarming. His big throw percentage past his first read was 0.0% percent, versus a league average of 4.5%. His percentage of turnover-worthy plays TRIPLED the league average. Theo goes on to note on TikTok that his average depth of target also increased significantly on the second read, implying that Tua is indeed “just throwing the ball up.”

Some people are still really high on Tua. I do not happen to be one of those people. He’s a vehicle for delivering the ball to the first read, and he hasn’t shown the ability to be much more than that. Game managers can win football games, especially with the type of defense Miami has, but Tua is not the type of can’t-miss talent he was billed as coming out of college. If he was really able to run through his reads at Alabama, he sure isn’t doing it well anymore. Developing the ability to make plays off-schedule will be crucial for Tua’s future success.


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