Tanking For Tua4 min read
Soon after the 2018 season started, Dolphin fans were screaming for their team to tank the season along with the 2019 season in order to secure the number 1 pick in the 2020 draft and guarantee their chances of drafting who they had hoped would be their new franchise quarterback with Tuanigamanuolepola “Tua” Tagovailoa at the top of that list.
The Dolphins subsequently traded for what they now hope is their new franchise quarterback in Josh Rosen which effectively took them out of the Tua sweepstakes. While it removes the Dolphins as the team most likely to tank for Tua, it leaves open the possibility that another team will view Tua, as that once in a generation quarterback worthy of tanking their entire season to draft -if you believe a team is willing to throw not only a game but an entire season.
Every team that has struggled at the quarterback position or who have had a revolving door of quarterbacks, will undoubtedly have many fans screaming for changes at quarterback, and the Buccaneers are no exception, with many fans already hoping that Buccaneer quarterback Jameis Winston plays so poorly that the team will be in the position to draft Tagovailoa.
Yes, there are actually fans hoping the team does so poorly that they wind up as the worst team in the league and secure the number one draft pick which they then can use to draft a new franchise quarterback. If you happen to come across fans actively cheering losses, this is the reason why, but a reason that ultimately will prove to be for nothing.
In order to believe that the Buccaneers organization would tank an entire season to draft a quarterback, you also have to believe in a variety of other issues that come along with that.
First, you have to believe that not only an owner, but also an entire coaching staff and an entire roster of players care so little about winning that they would willingly choose to lose. This means every player who steps on that field would have to willingly make an intentional effort to not only lose the game, but also to lose every game while risking their health and future after having already sacrificed everything for the opportunity to simply step on that field as a professional football player.
Secondly, you have to assume that no other team in the league would also have the same plan to put themselves in the best position to draft Tua, as their new quarterback, which is a hard thing to imagine, given that several teams have had quarterback issues over recent seasons and are heading into 2019 with questions at the position.
Third, you have to assume that the entire organization has come to the consensus that not only is Jameis Winston simply not their guy and is already looking to make a change, but that Gabbert, Griffin, and Fitzgerald are also not good enough to take the starting quarterback role. This is not very likely since they chose to let Ryan Fitzpatrick play elsewhere, and newly hired Head Coach Bruce Arians has known Winston since the 9th grade, and sees no reason why Winston can’t be “really, really successful”.
Assuming all those things came to fruition, and the stars all aligned, you then have to take a look at Tua and if he’s the once in a generation quarterback he is being touted as by the likes of Mel Kiper Jr., who already has Tua listed as his number 1 quarterback entering the 2020 NFL Draft,
When one takes a look at Tua and what he brings to the field, he is undoubtedly a very good quarterback, but being good at the collegiate level doesn’t always translate to the professional level as seen by Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel and AJ McCarron who were all unable to find the same success as a pro as they did in college.
Alabama University has not been able to produce an NFL caliber starting quarterback since the likes of Joe Namath and Ken Stabler, and there is no reason to expect Tua to be any different. Alabama is a run-heavy offense with bare bones passing game and a coaching staff that implement a system which makes it unnecessary for the quarterback to run the offense, but rather they are simply tasked with calling the plays relayed to them with little freedom to audible the play at the line.
This style of play has proven to work great at the collegiate level with Alabama being a top 5 team every year before they even play a game, but it has never proven to translate well at the professional level, leaving their quarterbacks unprepared for the NFL and being so far behind other players, that they simply aren’t given the time to catch up, as an NFL team can not commit the time and money it would take to spend 4 and 5 losing seasons just hoping their quarterback can get to the point that the other quarterbacks in his draft class were at when they were drafted.
When you factor in all the issues that a team would face in trying to tank for the number one draft pick in the hopes of landing a quarterback that will not be NFL ready, while wasting the talent they already have under contract, and the millions of dollars that will be lost in the process, there is no logical reason to think the Buccaneers will ever contemplate forcing the entire organization to Tank For Tua, nor should they.
For better or worse, Jameis is the starting quarterback for the Buccaneers and will be through at least the 2019 season. Arians and Leftwich are determined to get every ounce of ability out of Jameis, and there’s no reason given their track record to think they won’t be able to give us the Famous Jameis that we’ve only seen glimpses of.