MIAMI GARDENS – The way Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel sees it, only about 5% or 6% of teams that have done anything of value have been able to do so without a very good quarterback.
So yeah, Virginia, the win-loss record is a quarterback statistic.
And yes, a win-loss record is an important quarterback stat.
And yes, Tua Tagovailoa’s 13-2 record in his last 15 matches means a lot more than just playing on a good team.
“You can lose your team’s games in the quarterback,” McDaniel explained Wednesday. “You can help win them. There’s not going to be a win you can do despite the quarterback, in general, because you know you hold the ball every game.”
McDaniel appreciated the comparison made between the record of a starting quarterback and a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. It’s not apples-to-apples, of course.
The wonderful Mike McDaniel:Step forward as a game planner, play connecter | cheers
Let’s call it now:Dolphins have the right coach, quarterback cheers
Playoffs? Playoffs? yes:The Miami Dolphins aren’t afraid to say it, believe it | cheers
But as McDaniel points out, the pitcher doesn’t really control the run support. The quarterback does not control the talent or production of his team’s defense.
But in the end, most games seem to have fallen to #3 and #7 in the fourth quarter.
And what quarterback do we need under the center position to make that throw in a crucial game?
By now, you must be TWA.
Tua is the NFL’s best Division III passer
Tua leads the league in passer rating and passer rating from third, and was outstanding in the red zone and in the fourth quarter. In short, no one has been a better quarterback in 11 weeks.
As noted since the pre-draft process and over Tua’s first two seasons in the NFL, Tagovailoa is not the tallest quarterback or strongest-armed quarterback.
But when the Dolphins drafted Tua it was with the idea that he possesses “winning” intangibles that they can expect to translate into the NFL.
Leadership. poise. behavior. Decision making. Clutch gene.
It’s all there. Tagovailoa is not the physical specimen Justin Herbert made of the Chargers. But, yeah, Tagovailoa’s incredible performance in 2022 modified the narrative about Miami’s apparent miss.
We cannot say how Herbert’s career will end. He has enormous material tools. But it’s fair to point out that Herbert has a career record of 20-22 as a junior.
Nor is Herbert alone with his losing record.
Former first pick Kyler Murray is 25-29-1.
Former first pick Baker Mayfield is 30-35.
Are these midfielders clearly making their teams better? Are these types of quarterbacks with the ability to win their teams? It just seems.
It is foolish at this point to dismiss the notion that Toa is the “winner”.
McDaniel was an assistant in San Francisco last season. There, the organization attempted to draft Jimmy Garoppolo’s replacement, even though he had led them to the Super Bowl.
Maybe they shouldn’t.
Perhaps Garoppolo’s 38-17 career record is proof that, yes, he’s a perfect fit for the 49ers’ blueprint. Perhaps the record is proof enough that, yes, it lifts up his teammates.
With Jimmy G under center, the Niners are definitely producing enough yards and points to win.
What is more important than that?
Why should the Crows pay Lamar Jackson? Well, maybe because they’re between 44 and 15 with him under center.
This is not an irrelevant statistic. And yes, I know there are some advanced metrics that teams take very seriously into consideration when deciding who to play and who to pay.
There are some who will suggest that defense adjusted value above average, defense adjusted value above replacement, and expected completion percentage are more telling statistics.
And yes, we’ll take all of those numbers into account, too.
On Wednesday, Tua said he believes the win-loss record is a team statistic, not really a quarterback’s stat. But he admitted pride in the 13-2 streak.
Great humility. And so we’ll go ahead and give him credit he deviates from.
Tagovailoa is the latest proof of success that is more than just a physical toolkit. Maybe the guy who’s amazing in the preseason (see: Zach Wilson, Jets) can come to the bench because he doesn’t bring many or most of the aforementioned intangibles.
And yes, Wilson was 5-2 at the start of the season with the Jets.
So yeah, it’s probably fair to say that New York was one of those rare teams that won despite sub-par quarterback performance.
Most elite quarterbacks produce great stats…and impressive win totals.
Watch Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady.
These players are at or near the top of the annual passer rating statistics and have also led their teams to lasting success. Miami hopes Tua will be one of those types of players. He’s starting to show that he might be able to live up to his status as the fifth overall pick.
It was understandable that the Dolphins once seriously considered a trade for Deshaun Watson, who trails only Mahomes in career passer rating. Watson’s talents are indisputable.
But it’s also true that Watson has a career record of 28-25.
Does too much of that humble mark surround talent? naturally.
Is much of this poor training? yes.
But it’s true, and relevant, that even the uber-talented Watson was 4-12 in his final season as a starter.
McDaniel says QBs are involved in everything
McDaniel astutely notes the many not discussed reasons why the quarterback is the most important player on the team. Have you ever thought about how running can be affected by a quarterback’s performance or cadence?
Have you given much thought to how the quarterback is often tasked with accepting blame – even unfair blame – in order to protect his teammates? Zach Wilson will probably be out of the Jets this week.
To his credit, Tagovailoa said over his first two seasons in the NFL that he needed to get better and could be better. He didn’t make excuses and didn’t point fingers, even if it would have been easy for him to do so.
And now the dolphins and tua are reaping the benefits.
Will it be partially impactful if Tua performs well in the late season, perhaps cold-weather games in Buffalo and New England? yes. But Tawa demolished hurdle after hurdle, doubt after doubt, this season.
This year, everything has gone great with Tua. The right coach and connected play. The correct addition to the wide receiver. Right additions in left and center processing. correct scheme.
But it’s also true that Tua has been among the top earners in the NFL since his arrival.
In the past 10 seasons, Tua’s . 690 winning percentage is tied for fourth among QBs, making her first 29 career starts, trailing only Lamar, Garoppolo, and Mahomes.
Is Tua the biggest reason for Miami’s 20-9 record in games he’s started? yes.
Is it a coincidence that Miami is 7-0 in games started and finished healthy this season and 0-3 when he hasn’t? number.
“When you play at a high level for your team, you can have as much of an impact as anyone associated with the Miami Dolphins, player, coach or anyone else,” McDaniel said of the quarterback. “By nature, you are as powerful an influence as a potential person. It’s the biggest percentage of the pie.”
So, is a win-loss record a quarterback’s stat?
Obviously it is.
Joe Schad is a journalist for The Palm Beach Post and is part of the USA TODAY Florida Network. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Help support our journalism. Sign up today.